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Ideas for Passover 2011 new products

I know some "industry insiders" read this board, so I'd like to post 2 requests for Passover 2011:

1) Sugar Free drink mix- preferably sweetened with Splenda. If you can make flatbreads, noodles, pizza, etc. for Passover, what is so hard about making some sugar-free powdered drink mix?

2) Almond milk- I drink this year round, it's just almonds and water. I could make it myself but the price of almonds alone doesn't justify the cost of making it at home.
Seeing as there's no soy or rice on Pesach, this would be a great substitute for the unnaturally viscous non-dairy creamer I bought this year (for the bargain price of $2.49/pint).

Anyone else care to contribute?

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  1. i second the sugar free drink thing, i have a daily conversation every year over pesach over how weird it is that theres pesach pizza and pesach regular soda, where real adjustments and machinations actually need to be made, but no pesach crystal light,

    11 Replies
    1. re: shoelace

      Odd, both of you came up with my brilliant idea! So here I am, first day Chol haMoed, sitting on the banks of the Potomac way downstream from DC eating dinner at a park picnic table. Leftover shmura matzah, leftover KP takeout from the Cherry Hill, NJ Wegmans, some fake Laffy Taffy-ish kind of candy and --- bottled water. The only thing I could think of was that there had to be some way to pour a powder into the bottled water to get some taste into that sorry meal.

      People still have to travel during the holiday and bottled water is available everywhere. A few packets or tubes of drink mix that you can toss into your pocket would be worth the price. I can live without taco sauce or hearts of palm for a week but don't make me drink plain water!

      1. re: rockycat

        speaking of hearts of palm... it was avail for passover this year. Was actually on sale all over brooklyn for $1.50/can

        1. re: cheesecake17

          It's been available for years KFP. I remember using it years ago, and even have some cans from a year or two ago that I never used.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            That's why I mentioned it. Of all the useful KP things one CAN'T get in NC, for some absurd reason our stores had KP hearts of palm. Go fig.

            1. re: rockycat

              It seems like there was an overabundance of cut hearts of palm this year... every store had them on sale for $1/can...

          2. re: rockycat

            Water: just buy some lemons, limes, and oranges. Squeeze a nice wedge into your water bottle. Flavored water, cheap and healthy and no calories. I do this all summer, too.

            1. re: p.j.

              i do that too, but the water and lemon mood is totally different from the fruit punch mood

              1. re: p.j.

                If you read rockycat's post carefully, s/he was clear that s/he was interested in having something to flavor his/her bottled water when away from home. Carrying lemons, limes, or oranges for this purpose is ridiculous, and even if one did, I can imagine trying to squeeze one into the small top of the water bottle would not be the easiest thing to do.

                1. re: queenscook

                  rockycat was posting in response to my post, and my post just said sugar free drink thing, so im guessing pj was responding to me

                  1. re: queenscook

                    O.K. guys. I thought RockyCat meant a bottle to take for lunch, not days away from home. And I wasn't thinking of narrow-necked bottled water bottles. I was thinking of a reusable water bottle with a wider neck. (You could always get one that you keep for Pesach use.)
                    Personally, I fill my reusable bottle about 1/3 full every night and freeze it. Add water and a wedge of lemon or lime (and a sprig of mint, sometimes. Basil is good, too!), etc. in the a.m. and I am good to go through lunchtime.
                    I am not a sweet drink person, so I wasn't thinking in that direction. Sorry for the confusion. p.j.

              2. re: shoelace

                I was surprised to see sugar-free iced tea this year (in a bottle, though, not a mix); I don't recall ever seeing a sugar-free non-carbonated beverage for Pesach before. It happens that I didn't like the taste at all, and no doctoring could fix it for me, but I still appreciate that it existed. Crystal Light-type packets, though, would be great.

              3. I'd like mini-packs of a bunch of spices, so that I don't have to buy new giant versions of things I already have, just to have them lose potency while stored in the Pesach Box for next year.

