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A guide for the perfect Passover Seder preparation

Updated on March 25, 2017

Seder plate

Seder plate and matzo cover
Seder plate and matzo cover | Source

My motto is preparation and planning.

I keep my notes on my computer and improve every year after evaluating how everything worked out. I do this for everything!

So it occurred to me that my Seder preparation could help other families. In this article I present the elements of the Seder plate and table, example menu, shopping, cleaning and kashrut list, and to do lists.

Preparing the table

Seder Plate (I put 2 plates on the table, one for the Adults and one for the children):

  • Karpas: Parsley
  • Charoset: apples, almonds, wine, …
  • Maror, chaseret: Horseradish, Romaine lettuce
  • Shank bone: Chicken neck
  • Eggs (roasted)

Seder table

  • Orange (it's not compulsory but it's a symbol of inclusion)
  • Elija wine cup
  • Miriam water cup
  • Place cards
  • Olives, pickles (anything that could be nibbled during Maggid!)
  • Haggadot
  • Props (for plagues or songs)
  • Matzah cover
  • Presents for finding the Afikomen

Seder table

Source

Shopping for essentials

  • Haggadot (It is always good to buy a new Haggadah each year to keep your Seders fresh)
  • Extra white tablecloth (for the second day!)
  • 2 seder plates (I like to have one for adults and one for children or just two if you have a very long table so everyone is included!)
  • Matzah plate
  • Matzah cover
  • Affikomen bag/cover
  • Presents Affikomen (quantity of children times 2!)
  • Salad onions for Dayenu (We adopted this custom from a friend. You "whip" your neighbour diners every time you say the word Dayenu. Just bring some cloths or towels to avoid damaging clothes!)
  • Plagues props

Do not forget to buy

More and more essentials:

  • Shmura Matzah
  • Regular and other types of matzah
  • Tea
  • Lots of wine
  • Grape juice
  • Olives and pickles

Cleaning

The following list helps to remember what to clean and organise:

  • Take crockery, cutlery, etc out of cupboards
  • Clean cupboards and cover them
  • Clean table
  • Clean meat dishwasher and then run it empty (If you have two dishwashers, leave one for later as you surely be cleaning all day and will have to eat and wash your dishes up!)
  • Oven spray (I would suggest to clean thoroughly your oven a week or two in advance)
  • Stove spray
  • Oven racks and burners spray
  • Hood and walls
  • Fridge/freezer (wash up racks and shelves)
  • Clean diary dishwasher and then run it empty
  • Oven and stove cleaning
  • Clean sink and kosher it (boil water over it)
  • Wash up and dry crockery (unless it appears clean from last year)
  • Put everything in cupboards
  • Clean counter tops and cover them
  • Clean microwave
  • Clean rubbish/garbage area
  • Sweep and mop the floors

Koshering

This is the list of equipment to kosher:

  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Stove
  • Fridge (put plastics)
  • Dishwasher (run it with only water)
  • Sink (pour boil water)
  • Kiddush cups (if you want to use your usual ones)
  • Cutlery (same as above)

There are different ways to kosher your kitchen equipment and that depends on the levels of Kashrut you follow. Your synagogue should be able to help.

Now, you can start cooking!

My Seder Menu

First Seder
Second Seder
Chicken soup and matza balls
Chilled melon or strawberry soup
Baby spinach salad
Israeli Salad
Roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary
Boiled potatoes with mayonnaise and chives
Roasted carrots, parsnip and onions
Steamed broccoli mangetout and green beans
Sweet brisket
Brisket leftovers
Roasted chicken
Chicken sweet and sour balls
Chocolate mousse
Lemon pie
Both nights will start with eggs in salt water and Gefilte fish in romaine and horseradish sauce

Seder preparation schedule

Based on my menu, this was my countdown preparation:

DAY -3:

  • Shopping last stuff


DAY -2:

AM:

  • Cleaning
  • Polish silver kiddish cups

PM:

  • Cleaning
  • Koshering
  • Shopping vegetables
  • Matzah balls mixed
  • Chicken soup (leave it simmering overnight)

Get help from your kids!
Get help from your kids! | Source

DAY -1:

AM:

  • 30 hardboiled eggs
  • Chicken soup to cold then to the fridge
  • Matzah balls cook
  • Desserts
  • Charoset

PM:

  • Marinate brisket
  • Marinate chicken
  • Salmon for Day 1 lunch
  • Gefilte fish boil
  • Burn egg for seder plate
  • Boil potatoes 2nd seder
  • Meat balls

Source

DAY 0 EREV PESACH:

AM:

  • Steam veg 2nd seder
  • Brisket
  • Roast bone
  • Chilled soup
  • Set table

PM:

  • Roast chicken
  • Roast vegetables
  • Gravy for brisket
  • Heur D’oeuvres (carrot, celery, olives, pickles)
  • Prepare seder plates
  • Wash romaine lettuce
  • Grate horseradish
  • Salt water
  • Prepare salad onions for Dayenu
  • 5pm Roast potatoes
  • 6pm Take fat out of chicken soup and re-heat
  • Baby spinach salad

DAY 1:

  • Israeli salad

And if you are not organising your own Seders, I still recommend you to keep a file in your computer with the Pesach shopping list. It's worth it and will save you lots or time each year.

Do you have little children?

For hints and tips on preparing a successful Seder with young children see my hub: How to have a great Passover Seder with kids

© 2015 Susana Suarez

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