Passover is a Jewish holiday, an 8 day festival during early spring that celebrates deliverance of Jewish people from Egypt. Traditional dinner that marks the beginning of Passover is called Seder. It includes many customs. One of them is eating Matzo – an unleavened bread. The historical significance of it is a commemoration of Jewish exodus from Egypt. They left Egypt in such a hurry that they could not wait for their bread dough to rise. The bread, when baked, is called matzah or matzo. People spell it one way or the other.
A lot of products for Passover are gluten free because traditional glutenous grains, such as wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oat are prohibited. These grains are prohibited if they’ve had contact with water/moisture for longer than 18 minutes, which leads to rising or “leavening.”
But, isn’t matzo made from wheat flour? Yes! Most matzo is made from wheat, but the process used to “cook” the matzo from the time liquid is added to the flour to the time the matzo is baked can last no longer than 18 minutes. The wheat is closely supervised to ensure that no water touches it from the time of harvest to the time it is baked. This is to make sure that no leavening occurs. Matzo and matzo meal is used as a substitute in many recipes for Passover, instead of regular flour, bread.
In the recent years, Yehuda company came out with a gluten free matzo. I’ve seen it in different flavors, and also as a matzo meal. You can purchase it at select Walmart, Whole Foods, other local grocery stores, or online. It costs more then regular wheat matzo, but I think it tastes better (from what I remember).
Besides matzo, most of the other products for Passover are gluten free. Here’s a selection in my local Winn Dixie of kosher for Passover products, all gluten free.
Gluten free product selection has come a long way in recent years. From making your own matzo from scratch, now you can purchase it in different flavors, and find other unique gluten free products for Passover.
This year it starts on Monday night, April 14th. Check out your local grocery store, and comment below if you find any new gluten free products for Passover.