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Saving money on food for Passover

Some of the suggestions on a thread that had drifted are so useful that I am putting them where people will see them.

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  1. Marty,
    For many years we have shopped the after Pesach mark downs for next Pesach. This past year we bought cases of gefen Canned Pineapple for 20 cents a can. I buy a year's worth of natural applesauce after Pesdach, no HFCS that way. We have a Pesach pantry and keep am inventory list. Most canned goods are good for at least three years. Boxed goods are generally good for the next year. We don't save oli or spices. Oil can get cloudy and spices lose potency.

    This year Stop and Shop has run 'Free 5 lb Yehuda Matzo w/$25 purchase' coupons a few times. I've gotten more than 50 lbs free. Half go for charity, some gets used during Pesach Chol HaMoed, and the rest gets put away. It might be there until next Pesach or get used up during the year.

    By bagelman01 on Apr 04, 2011

    1. Nice planning! I started two years ago by keeping a spreadsheet of what I bought, and how much it cost because I noticed I was buying way too much and had lots of stuff at the end of pesach that I didn't even open!

      First thing I do is to go through my kitchen looking for anything unopened that was K4P. I then check those items off my spreadsheet. I then collect all the local ads see if any spreadsheet items is on sale and mark off which store has it cheapest. Thus I build up my shopping list.

      I don't go too crazy, I limit myself to Costco, Brachs, Gourmet Glatt, Seasons (Supersol - only for meats) and Key Food.

      ... and most important - I say to myself (many times) - "It is only one week" - very important since one can get carried away - and after all, it really is only one week!

      By MartyB

      1. 1. Plan dinners ahead of time and eat leftovers with matzah for breakfast and lunch.
        2. If you live in a friendly community, divide up the cost and food preparation for the seders among 4 or 5 people and pay your share for what you take. One person makes all of the fish, one person makes all of the soup, one person makes all of the meat etc.
        3. You can share your spices and Pesach specialty items among friends.

        1. Good advice. The best way to save money is to plan and not overbuy.

          And to avoid the buying special Pesach products as much as possible.

          One way to do this is to read the OU guide carefully, then buy Hershey's cocoa (instead of the more expensive "Jewish/Passover brands), frozen fish form Costco, store brands of sugar and salt, and so forth.

          But the best way is to avoid using specially produced passover things in your menus. Make a spaghetti squash kugel instead of a matzo meal one (bake the spaghetti squash, pull it out in strings with a fork). Explore tubers and starches you haven't met before. For example, serve a chicken stew involving fruit over plantains mashed with a splash of orange juice. Be creative with potatoes. Use olive oil and lemon juice instead of special Pesach oils and overpriced Pesach salad dressings. RealLemon and several store brands do not need a special Pesach hechscher. Neither does extra virgin olive oil. Trader Joe's has it at a good price, and you'll enjoy it all year (unlike many special Pesach products that you will may well never use up) Shop the vegetable section intensely and creatively. You'll eat better and healthier.

          And avoid boxed baking mixes and Passover baked goods like the plague (like all ten) these really bust the budget, and most don't taste all that good.

          Instead of buying Pesach "versions" of anything shop the vegetable section. For dessert, think baked apples, flourless chocolate torte, or a simple baked meringue shell filled with a lemon curd made with egg yolks as the thickener. Or compote. Or update the compote by poaching fresh fruit in wine.

          You have better uses for the money they charge for stale cake, fake cheerios and faux mustard.
          A good cook really can avoid almost all of the expensive Pesach foods.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AdinaA

            One exception to the avoiding Passover baked goods for me is the Pesach Rainbow cookies. During the year, Rainbow cookies are "adulterated" with flour, but the non-gebrochts versions available for Pesach are so heavily almond-flavored, I find it almost marzipan-like. Not as good as marzipan, of course, but reminiscent of it anyway.

          2. Save money on wine this year: if you can get to Eber's in Crown Heights, they have a rather good Italian white on sale for $4.99 a bottle. It's Monte Olivo Umbria Blanco 2005, non-mevushal, nothing spectacular but very drinkable. The reason it's on sale is that it won't last much longer, and they have to get rid of it before it starts to turn. So take advantage. I have been!

            1. It's only one week is the key.

              Years ago, I was Pesach shopping with my first (and now ex) wife. And she kept piling things into the shopping cart. When she had picked the 12th package of cheese, I blew my stack. What do we need 12 packages of Pesach cheese for? We're 2 people, no kids, go to the in-laws for the first days and my parents for the last days?

              Her reply>>>I don't know what I might be in the mood for.

              I quickly jettisoned the extra groceries and not soon enough jettisoned the wife. I took out a pad and made a menu and we shopped for it.

              But certain items were kept year to year, the contents were expensive and don't go bad. I probably have my box of KLP Sweet and Low for 8 years, maybe 2-3 packets get used by guests each year. We only buy Domino sugar packets, as they're always KLP.

