Gluten-Free and Passover: Uncommon Bedfellows

Guest Post Contributed by Elizabeth Barbone

Passover, the holiday commemorating the Jewish exodus from Egypt, begins on April 6 this year. Even if you don’t observe the holiday for religious reasons, it’s worth checking out Passover foods if you have celiac disease or food allergies. Here’s why:

During Passover, wheat, rye, oats, barley, and spelt are forbidden for those celebrating the holiday. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, that list probably caught your eye! (People diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance need to avoid all traces of wheat, rye, barley, and non-gluten-free oats.)

Here’s where things get a little tricky. While leavened or risen wheat products are forbidden, matzo, which is made from wheat is not! In fact, Jewish dietary law requires matzo* be made from wheat. So if you’re gluten-free, you still need to be a label sleuth. Be sure to avoid any Passover foods containing matzo or any of its derivatives, such as matzo meal, matzo farfel and matzo “cake” meal.

Even after avoiding Passover foods that contain matzo, there’s still a wonderful variety of gluten-free options. From cereal to frozen foods to noodles, cookies, and more, there is plenty to choose from at Price Chopper.

If you’re wondering about cross contamination, Jewish dietary law requires that Passover foods be prepared on either dedicated lines or lines that have been cleaned after wheat is used. However, if you have any questions, call the manufacturer.

To make life easier, some Passover foods now carry a gluten-free label. Also look for the Yiddish word, non-gebrokts. This phrase means the food was made without matzo and is gluten-free.  

And if you don’t have celiac disease but are allergic to corn, soy, or peanuts, then Passover foods are for you, too! Some Jewish traditions also avoid corn, legumes (soy and peanuts are included), and rice. For folks with a corn allergy, this is the time of year to find corn syrup-free soda and marshmallows. Two foods usually hard to find corn-free.

While all Price Chopper stores offer some Passover foods, and the chain’s Passover Centers* offer a wide variety, the largest selection can be found at the Colonie Price Chopper (1892 Central Avenue.) This store offers over 1,000 Passover foods and will host a “Kosher Open House” on March 18th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

During the event, representatives from several Kosher food purveyors will be on hand to answer your questions.

*A few companies offer gluten-free matzah. This matzah will be specifically marked as “gluten-free” and can not be used for seder according to Jewish dietary law.

**Price Chopper Passover Centers: 

  • Store #224 New Colonie, Albany NY
  • Store #168 Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh NY
  • Store #148 Park Ave, Worcester MA
  • Store #165 Shelburne Rd, Burlington VT
  • Store #159 Bethlehem, Albany NY
  • Store #190 Edwardsville, Edwardsville PA
  • Store #172 Erie Blvd, Syracuse NY
  • Store #135 ONeill, Dunmore PA
  • Store #158 Route 50, Saratoga NY
  • Store #129 Poughkeepsie, Poughkeepsie NY
Elizabeth Barbone  is the author of  “Easy Gluten-Free Baking” (Lake Isle Press 2009) and the forthcoming “How to Cook Gluten-Free” (Lake Isle Press 2012). The owner of GlutenFreeBaking.com, Elizabeth teaches gluten-free classes across the country, writes the “Gluten-Free Tuesday” column for SeriousEats.com, and contributes monthly online gluten-free videos and blogs for pricechopper.com.
 

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