Another Four (Or More) Questions? Your 2024 Pesach FAQS

Rabbi Moshe Zywica

Pesach is to questions as matzah is to crumbs. If you have one, you are almost certain to have a lot more of the other. The following are some of the most popular questions submitted to our OU Kosher experts.

Q: What coffees are acceptable for Passover?

A: All unflavored ground coffees are acceptable for Passover use when bearing an OU.

Decaffeinated coffee: Coffee is often decaffeinated by means of ethyl acetate, which is derived from either kitniyot or chametz. Therefore, decaffeinated coffees are not acceptable for Passover unless specifically marked for Passover, found in the OU Guide to Passover or specially marked for Passover in the OU Kosher Product Search.

Instant coffees often contain maltodextrin, which could be derived either from corn (kitniyot) or grains (chametz). Therefore, all instant coffees require special Passover certification unless explicitly mentioned in the OU Guide to Passover or if listed as Kosher for Passover without special Passover certification in the OU Kosher Product Search.

Folgers decaffeinated unflavored instant coffee is acceptable without special Passover certification.

Q: How does one Kasher a Keurig Coffee Maker ? (For those who kasher plastic. Those who do not kasher plastic should put away their coffee maker for Pesach.)

1. Clean the coffee maker and do not use for 24 hours.

2. Remove the K-cup holder and perform hagalah or iruy (pouring boiling water over it) on the K-cup holder.

3.  Run a Kosher for Passover K-cup in the machine to kasher the top pin.

Q. How does one Kasher Kitchen Countertops ?

A: Ceramic Tile Countertops – Cover the countertop with a water-resistant covering such as plastic. (The countertop itself cannot be kashered; therefore, it must be covered.)

Composite Stone (e.g. Quartz) – Composite countertops are often made with a combination of crushed quartz (stone) and resin (plastic). Rav Belsky zt”l maintained that even those who are strict regarding kashering plastic may be lenient to kasher composite countertops, because the overwhelming majority is stone. See Granite or Stainless-Steel countertops section in our Kashering Primer. If the composite countertop also includes ceramics, it cannot be kashered.

Granite or Stainless Steel – It is preferable to kasher a countertop by pouring boiling water in conjunction with an even melubenet (a heated stone). To kasher with an even melubenet: Attach a stone to a clamp, and heat the stone on the stove for a minute. While pouring the boiling water on the counter, move the stone along on the counter with the boiling water so that the water is reheated on the surface of the counter. The stone may need to be reheated on the stovetop several times, since it can cool down quickly.

Formica or Plastic Countertops – There are different opinions as to whether formica or plastic countertops can be kashered for Pesach. Consult your rabbi for guidance.

Q. I hear conflicting reports in regard to selling pure chametz vs. items which are mixtures containing chametz. Could you please expand a little on this subject?

A. According to most opinions, one may lock up and sell foods, even if they are pure chametz. Some have the custom of not selling food that is pure chametz. This is because the sale involves complex halachic issues, and it is difficult to fulfill the requirements in a way that satisfies all opinions. One may be lenient if disposing of pure chametz would cause financial hardship. The following foods are examples of items that would fall into the pure chametz category; beer, biscuits, bran, cake, cookies, wafers, cereals, oatmeal, puffed wheat, wheat germ, crackers, dough, pasta, soup nuts, and malt. Regarding white flour, it is questionable whether it is considered pure chametz. This is because the grains are washed quickly and most likely have not been in contact with water for enough time to become chametz. Therefore, some who will not sell pure chametz will sell four. For more on this subject, please see When to Peddle and When to Purge.

Q: Do chametz dishes and pots need to be sold?

A: If pots were sold, they would need to be immersed again after Passover when they are reacquired from the non-Jew. The custom, therefore, is to sell any chametz that remains in the pots.

Q: How should the sale be arranged if one is going to be in a different time zone during Passover?

A: One should notify the rabbi who is selling the chametz. The rabbi will then be able to schedule the sale and repurchase of the chametz to accommodate the time difference.

Q: Are raw nuts acceptable for Passover?

A: Raw nuts in their shell do not require Passover certification.

Shelled raw nuts that list BHA, BHT, or any other additive on the ingredient label require special Passover certification. If no additives are listed, raw nuts may be acceptable when bearing an OU symbol. Pecans that are whole or half are acceptable with an OU certification, midgets and pecan pieces require Passover certification.

In Europe different communities had different customs about peanuts. Some considered them to be kitniyot; while others ate peanuts on Passover. Many years ago, the OU certified Kosher for Passover peanut oils for those Jews whose custom was to eat peanuts and peanut oil on Passover. However, in recent years we have stopped certifying peanut oil as Kosher for Passover.

Furthermore, we cannot recommend that people whose custom is to use peanut oil on Passover use un-certified peanut oil, because of concerns about the peanut oil being processed on non-Passover equipment.

Q: Does extra virgin olive oil need to be certified kosher for Passover?

A: Extra virgin olive oil is kosher for Passover if it bears the OU symbol. All other oils require kosher for Passover certification to be consumed on Passover.

Q: Which baby formula can I use for my infant on Passover?

A: Most infant formulas are made from soy products which are kitniyot. Since kitniyot does not apply to infants most formulas may be used on Passover. For a list of acceptable formulas, see Baby Products. Please note that care should be taken to keep bottles, nipples and formula away from the general kitchen area. Any mixing or washing should be done elsewhere, such as in the bathroom sink.

Q: Is almond or soy milk acceptable for Passover?

A: Almond and soy milk may be problematic and are not recommended for use on Passover. If a situation arises and it is needed by an infant or an infirmed person, please Milk Alternatives.


Rabbi Moshe Zywica

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