When is the Best Time to Start Keeping Yoshon?
When Does Chodosh Season Start?
Mid-summer is when the newly sprouted chodosh grains are harvested, processed, and shortly thereafter start to hit the shelves of the grocery stores. The earliest grains to become chodosh are Oats, which usually start in mid-July. The next is Wheat and Barley, which usually starts in early to mid-August. Rye and Spelt grown in the USA and Canada are always yoshon, unless they are “sprouted grains”. Barley Malt is the last, becoming chodosh around November to mid-December. These dates change every year, as yoshon status is dependent on the Hebrew calendar. This means that the harvest dates fluctuate from year to year, and one must go by the general dates for the current year. There is a checklist of General Start Dates that can be downloaded and printed out. It’s handy to put on your fridge.
For information on specific products, look them up on our site by doing a search, and when your product comes up, scroll down to see “Additional Info”. It will show if a product is yoshon already or to check on the code. Many products can be determined by the packaging or purchase date codes printed on the package. There is a whole guide (“The Guide to Chodosh”) available every year that can be downloaded right here from our site at the Guide to Chodosh. To see corrections and updates on the Guide, go to Bulletin Updates.
What's the Best Way to Purchase Products?
There are many companies that cater to Jewish consumers, especially in areas with higher populations of Jews. Some big cities have bakeries, pizzerias and restaurants that are using yoshon grain. One must ascertain this by checking with their local kashrut supervising agency. In grocery stores with many “Heimishe” or Jewish products, often the labels will state “yashan”, “yoshon” or “made with kemach yoshon” (yoshon flour). Generally, companies that show “Yoshon” on the packages will have “Yoshon Hashgacha”. This means there are kosher supervisors who make sure that a product contains only yoshon ingredients, not simply kosher ingredients. If a product has Yoshon Hashgacha, it will be listed under “Additional Info” along with the Date Code, Grain Ingredients, and other specifications.
Some items are inherently Yoshon. See “Buying Products” for more details. There are many flour companies that use Winter Wheat, which is always Yoshon. To make sure they are purely Winter Wheat, check the status of each product under “Additional Info”. One can also do a search with the word “Yoshon” along with the product.
For those in smaller towns with limited Jewish brands, or for products that may be possibly chodosh, it merely involves a little bit of advance planning. Just as one would plan for a vacation, Shabbat or holidays, one must stock up on certain items from just after Pesach through around mid to late July. Often, one can find items in the back on grocery shelves if the stock hasn’t been rotated.