              The biggest trick is not to raid the Pesach pantry in the off season when we feel lazy. But it did come in handy during the Feb ice/snow storms.

              Lastly, Empire frozen whole poultry (Frozen by Empire) has a freezer life of 24 months. So I stock the freezer all year with bargains as I find them for Pesach and other use.

              Last Thanksgiving Time, I was visiting my sister in a small city in North central Massachusetts and went into a Shaw's supermarket. They had a big freezer case full of Empire turkeys, turkey breasts and 5 lb roasting chickens at 99 cents per pound. I brought home a trunk full and stocked the downstairs freezer. So, I'll need to buy some beef for Pesach, but have poultry for this Pesach and next................

              By bagelman01

              reposted by

              7 Replies
              1. re: AdinaA

                I have a 22lb bird in the freezer that I bought on sale. I figure it will take care of two meals of the last two days. So with the last days requiring 4 meals (I don't menu plan breakfast) and keeping one meal a light dairy one I only have to plan for one meat meal for the last days.

                Lately I have been buying the family packs of chicken cutlets from Supersol (Seasons) for $2.99/lb. I grind them up, take the cheap gallon plastic bags and put one pound in each. I then take a mess load of those bags, put them in a freezer bag and into the freezer. Voila, ground chicken cutlets $2.99/lb waiting for me in my freezer in convenient one pound portions. Safe to say I will be making a chicken meat loaf for one of the meals.

                1. re: MartyB

                  What's your Pesach meatloaf recipe? I was thinking that a chicken meatloaf involving chopped onions, pre-cooked quinoa, pepper, and a wheelbarrow full of finely chopped parsley would be good.

                  1. re: AdinaA

                    Shoprite in the New York Area has the usual Pesach sales (free or very cheap matzo with a $25 purchase). They also have a special of 38 cents/per lb. for Empire Frozen Turkety if yoy spend $300 over the course of the month around Pesach time. This is not too difficult since they also sell fresh meat under reliable hasgacha.

                    1. re: moonlightgraham

                      Kasher your grill and for lunches and dinner just eat grilled meats with fruits, vegetables and potatoes.

                      1. re: DeisCane

                        Sounds great. Do you have a place to get some fresh, soft, Yemenite, Shmurah Matza, to wrap it with?

                        1. re: AdinaA

                          softmatza.com, but I think that's Syrian rather than Yemenite.

                          1. re: DeisCane

                            LOL. I really did. And here I thought you had to travel, to like, Sa'ana to get the good stuff.

              2. I love all these great ideas. Many of them I already do. The suggestion to keep it simple and use fresh ingredients/produce is definitely the way to go. Here's another suggestion- if you MUST have the processed stuff- pancake mix, cake mixes, baked goods, etc. buy the bare minimum for the first days. By Chol Hamoed, the "regular" supermarkets and many of the kosher supermarkets reduce the prices on the boxed stuff and especially on the baked goods. You can usually get the cereals and cake mixes for 99 cents.

                1 Reply
                1. re: websterhall1994

                  Excellent point! Even the kosher supermarkets will have reduced prices on Chol Hamoed.I plan on going to Brachs and Gourmet Glatt on Sunday Chol Hamoed in the morning and 1 hr or so before they close. You would be surprised at the discounts that go on close to closing time before a two day yom tov!

                  I remember one year where on Chol Hamoed Gourmet Glatt was selling Oberlanders cakes and cookies for 99 cents on Chol Hamoed.

                2. You can also save by not throwing away open containers of foods that are kosher fo rPesach without special certification. this can apply, for example, to an open bottle of wine, an open bottle of RealLemon or of grape juice.

                  Also, of course, to foods that keep outside the fridge. If you only pour out of a bottle of virgin olive oil, you don't need to buy a new bottle.

                  I admit that I wash the outside of such bottles pretty aggressively.

                  1. Another important point to remember, especially if you live in a neighborhood that is well serviced with kosher stores, like the 5 towns, Flatbush, and Boro Park is to begin by ONLY shopping for the firs two days. When yom tov is over shop for chol hamoed and shabbos then shop for the last days. This way your leftovers can guide you with the final purchase requirements for the last two days. It is too overwhelming to shop for the entire yom tov at once unless you either meal plan for the entire event in advance or if you do like I did and kept a record of prior years purchases and use and have a meaningful starting point.

                    Always remember, never go shopping, especially pesach shopping on an empty stomach;)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: MartyB

                      also, a lot of stores like waldbaums and pathmark think pesach is over after the first seder, so you can get a lot of random items, if its stuff that regular supermarkets would carry,, crazy cheap

                      i was nervous when someone posted on another thread abt not being able to find heinz red wine vinegar, so i checked my cabinets and foudn that i still have 2 left from oesach shopping from last year when i got them at waldbaums for less than !1

                      1. re: shoelace

                        Target has the Heinz year round. If the bottles on the front of the shelf are not KLP, dig down to the back of the shelf. I use it for salad dressing (with a little olive oil and oregano) and for almost any salad where white vinegar is called for but I want some extra flavor.

