Passover is here! Nuts and eggs are a big part of the celebration for very different reasons. JLife investigates…
Don’t Go Nuts
Most nuts are kosher for Passover, though you must make sure they are kosher certified: processed nuts are made with preservatives BHA and BHT, which is suspended in corn oil, and therefore are not kosher for Passover. Peanuts are classed as legumes (kitniyot), and therefore not kosher. However, most nuts, nut flours, and pure nut butters without additives are suitable, excluding those listed under kitniyot such as corn, millet, rice, dried beans and lentils, peas, green beans, soybeans, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and mustard seeds.
These items have been banned for centuries by Ashkenazi Jews and most still stick to the ban on kitniyot today. The origin of the ban is unclear; it’s thought that kitniyot were considered too similar to grains as grains and kitniyot often shared the same storage bags. It is possible that chametz might accidentally be mixed in with the kitniyot and then consumed during Pesach. Another theory is that kitniyot expand when immersed in water, which may have been perceived by rabbis as a form of rising or leavening.
Here are some truly imaginutive (we’re sorry) facts about nuts!
1. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food — they date all the way back to 7,000 BC.
2. Almonds can’t grow on their own. They need bees to help them pollinate.
3. The shell of the cashew is toxic and can’t be eaten. Cashews are in the same plant family as poison ivy and poison sumac and their itchy oil is primarily contained in their shell.
4. Macadamia nuts are never picked. They are harvested from the ground after they fall off the tree.
5. Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.
6. Ancient Greeks believed hazelnuts could treat coughing and baldness.
7. Almonds have a long storage life and can be refrigerated for up to two years. The longer shelf life is due to the fact that they are rich in Vitamin E.
9. Macadamia nuts are poisonous for dogs.
10. Around 75% of the world’s supply of walnuts comes from California.
There is always an egg on the Seder plate and most Pesach food is egg-based, but what makes it such a significant part of Pesach?
A roasted egg, or ‘beitzah’ symbolises the ‘haggigah’ or festival sacrifice which was always brought to the Temple in Jerusalem on festive occasions. It also works as a joyous symbol of life and rebirth. The beginning of life, and Passover marks the beginning of Jewish people’s cultural existence.
The hard-boiled nature of the egg is also sometimes said to represent the Jews’ determination not to give up their beliefs while they were slaves in Egypt.
Here are some eggstraordinary (OK, we’ll stop now) facts about eggs!
1. To tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked, spin it! If the egg spins easily, it is hard-cooked but if it wobbles, it is raw.
2. If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy clean up.
3. Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.
4. An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs a year.
5. As a hen grows older she produces larger eggs.
6. The fastest omelette maker in the world made 427 two-egg omelettes in 30 minutes.
7. To minimise the chance of your hard-boiled eggs turning green when cooked, cook eggs in hot, but not boiling, water, and then cool immediately.
8. Double-yolked eggs are often laid by young hens whose egg production cycles are not yet completely synchronised, or by hens which are old enough to produce extra large eggs.
9. Eggs are a source of choline, a little-known but essential nutrient that contributes to foetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects.
10. To produce one egg, it takes a hen 24 to 26 hours.
Source: Thinkegg.com and Incredibleegg.org