                13 Replies
                1. re: GilaB

                  at pereg you can buy small amounts of spices, rather than whole containers, just be careful bc they have a lot of rak lochlei kiniyot

                  1. re: GilaB

                    Huh? Why aren't you using them during the rest of the year? Especially if they are losing potency over the year.

                    1. re: vallevin

                      Well, I already have a good-sized container of, say, cloves, which are still in perfectly fine. I don't want to replace it with a new giant container that I bought for Pesach use, but don't want to set aside a Pesach one for use from year to year, as it'll break down and mostly go to waste. If I could buy a sampler pack of little spice packets, I'd end up having more spices on Pesach, with less waste.

                      1. re: GilaB

                        I actually did this with a friend this year. I bought all the spices and split them up between the two of us. No reason for both of us to buy a whole container of cumin or oregano when it'll lose its potentcy in the cabinet.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          I guess I'm just not that particular; I just keep my bottles from year to year, and I don't notice there is such loss of potency. My red pepper flakes are certainly still spicy, my basil and oregano still has flavor, etc. I actually now have 17 different spices for Pesach, so it's not like we're talking just basics. I know they always talk about throwing out spices after six months, but if I did that, I'd be spending so much money it would be ridiculous. Have you really done taste tastes to see that there is such a difference?

                          1. re: queenscook

                            After one year, it's not that big a deal (and I agree that the advice to throw things out after a year or less is perhaps for purists only), but after three or so, I definitely notice a difference in smell as compared with a newer container. It would take me a lifetime of Pesachs to use up one of the 3.5 oz Pereg containers being sold at my local groceries, and long before that point, it'd just be reddish dust.

                            1. re: GilaB

                              I mostly buy the smaller Haddar/Lieber's/Gefen bottles. Depending on the density of the spice, they vary between an ounce or two. And I'm pretty heavy handed on things like oregano, basil, etc., especially this year when I couldn't find any pizza seasoning to make my lasagna. I also use a ton of onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika to spice my meat (bison this year) for meatballs, so I guess I go through many of my spices within two or three years. On the other hand, a bottle of allspice, of which I only use a teaspoon or two each year, might be around for quite a while. But it's so strongly flavored, I haven't felt the need to replace it yet.

                              1. re: queenscook

                                One suggestion I've heard from other people is to use pesach to refresh your spices every year. Throw out all your old/stale spices pre-pesach, buy fresh new ones for pesach, and then use the fresh ones for the rest of the year until they are stale and get chucked the following pesach.

                                1. re: avitrek

                                  As I said above, I have many, many spices currently in my Pesach drawers and listed in my file on the computer (I had said 17, but a recount shows it's actually 18), and actually do use every one. The only one I did not use this year was rosemary, and the only reason I didn't use it from a bottle is that I now have it growing on my windowsill, so I used the fresh version. At over a dollar a bottle, and some over $3.00, I am not interested in replacing $50 worth of spices every year. I also spend far less on some of the same spices for the rest of the year (by buying larger containers of certain spices at BJs), use spices without hechsher for the rest of the year (as per halacha), and use more "gourmet" spices in some cases (Vietnamese cinnamon, for ex.), so I don't want to use the Pesach ones when I don't have to.

                                  I have one drawer in my plastic Pesach organizer devoted to my spices, and I like that I already have them all ready to use when I start to cook and bake for yom tov.

                                  I am actually interested to hear when other people turn over their kitchen and start to cook. This year, I did it on the Thursday night prior to Pesach, which gave me Thursday night, motzaei shabbos, Sunday, and erev Pesach to cook and bake all the meals for shabbos (we were Pesachdik except for challah eaten carefully on paper plates), and the meals of the first two days. I also try to make all my kugels for all of yom tov, though this year on chol ha'moed I made an additional one to the four I made beforehand. I just counted up--I made 20 dishes in those four days (not even counting the three flavors of sorbet and the three recipes of meringues), so it's quite helpful to have as much as possible around to start right away.

