You have probably heard the terms processed or refined grains, but what are processed and refined grains anyway? And why can we use these refined grains for Kosher for Passover Matzoh?
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Passover Matzoh and its close relationship with refined grains
Since Biblical times, Jews have observed the Passover holiday by eating a special unleavened bread called Matzoh. This type of bread is made from wheat that has been ground and sifted until it has reached a high level of refinement.
Today, the process of crafting Kosher for Passover Matzoh has been perfected through advances in milling technology to create an extremely fine grain that can be used to make delicious and satisfying meals, even during this special occasion.
What are Processed Grains?
Processed grains result from a transformation process that takes whole grains and turns them into a finer, more refined product.
During this process, the entire grain kernel is physically ground down and sifted until only smaller pieces remain. The resulting product has a higher protein content, a softer texture, and longer shelf life compared to its unrefined counterpart.
This makes processed grains ideal for use in products like breads and cereals as they can be more easily digested and provide greater nutritional value.
Refined grains examples include most corn and flour tortillas, couscous, grits, pasta, pretzels, breakfast cereals, and white bread.
What Is The Process Of The Refining Grains?
Processed refined grains have been milled. This is a process that takes out the bran and germ, therefore, giving grains a finer texture.
Although this helps improve shelf life, fiber, iron, and many vitamins have also been removed.
Then, to compensate for the deficiencies, most refined grains are enriched to add vitamins and iron back in after the processing.
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Why Processed Grains Matter For Passover
During Passover, it is prohibited to consume chametz, which is any leavened grain. Therefore, all grains must be processed and free from fermentation before they can be eaten on the holiday.
Processed grains are important for Passover because they can provide a kosher alternative to leavened breads, cakes, and other food items that would otherwise not be allowed.
What Grains Are Allowed For Passover
For Passover, Matzo is made from a mixture of flour and water. The flour used for Kosher for Passover Matzoh can be whole grain or processed grain, but has to be wheat, oat, rye, spelt, or barley if Ashkenazic.
Wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt are the five banned grains on Passover. These grains ferment and expand when exposed to water for just 18 minutes.
Controversy Over Processed Refined Grains
There is some controversy over processed refined grains. Many nutritionists and functional medicine specialists believe refined grains are harmful.
Food Matters has an article on Why Refined Grains Are Harmful + 8 Gluten Free Whole Grain Alternatives if you would like to learn more.
Basically, the argument is that refined grains are excessively starchy and high in gluten, mostly lacking natural fiber, have added chemicals, are fumigated and bleached, have artificial flavors and colorings, and are nutritionally imbalanced.
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.