What to eat and what not to eat during Passover? If you are regularly perplexed with these questions during Pesach, then read this article to know more about the dietary restrictions during Passover.

Passover Dietary Restrictions

Passover is the most significant Jewish festival celebrated world over to honor the biblical story of Exodus, when Israelis were liberated from the slavery in Egypt and finally the birth of the Jewish nation took place! Every year Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan and continues for 8 days. Passover is followed by a lot of conventions and protocols, one of them being the kind of food permitted during Passover. The festive season of Passover unites family, friends and relatives together for the Seder meal before which the story of the Exodus is narrated through a reading of the 'Haggadah'. Certain dietary restrictions are allied with the exciting festival of Passover. The biggest is associated with the eating of unleavened bread called - 'Matzoh'. Matzoh is derived from the story that Hebrew slaves fled Egypt so swiftly that their bread didn't have time to rise. Thus, Matzoh is consumed by Jews to experience a part of the struggle that their ancestors went through.

Prohibited Foods During Passover
There are certain food items that are strictly prohibited during Passover to respect the sacred festival of Pesach. One of the most important ones is the 'leavened bread' that should be totally avoided. Other restricted food items are those that contain cereals, coffee ''blends'', cakes, crackers, biscuits, dry peas, oats, rye, wheat, millet, corn, lentils, spelt, barley, dry beans, rice and all liquids that contain ingredients or flavors made from grain alcohol or vinegar (except cider vinegar). According to the custom, these grains naturally rise if they are not cooked in 18 minutes and are called "chametz" during Passover. For Ashkenazi Jews, further restrictions are placed on peas, corn, beans or other legumes, because of the fact that their flour closely looks like chametz.

Permitted Foods During Passover
Only those food items that are 'Kosher' for Passover are allowed to be consumed. Kosher food is food prepared in harmony with 'Kashrut' Jewish Dietary Laws. The reason why some foods are considered as non-Kosher is that they contain certain elements that are derived from non-Kosher animals or from Kosher animals that were not adequately slaughtered.

Food Items Requiring No 'Kosher For Passover' Label If Bought Prior To Passover
Uncooked frozen vegetables, pure spices, pepper, butter, milk, pure white sugar, Unopened packages or containers of plain coffee, plain tea bags, frozen fruit juices with no additives, honey, uniodized salt, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh and frozen poultry, kosher meat and fish, uncooked frozen fruit with no additives are a few to name.

Food Items Requiring No 'Kosher For Passover' Label If Bought Before Or During Passover
Eggs, fresh meat and fresh fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as all cleansers, cleansers and scouring powders that are certified as 'kosher' throughout the year!

Food Items Requiring A 'Kosher For Passover' Label If Bought Before Or During Passover
Canned or bottled fruit juices (which are often clarified with legumes), all baked products such as matzoh, matzoh flour, matzoh meal, cakes, farfel, and any products containing matzoh), wine, oils, liquor, candy, dried fruits, ice cream, yogurt, chocolate milk, soda, canned tuna (nevertheless, if it is known that the tuna is packed solely in water, without any extra ingredients or additives, it may be bought without a 'kosher for Passover' label), wine, vinegar, liquor, oils, dried fruits, candy, chocolate milk, ice cream, yogurt, soda to name a few.

Medicines During Passover
If a particular medicine is accredited by the physician, it should be taken during Pesach. If not, it should only be used if a chametz-free version is unavailable. Consult your doctor for more details. In all cases, capsules are preferable than other kind of doses. Chametz -free medication includes Co-Tylenol, Dramamine tablets and elixir, Sudafed, Midol, Sinutab, Ampicillin, Tetracycline, Advil, Contac, Tylenol, Bayer, Bismol, Bufferin, Excedrin, Valium, Pepto, Alka Seltzer, Tums, Dimetapp tablets among many other drugs.

Feeding Pets During Passover
During the year, 'treife' that is non-kosher pet food may be entered into kosher homes, but Jews have to make sure that the pet food is kept away from the kosher food and also the utensils. However, during Passover it is better to avoid chametz products all together even for feeding pets at home. Pets can be fed with non- chametz food such as canned tuna, eggs, table scraps, farfel, etc. It is better to consult the veterinarian for pet diet during Passover.

Some Universal Rules For Kosher Food During Passover
  • Utensils that comes into contact with non-kosher food when the food is hot should not be used with kosher food. And utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa.
  • The flesh of birds and mammals cannot be eaten with dairy. Fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, eggs, can be eaten with either meat or dairy. In some cases, fish may not be eaten with meat.
  • Before consuming the meat or poultry, all blood must be drained or broiled out of it.
  • Those animals, birds and mammals that are permitted to be consumed, must be killed according with the Jewish modus operandi.
  • Grape products are allowed to be consumed only if they are prepared by Jews.
  • Fruits and vegetables are allowed to be eaten after being inspected for bugs that are prohibited during Passover.
As Passover spread over eight days, dietary restrictions also follow it. It's a big challenge for homemakers to decide on the luscious Seder meal each year due to the dietary restrictions enforced during Passover. However, to your surprise, these restrictions spur the inventions of new recipes each year to be served at the Seder table and admire the sacred festival of Passover!