                                  If other people find that their spices deteriorate, then they should purchase them fresh each year, but I just don't find that they are in any way, shape, or form anywhere near flavorless. Quite the opposite, actually: far too many of my friends are very un-Chowish in their mentality, and some of the recipes I make are a hard sell (this year the Indian food I made, for instance), because of the variety and strength of some of the spices.

                                  My fear of a sampler-size version is that they would probably be very overpriced. No reason to give the kosher companies even more reason to over-charge us for Pesach food.

                                  I have noticed that McCormick is now selling various cards of tiny amounts of six spices to make a single dish. So for convenience they have now managed to convince people to buy a card of six 1/2 teaspoons of different spices for $2.00. I hate the fact that big corporations, through advertising, make so much money off peoples' willingness to overspend for convenience. It also limits individual "creativity," if you will. Perhaps this is more of a difference in philosophy than anything else, but I like to be in control of my cooking. If I want to put a teaspoon of cinnamon into a cake recipe that only calls for a quarter of a teaspoon, that's how I like to do it. And perhaps that explains why people look at me as an excellent cook and baker. It actually saddens me that people don't have enough confidence in their ability to cook that they pay absurd amounts for pre-cooked, pre-cut, microwavable food, like bags of measured out broccoli. (Secular world, not kosher, in this example.) Or my personal favorite, potatoes sold pre-wrapped in foil, for far more money than non-wrapped ones.

                                  Look, people have free choice, and our economy is a free market one, so corporations are legally entitled to make as much money as they can off of us. I just choose to try to stem the tide for myself. To bring this back to the original topic, I'd like to see more things offered for Pesach that aren't already available, like sugar-free drink mixes, instead of giving companies more reasons to overcharge us on Pesach. We spend enough on Pesach food as it is.

                            2. re: queenscook

                              I haven't done a taste test. But I just don't have the space to put the spices to save for the next year. Splitting with a friend works out pretty well.. we've split other things too.

                              We don't only split on Pesach- whenever we go to Costco we share cases of other items too.

                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                I agree on the spices. I would prefer to just have a sampler with kool aid size envelopes of a variety of spices. I like to use a variety and end up with only a few for pesach and a spice cabinet that is waay too overstocked after pesach. Its a good idea.

                      2. re: GilaB

                        During the year, we keep our Pesach herbs and spices in a sealed plastic bag in the bottom of our basement refrigerator. I mark the year acquired on new spices, so I have some idea of their age. I do a sniff test on the herbs before the last run to the grocery store, inevitibly erev Pesach a.m. Also, our garden herbs are generally up and growing by Pesach: oregano, chives, marjoram, parsley, tarragon, and rosemary (which winters in the house).

                        1. re: p.j.

                          i keep in on a shelf in the spare freezer... seems to hold strength and flavour ok...

                      3. I'm not sure if it's already available for Pesach, but I'd love to have KFP Greek-style yogurt.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: absmiller

                          I'd love to see salt-free Cholov Yisroel cottage cheese

                          1. re: absmiller

                            I haven't seen this yet, but I would love it too! And while we're on the topic of Greek Yogurt, how come Chobani and Oikos are kosher, but Fage hasn't gotten certification yet?

                            1. re: absmiller

                              Make your own. All you need is decent regular yogurt, an clean old t-shirt (or a bunch of layers of cheesecloth), a colander, and a bowl big enough to hold the colander. Line the colander with your cloth of choice, place it over the bowl, dump in the yogurt, and let it drain until it's reached your desired consistency. The longer it drains, the thicker and creamier and gets - if you leave it overnight (put the whole setup in the fridge), it gets to be like a very soft cheese.

                              1. re: absmiller

                                That would be great. The yogurts this year were awful- chocolate leben was practically liquid and fruit on the bottom strawberry and blueberry was missing the fruit.