                        My cole slaw is famous and all I do is use shredded cabbage, Miracle Whip, Heinz wine vinegar and (when it's not Pesach) some celery seed. Use the same stuff and put potatoes, carrot and celery and you have potato salad. On Pesach I use black pepper. A little different taste but it works and it's CHEAP!

                      2. re: MartyB

                        Don't try this if you live in San Francisco. When I lived there I learned the hard way that some of the grocery stores think that Passover is done after the first 2 days, and they send all of the unsold Passover stuff back (including all of the refrigerated dairy goods) to the suppliers.

                        1. re: mamaleh

                          I guess I should remove the word "especially " from my post. In my neck of the woods, the 5 towns, the stores are stocked and have very late hours for shopping virtually till the shabbos after pesach. In essence the store is an extension to your kitchen so keep it in "their" kitchen until you need it in yours.

                          As to the last days there is usually some flexibility since as the yom tov draws to a close people begin to turn to things like "do we go to the pizza store" or mob the dunkin donuts after yom tov. By us the two days usually works like this. The first night we have a substantial meal (in my case I have a 22 pound turkey as my main and a rib roast). The next meal probably would be the turkey/roast. The next meal in the evening we will be sick of meat and have a dairy meal (matzo/cheese/pasta sauce combo in the oven) and the final meal will be "whatever" i.e. leftovers, tuna salad, eggs - doesn't matter since our stomachs will be in pre chametz mode and want to eat light in anticipation so leftovers is the name of the game.

                          So will it be pizza or donuts?

                      3. Just note that in smaller communities the KLP stuff is GONE during chol hamoed.

                        Also, in around 6 months you might find KLP cookies at the 99 Cents Store.

                        Our local Ralph's stocks the non-gebrokts (no matza meal) cakes and cookies at FULL PRICE until it's gone because people with celiac disease will buy it year round.

                        1. As you begin to prepare to cook remember some foods scale very well. I plan on making a HUGE pot of chicken soup. It will clearly last yom tov and then some. Gefilta fish - get a bigger pot and put in a couple of loafs of fish, cooking time is still the same, again I will make gelta fish once and it will last all of yom tov. The idea is not to be in constant cooking mode make the most of a cooking session and you will wind up saving both in time and money.

                          1. Sunday is the last shopping day for pesach so it pays to shop early to catch any of the obvious sales of items that they want to get rid of. Next, note when store closes and come 1/2 to 1 hour before closing and listen to store-wide announcements. With two days of yom tov ahead and people not wanting pesach items after the yom tov one can get some good deals. If you see an excess of an obvious perishable item don't be shy and give an ask if they plan on lowering the price or if they have one or two pieces of an item in the takeout section it may not be worth their while to pack it away if they can make a quick sale.

                            As an example for a while this worked in Gourmet Glatt. At around 1/2 hour before store closed on Friday they were selling sushi at a discount – ex buy one get one free or buy 2 get one free until they noticed people came in expecting the discount they then stopped it fearing a weekly pack of “bottom fishers” (like me) hovering around the display waiting for the announcement.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MartyB

                              BUMMER! Costco was closed for Easter Sunday. I planned on buying a lot of my last day's shopping from them!

                              Brach’s was useless - store was quite empty. I walked out purchasing less that $10 worth of items.

                              Gourmet Glatt was well stocked, found everything that I needed except for cereal – I will have to hit the majors for that. Zomicks was selling cakes for 50% off.

                              Picked up another brick roast from Season’s Was a big hit the first days so I will serve it again for the last days since I will have a different crowd. $9.99/lb vs $8.99/lb that I paid last week but still worth it.

                              I will have to do more cooking for the last days since I was counting on buying kugels and stuffed cabbage from Costco. I also was going to buy salmon from them.

                              Will return to Gourmet Glatt at 4-4:30 and see what specials, if any, they will have.

                              1. re: MartyB

                                Hit Stop and Shop today to stock on on mark down Pesach items for year round use.
                                Gefen 12 oz Honey Bears reduced to $1.25 for 4.99 bought 24
                                Gefen large jars (32 oz?) all natural apple sauce $1.47 marked down from 3.99 -took all 8 on shelf.
                                Stop and Shop 14oz. Canned cranberry sauce 50Cents, same as the S&S in the regular aisle at $1
                                Gefen Mandarin Orange sections 11 oz cans 50 cents, bought 24

                                Yahrzeit candles in glass 3/$1 in Pesach Aisle, 79 cents in Kosher aisle

                                Ungar's frozen Gefilte Fish $3.99 instead of $8.49 bought 12

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  They also were selling Oberlander's Marble/Sponge loafs for $2.99 - I just love those with a little chocolate syrup on them.