Friday, March 27, 2015

Wild rice & green beans for Pesach

Kitniyot Minimization Project ™ update:

Last year we added raw peanuts and KFP for sephardim peanut butter. The 2 additions to our household this year will be:

  1. Wild rice, the North American variety, unknown in Europe at the time of the introduction of the minhag. The commonly sold variety is Northern Wild Rice (zizania palustris), native to the Great Lakes region of North America. It's unrelated to other rice, and is not really a "rice" at all. The only slight similarity is the shape. Early French explorers called it Folles Avoines (crazy oats). Other explorers called it a rice, not only because of the shape, but because they saw the plants rising above waters of the great lakes region, reminding them of rice paddies.
  2. Green (string) beans. While they may be called "beans", and are, indeed, in the legume family, no one considered them kitniyot until the mid-20th century. While there are some unclear sources that go back further, there are none before the start of the 20th century. Green beans are a perfect example of something that crept into the minhag only recently through a combination of misunderstanding, a confusion over the name, and dubious sources.

Disclaimer: I am not a posek. This is for informational purposes only, and to explain my own decisions.

Some links:
Some history & details about wild rice
Discussion - what is the earliest source for green beans as kitniyot?


  1. String beans also don't need to be checked for bugs, unlike vegetables like asparagus. You'd think rabbis would be lenient, but I've asked and gotten a no.