Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Get Ready for Passover with Costco!

Before I dive into this, let me start off with a little disclaimer: I am not Jewish and I am by no means an expert on Judaism. While not a specifically religious person myself, I have the upmost respect for Judaism and growing up with many Jewish friends I have always admired and been intrigued by Judaism. For those of you who are Jewish, please bare with me while I try to explain what Passover is for us gentiles (did I say that right?) and for everyone I hope you find this post informative as well as entertaining :)

Now, in preparation for Passover, which starts at sundown this Friday (3 April 2015) let me share with all of you the many Kosher for Passover items I came across at Costco while out here in Los Angeles!

Oh wait I said I would try to explain what Passover is didn't I? Well here goes:
Passover is a holiday/festival in Judaism that commemorates and celebrates the Israelites exodus from Egypt and their liberation from slavery. As tradition goes when the Israelites fled Egypt they left in such a rush that they could not wait for their bread to leaven (rise) so their bread ended up being flat and crunchy like cracker. During Passover the Torah commands that Jews eat Matzah (which is an unleavened bread made from just flour and water that is cooked quickly before it can rise) in commemoration of their peoples Exodus from Egypt. Keeping Kosher means abiding by the Jewish dietary laws that dictate what foods are fit and proper to consume and are prepared in accordance with Jewish law. Keeping Kosher during Passover means abiding by additional rules that one must not consume or even have in their house anything that contains leavened flour or any prohibited grain (wheat, oats, barley, spelt and rye). So, food that is Kosher may not be Kosher during Passover, but good that is Kosher for Passover is Kosher all year round. Got it? Now on to the Costco items!

Matzah is an essential part of Passover and a staple in many Passover dishes so of course Costco carries tons of this time of year. Holyland Shmura Matzo is hand made in Israel and Kosher for Passover, and a 16 oz. box is only $14.99.

Kosher wine is an integral part of the Seder (a special, ceremonial family dinner filled with ritual and the retelling of the story of the Jews exodus from Egypt that is held on the first night (or first two nights) of Passover). If you can't drink wine or don't like wine you can enjoy Kosher grape juice instead. The Culver City Costco has two kinds that are both Kosher for Passover Kedem Sparkling Concord Grape Juice and regular none sparkling Kedem 100% Pure Grape Juice.

Costco also had Kosher for Passover Gefilte Fish (a poached mixture of ground, deboned fish). A 64 oz. jar of Rokeach Gefilte Fish is only $9.69 at Costco.

Due to the additional dietary restrictions and rules that are observed during Passover cooking can be a bit tricky but luckily Meal Mart makes many fresh, Kosher for Passover prepared dishes that can quickly & easily be heated up and served. Like Oven Roasted Turkey Breast or Chicken Breasts stuffed with ground vegetable medley in mushroom gravy.

Don't these Beef Stuffed Cabbage in a sweetened Tomato Sauce, and Turkey Stuffed Peppers in tomato sauce look delicious?!

 And how about this Oven Roasted Spare Ribs in BBQ Sauce, and ready to serve Gefilte Fish.

Or this Oven Roasted Beef Brisket, or Cooked Pot Roast.

And you can't forget Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls!

I also found a Kosher for Passover Rib Eye Roast by Meal Mart and New York Kosher Deli makes Kosher for Passover Sliced Pastrami.

Classic Cooking makes Kosher for Passover Kugel. (Kugel is a kind of baked casserole traditional made with egg noodles or potato.) I found three kinds at the Culver City Costco: Potato Kugel, Broccoli Kugel, and Sweet Apple Matzah Kugel.

The last Kosher for Passover item I found is this Kirkland Signature Imported Smoked Salmon. But Costco had a lot of other items that were just regular Kosher, like Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon.

Costco also carries a selection of fresh and frozen Kosher Chickens and Chicken Breasts.

I found Kosher meats too, like this 85% lean/15% fat Angus Ground Beef and Angus Beef London Broil.

The Culver City Costco also had Kosher cheeses imported from Israel: Kosher Feta Cheese  and Kosher Light Edam Cheese.

I found Kosher Cheese Blintzes too, (a blintz is thin pancake similar to a crepe but blintzes don't have any leavening agents), but the packaging wasn't completely clear if they were Kosher for Passover or just Kosher.

If you love pickles (and honestly who doesn't!?) I found two kinds of Kosher pickles: Carnegie Deli Fresh Kosher Spears and Elis Fresh Half Sour Pickles in the refrigerated section.

And last, but never least, the beloved Hebrew National products which are made from 100% Kosher Beef. Although Hebrew National is no longer the Costco Food Court hotdog, (it was replaced by the Kirkland Signature all beef frank which was developed by Costco after supply issues from Costco's kosher meat suppliers in 2009), you can still buy delicious and Kosher Hebrew National Beef Franks in the Costco refrigerated section, and some Costco's carry Hebrew National Beef Salami too. 

As always, selections vary from warehouse to warehouse. From my personal experience I have found that the warehouses in New York and New Jersey have very large Kosher selections, the DC warehouse seems to have more Kosher products than the Virginia warehouses and in the Los Angeles area, I found the Culver City warehouse to have the largest Kosher selection.

I hope you all enjoyed this enlightening post, I know I had a lot of fun learning about Passover and what it means for something to be Kosher, and I wish all my Jewish friends and readers a Happy & Kosher Pesach this Friday!

To keep up with the latest roadshows and deals I spot in between blog posts be sure to use the links below to follow me on Twitter and Instagram ;)

Until next time,
the Costco Connoisseur


P.S. - Selections and prices listed above will vary from different Costco locations.

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    עו"ד נועם קוריס

  2. Agreed. I have asked COSTCO many times by email a telephone yet no one really has a valid answer. It appears they severed their relationship with Carnegie Deli in New York due to the business scandals the wife was involved in regarding second owner and the co-founder of the Deli recipes etc. Long story short, they are out of business however, they never did make their own kosher pickles. United Pickle Products Corp. had been providing Carnegie with their pickles re-branded "Carnegie Kosher Deli Speers" for decades. A few years ago, United had said they contacted COSTCO to continue to provide their same refrigerated Kosher Dill Spears and had sent them a huge pallet of samples. They never heard back from COSTCO so it appears those lame headed purchasing agents with COSTCO didn't know the difference in quality pickles or they just weren't pickles lovers. Anyone who knows a good tasting dill pickle knows they are priceless once you find one source that does them right.

    So, it continues to be a question as to why COSTCO never replaced the high volume selling kosher dill pickles they had been selling for a decade. As of this date, there are no refrigerated kosher dill pickle spears stocked in any COSTCO warehouse. You'd think they would at least make an effort to continue to carry the original maker, United Pickle, dill pickles with their label since they were a hit in the sales dept. with Costco. Go figure...that's the problem with high volume managers, they truly have no sense of worth when it comes to the value of some products, high sales volume or not...they simply take the easy route and head for the path of least restriction vs. forge a path. Loyal Costco members are the ones who lose in these kind of decision makings. Regardless of the scandal, can't Costco continue the product with the authentic manufacturer who just happens to be a very legitimate company with a century of quality and a great public and business reputation?