                              2. I agree! Also, more awareness of the needs of people with medical problems. Too much is still full of sugars. fats, salt and chemicals. When we're at home we make our own salad dressings, mayo, soups, etc.. but if you're not able to do this, off the shelf foods can really mess up dietary restrictions.

                                1. I totally agree about the almond milk (or hazelnut milk). All the brands have some rice syrup in them, or other kitniyot. I ended up making my own hazelnut milk. It worked fine, but I would have loved to purchase it.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: milklady

                                    The Almond Milk I buy year-round(Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla) has no rice in it, as far as I know. Perhaps because it is unsweetened? I have a very cheap Pesach blender and I doubt it could grind even pre-soaked almonds into milk.

                                    1. re: websterhall1994

                                      The OU had said on their website that one could buy Blue Diamond brand almond milk (OU, no P) before Pesach for use on Pesach, but I can't find it now.

                                      1. re: GilaB

                                        Wow. If I had known that I would've.

                                        1. re: GilaB

                                          Are you sure? And for anyone? (Meaning: not people highly allergic to milk or some such.) It's certainly not in their Passover Guide, which I have in front of me right now. It seems to me that if it would be anywhere, it would be in there.

                                          1. re: queenscook

                                            Someone alluded to it on another thread here, and I then stumbled across it myself on their website, definitely on an HTML page rather than the PDFs of their Guide. No caveats (such as special populations) were included other than making sure to buy it before Pesach rather than on chol hamoed. This page mentions it also, but I saw it elsewhere: http://oukosher.org/index.php/passove...

                                            1. re: GilaB

                                              My understanding of that page, which is similar to page 93 of the actual guide, is the caveat "Anyone for whom it is necessary to consume kitniyos may drink these products." The next paragraph begins, "Another alternative . . .," which implies that this is an alternative to soy milk for those who would be allowed to consume that, presumably for health reasons. Otherwise, if it were generally acceptable, I'm sure it would have been listed in the regular section of the Guide, perhaps with specific directions to make sure to purchase it before Pesach."

                                          2. re: GilaB

                                            I wound up calling the OU right before Pesach for clarification. The man from their kashrut division basically said that it was for "special" populations (kids highly allergic to milk, for example) and it's a better alternative to soy milk for those people. As I am not in that category, I didn't buy it. I guess that's why it's not in their regular Passover guide, although I think they should have been more definitive on the website.

                                          3. re: websterhall1994

                                            As I understand the almond milk making process, you don't grind the almonds "into" milk; rather, you soak the almonds and then blend them with water. After this, you strain the processed nuts out of the liquid. Even a really cheap blender should be able to grind the nuts enough. I have never made it myself, though, so I'm not sure.

                                            1. re: queenscook

                                              This is exactly what I did.

                                              1. re: milklady

                                                I would like to have the availabilty of certain products that are available to commercial food companies for Passover, but not to consumers such as tapioca starch.

                                                1. re: moonlightgraham

                                                  I won't swear to it, but If I recall correctly, I believe I saw tapioca starch last Pesach.

                                        2. sugar free is mainly the issue of the sweetener . the haredi hechshers wont use nutrasweet [ safek kitniyot]

                                          1. low fat versions of everything. tomato sauce that doesn't suck. i know you can make it, but at the moment i don't have any pesach pots...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: PotatoPuff

                                              I buy the canned tomato suace and crushed tomatoes and add spices to it. I don't cook it beofre using. I use it for string beans, lasagna, eggplant parm, matzah pizza...

                                              1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                Plain tomato sauce or the pasta sauce types? I think there are very tasty varieties of the "pasta" sauces; I usually gravitate towards anything labeled marinara, spicy, or pizza, as they are usually spiced nicely. (My lasagna is known far and wide!) I don't have any Pesach recipes that use plain tomato sauce, though, so I really don't know about the that. I'm surprised that it's not good, though; how different could it be than the rest of the year?