couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

A Happy Little Purim (Pesach Mission #0)

Tomorrow is Purim Katan and Yom Ahava- also known as Valentine’s Day.  That calls for a celebration!

Normally I start the pre-Pesach missions on Shushan Purim.  This year we have an extra month to prepare and be relaxed about it.  I especially need the extra time this year- I will be out of the country for a week in March and have a big project due around that time.

The point of the Pesach missions are to help you get organized.  How does being organized save money?  By being organized, you are prepared.  If you are prepared, you can purchase Pesach foods when prices are low and you have time to cook healthy food instead of running out and buying expensive takeaway.

Back to the mission.  Your Purim Katan mission is to open your closets, refrigerators and freezers.  Take an inventory of your chametz.  If you don’t already have a theme for your mishloach manot, see if you can come up with one based on the chametz you have in your house.  If you have a lot of flour, you can make mini challot or muffins.  Too much cereal?  Buy a nice bowl, put cereal in a bag into the bowl, add a spoon and a small carton of UHT milk for a cute kids snack.  For some reason, I have a lot of falafel mix in the house, so a good mishloach manot would be homemade pita, falafel, chumus, a tomato and a cucumber.  The point is not to shove your chametz onto someone else but to take what you have and make it worthy of a gift.  

You might notice that my suggestions don’t include junk food.  We really don’t need it and if you have kids, you will get and give  plenty anyway.  I don’t know about you, but I am running around like crazy doing all the things we do on Purim and I never have time to make a quick healthy meal.  Therefore I am  grateful when someone gives me a mishloach manot like the ones listed above (which are all real gifts I received over the years).  If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!  For more ideas, check out Kosher on a Budget’s list of 101 Mishloach Manot Ideas.

One final remark: Now is the time that all of the regular products that you buy will start having KLP hashgacha on them and  NOW is the time to buy these items- when they are cheap and/or on sale. For example, these are the products I bought on sale this week from Shufersal that are KLP (products labeled as having kitniyot have a K):

  • Beit HaShita pickles
  • Shufersal Apple Nectar
  • Heirloom Farms baby corn (K)
  • Green Giant canned corn (K)
  • Starkist tuna, several varieties (K)
  • Sanfrost frozen broccoli
  • Shufersal frozen Brussels sprouts
  • Shufersal extra fine frozen peas (K)

In addition, most (if not all) packaged fresh meat is already KLP.

Those who do not eat kitniyot will have a much harder time finding  KLP products early, just as you do right before Pesach.  It seems that the companies prefer to write that there might be kitniyot because it is easier than ensuring they don’t.  If you always wanted to be Sephardi, are not too attached to the kitniyot tradition or are just curious, I recommend you check out the Kitniyot Liberation Front Facebook pageblog and articles written about them.  Their argument is more about Jewish unity and less about kitniyot.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are only 8 1/2 weeks until Pesach.  Now is also the time to STOP buying chametz that you won’t use up in 7-8 weeks.  If you plan your dinners in advance,  figure out when to serve those 8 packages of corn shnitzel or 12 bags of pasta.  If you can’t do it without a revolution on your hands, donate the extras now.

If you can’t wait until Shushan Purim for the first mission, click here.

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