Traditionally, most if not all observant Ashkenazim refrain from eating corn and corn-products on Passover because of their traditional prohibition on eating kitniyot (legumes) for fear of eating Biblically-prohibited chametz (leavened products). Corn, or maize, is a New World crop that could only have been imported to Europe once this was feasible. What is the earliest source in the rabbinic literature to classify corn as kitniyot and is it universally accepted as such? (I believe I have noticed in recent years a package of "kosher for passover" sweets that suggests Rav Isaac Elhanan Specter, z"l, was lenient, but I am looking for more specific sources.)

  • 1
    This answer attributes it to linguistic confusion over "corn" often meaning "grain" but does not source that assertion.
    – Mike
    Mar 18 '15 at 0:10
  • @Mike not saying that's THE reason, just that it further hurt it.
    – Shalom
    Mar 18 '15 at 1:15

I believe I'd seen it printed somewhere on the daf in Shulchan Aruch, but would have to dig some more. (The other problem is that everyone is giving the local Yiddish-ish word for these plants, which can be tricky to translate.)

Don't be fooled by the sweets package! It contains corn syrup; the argument is "Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Specter allowed all liquid kitniyot." No, he allowed oil extracted from kitniyot, as there's little concern of confusion or contamination with regards to the oil. Corn syrup is converted from the grain itself. (Regardless, the argument isn't "corn isn't kitniyot"; it's that corn syrup isn't the same as corn.)

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    And i think it's only oil or syrup from kitnios that was cooked before Pesach, to facilitate bittul.
    – user6591
    Mar 18 '15 at 1:42
  • Oil is also converted from the grain itself.
    – msh210
    Mar 18 '15 at 5:15

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