Popcorn is a tasty treat that anybody without braces or a corn allergy can enjoy at even the most difficult times. It seems like it would be a great option for the celebration of Passover! Is this true though?
As of 2015, it is okay to eat popcorn at Passover. Popcorn is kitniyot, the same class as rice or legumes. Up until 2015 kitniyot was banned at Passover for Ashkenazic Jews because of its similarity to chametz, the class that contains things like wheat, barley, and oats.
This is great news for popcorn enthusiasts and Anshkenzic Jews alike! But why was popcorn ever banned in the first place? And are there any popcorn additives that you shouldn’t use during Passover? All of these will be covered below.
What Food Is Allowed During Passover?
Most foods that are usually kosher are allowed during Passover! The only foods that are forbidden specifically during Passover are chametz, which is any food that is leavened or mixed with leaven. This includes bread of all kinds, beer, as well as grains like oats, wheat, and barley.
Until 2015, Khitniyot was also taboo during Passover for Ashkenazic jews, but as of that year, the Rabbinical Council has voted to end the moratorium. Kitniyot includes foods that are similar to grains such as millet, rice, peas, and corn.
Foods that are made from wheat but haven’t been leavened can also be eaten. If you were wondering why Matzah can be eaten during Passover that’s why! However, great effort is put into ensuring that the Morzah does not leaven before it Is cooked from the moment that it is harvested.
Some foods have a traditional presence during Passover like wine or the aforementioned Matzah. Popcorn is not on that list, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t eat popcorn during the general period of Passover.
However, if you aren’t Jewish and are planning to visit a family of Ashkenazic Jews for Passover and are thinking of bringing popcorn, it’s probably a good practice to ask if they feel comfortable eating popcorn.
Religious observance is a very personal thing, and so if they don’t feel comfortable with it, it’s best to pick a different snack to bring.
What are Forbidden Popcorn Toppings During Passover?
Popcorn is fine to eat during Passover, but what about your favorite add-ins? Fortunately, most popcorn additives are fine during Passover. However, some additives might have some restrictions to them.
Lots of people like to mix some cheese into their popcorn. However, if you aren’t Jewish and so don’t know much about the rules of kosher, you might be surprised to learn that the subject of cheese and kosher is actually fairly complicated.
The two primary ingredients of cheese are mile and rennet. Milk is a dairy product that is usually fine as long as it isn’t eaten with meat, but rennet is a product that is usually harvested from inside animal stomachs and is essential for the production of hard cheeses.
Cheese produced using milk and rennet from animal stomachs are generally not considered kosher, because it combines milk and meat.
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However, rennet can also be sourced from non-animal sources or synthetically made. Cheese made from natural or synthetic rennet is kosher, and therefore can be eaten at Passover. You’ll want to look out for cheese that says that it’s kosher on the packaging when you’re buying your add-ins at the grocery store.
Other than that, there aren’t many popcorn additives that contain chametz or are otherwise not kosher. It’s not like people are putting shrimp in their popcorn, and if they are you should probably tell them to stop before they hurt someone.
What are Good Popcorn Toppings For A Passover Party?
Once you’re sure that you have kosher ingredients, the next step is to make sure that you make enough popcorn for everyone who wants some.
This means that you probably aren’t just going to bring a bag of microwave popcorn. Rather, you’ll want to pop your popcorn over the stovetop so that you can make a big enough volume. There are plenty of how-tos for this online, including one on this very website!
You might also be able to use a popcorn maker for this if you’re lucky. Either way, you’ll probably want to make at least a third of a cup for each person who is going to be at the party. Some people will want more popcorn than that, but others will want less so it all balances out.
Of course, butter and salt are the classic add-ins for popcorn, and it’s likely that nobody will find them offensive. If you have the right kind of cheese, then that’s also usually a fairly popular choice.
If you don’t want everyone to enjoy your popcorn then you can also add chili powder or taco seasoning. You don’t need much of these seasonings to create a powerful kick, and about half a teaspoon of chili powder for every eight cups of popcorn will probably be fine as long as you mix it thoroughly.
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Garlic powder is also a classic choice for specialty popcorn. Again, you don’t need a ton of it to make a powerful flavor that most people will probably enjoy.
If you want to make a sweet treat for your Passover party, then chocolate is a great option! Chocolate is kosher to eat and it’s also delicious. All you have to do is add in a handful of chocolate chips on the still hot popcorn and it will melt all over the place. Once you’ve mixed that stuff up and added in a pinch of salt, you can serve it up.
Cinnamon and sugar are also a great choice for some tasty party popcorn. Once you have the popcorn sufficiently buttery, just toss in cinnamon and sugar to taste and it should stick pretty well to the still melted butter.
And that’s that! You can eat popcorn during Passover! On top of that, you can probably use all of your favorite popcorn recipes. So get cooking, and happy Passover!