Passover is a special time of year for those of us with celiac disease.
Whether or not you’ve got a spiritual or familiar tie to Passover, the simple fact of the matter is that the dietary restrictions surrounding the holiday are largely gluten-free.
A quick recap: Passover, or Pesach, celebrates the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. It’s when Moses earned his chops, parted the Red Sea, led the people to freedom.
Of course, they left their homes in such a hurry that their bread did not have time to rise – which is why today the Passover celebration includes eating matzah, unleavened bread, and abstaining from chametz.
What’s chametz? Anything that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats is considered chametz and – if there’s a chance it came into contact with water for more than 18 minutes and had the chance to ferment – it’s not eaten during Passover.
A holiday dedicated to avoiding wheat, barley, rye and oats? Indeed.
First, the most important disclaimer: just because something is OK for Passover does not mean it is gluten-free. Matzah is still very much gluten-full, and matzah meal makes its way into many Passover foods.
If you’re purchasing an item from a company that also works with matzah meal, you may want to think about the possibility of shared equipment as well. The word “Non-gebroktz” is a good indicator that there was no matzah or other wheat anywhere near the product.
Second disclaimer: Kosher is not the same as kosher for Passover!
Now, the most important fun stuff: LOTS of what’s OK for Passover has no matzah anywhere near it. If there’s a Jewish community near where you live, you’ve likely already seen the Passover displays in supermarkets. There are gluten-free cakes made with potato starch, gluten-free coconut macaroons, and also the most delicious thing ever: Joyva cherry marshmallow twists (try eating them straight from the freezer!).
For those of you with less of a sweet tooth, there are also plenty of savory gluten-free options. Noodles, mixes, blintzes, “bread” crumbs, etc.
If you don’t like the options available near you, you can also go online to one of these retailers and stock up:
- Kosher.com (place your order by April 8th)
- My Kosher Market (order by April 12th)
- OU Kosher for Passover (not a retailer, but provides a comprehensive search tool)
- Avi Glatt (no final date, but orders are first-come first-serve)
Interested in cooking your own kosher for Passover treats? Check back soon for recipes!
Are you celebrating a gluten-free Passover or stocking up on goodies? Tell us about it in the comments!