6 Groceries You Should Stock in Your Pantry for a Tastier Passover
At the start of Passover we ask, “How is this night different from all other nights?” But a better question might be, “How is the next week going to be different than all other weeks?” Because that’s how long Passover lasts — eight days total. During that time, Jews who observe are required to abstain from eating wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt. On top of that, Ashkenazi Jews refrain from eating rice, soy, corn, and legumes, potentially including peas, mustard seeds, and peanuts.
In my house, we don’t keep kosher year-round, but for Passover we make a special effort — especially on the first two days of the holiday — to stick as close to these rules as possible. As the week wears on, we may include more of the forbidden items, but I like to stay mindful of the restrictions, with meals that are respectful of them, for as much of the week as possible.
To that end, there are certain groceries that I stock in my pantry before Passover begins. These are in addition to the obvious must-have items — plenty of matzo, wine, the elements of the Seder plate like horseradish and parsley, and chicken livers so that I can make the chopped liver that is absolutely non-negotiable for me at this time of year. My Passover pantry includes things that feel practical and necessary, like potato starch, while others, like marshmallows, are just plain fun. Let’s take a look!
1. Duck Sauce
You couldn’t be blamed for not making the leap from Passover to duck sauce, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward one: Gold’s, a Jewish-owned brand that makes prepared horseradish and other sauces, also makes, you guessed it, duck sauce! And because it’s one of the few products that’s certified kosher for Passover year-round, it just makes sense to keep on hand for recipes like duck sauce chicken, a dead-simple combination of those two ingredients and nothing else.
Buy: Gold’s Sweet & Sour Duck Sauce, $16.90 for 40 ounces at Amazon
2. Potato Starch
With grains and legumes off the table, it can be difficult to find an ingredient that can work for baking, thickening sauces, or frying. Potato starch to the rescue! While I wouldn’t recommend swapping it out for all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio for baking, the starch is quite useful for things like dredging deep-fried matzo balls and thickening soups.
Buy: Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, $4.99 for 22 ounces at Amazon
3. Matzo Chips
They’re not certified kosher for Passover, so you won’t find them at my Seder, but they are kosher, and they are matzo, making them a go-to snack for the rest of the week. My favorite flavor is the (Sorta Spicy) Harissa, with an intense peppery kick that keeps me snacking until the bag is empty.
Buy: The Matzo Project Harissa Matzo Chips, $4.19 for 6 ounces at Kroger
As of 2014, certain brands of quinoa were given the OU-P designation that signaled that the pseudo-grain was, in fact, kosher for Passover, and it’s a good thing because, without pasta, bread, or rice to fall back on, quinoa helps me pull together a meal that feels complete, while quinoa salad makes the perfect Passover-friendly lunch.
Buy: 365 Whole Foods Market Organic White Quinoa, $4.79 for 16 ounces at Amazon
Marshmallows often fail the kosher test because of the gelatin used (which is often derived from non-kosher animals), but in the early spring, K4P marshmallows made with fish gelatin start popping up on store shelves, and I usually grab a bag so we can make salted matzo s’mores and Adeena Sussman’s marshmallow brownies.
Buy: Paskesz Candy Company Marshmallows, $5.69 for 8 ounces at Instacart
6. Date Syrup
Some vinegars and sauces, like soy sauce and Worcestershire, include ingredients that classify them as chametz — not Kosher for Passover — so I like to use date syrup to bring sweet and tangy notes to matzo granola or grilled sweet potatoes, and it’s the secret ingredient in my homemade charoset, the Seder staple that symbolizes the mortar Jews used to build the pyramids, and in this dreamy charoset ice cream.
Buy: Galil Silan Premium Date Syrup, $4.43 for 12.3 ounces at Instacart
What’s your favorite Passover pantry staple? Tell us about it in the comments below.