What is kosher food? Is that what you are recently searching for? Well, if you do, then let us tell you Kosher is any type of food and drinks that Jewish law allows people to eat. Kosher food does have religious history. However, most people have it because of its health benefits. The question that arises for most non-Jewish people is what is kosher food, or does every Jewish follow this law? To answer all your queries, we will talk about the history, guidelines of kosher food, and what makes food kosher.
What is Kosher food, and how is it made?
Kosher food is not only about the way you cook your meal. It is way more complex than that. There are strict rules that need to be followed while making kosher food.
Most religions have specific laws on what food and drinks one can eat or not. Similarly, kosher food is the same. Moreover, the rules are about how you inspect, prepare, and process the food before eating it. All the things are included in the law.
Also, keeping this diet is challenging and is a commitment. It oversees what you are eating, how you prepare the food, and how you keep your kitchen and utensils daily.
What does kosher mean?
The word “kosher” is originated from the Hebrew word “kashér.” It means to be proper, pure, and foods that are suitable for eating.
The Jewish book named “Torah” called the law kashrut, and here the details of the law are given. Moreover, the instruction of these laws is passed down by verbal tradition.
A lot of researchers believed that these dietary laws are the first food law in the world.
Are they only for Jewish people?
Most people reading this article about ”what is kosher food” probably wonder if they can follow this lifestyle.
Anyone can practice this diet, and it is not limited to only Jewish people. Also, not every Jewish person follows this rule.
Is Kosher food readily available?
Almost all foods and beverages have a kosher version. Most probably, you already have kosher foods in your kitchen. Also, some supermarkets have a separate kosher food section.
What is kosher food preparation?
Many people nowadays do not eat food with dairy, gluten, and carbs for fitness and health benefits. However, for others, this dietary restriction is not out of choice but a commandment.
What is kosher food – the foods that are acceptable to consume which are mentioned kashrut – the dietary laws for Jewish.
The Talmud, which is the central part of the Jewish law, summarizes the specific rules that the foods and drinks must meet to be considered kosher.
Moreover, if you are planning to make specific kosher food, then it is best to refer a rabbi so that you can follow all the rules and regulations.
Kosher food examples
Now that you know what is kosher food let’s move to see what kind of foods falls under the category.
Rules and regulation for animal products
A lot of animal-based foods are included in kosher food. However, there is a certain way they have to be slaughtered and cooked.
Also, the diary is strictly prohibited in this law and should be avoided and should not be prepared with animal products.
Eggs and fish are regarded as pareve, and they have their own rules too.
Meat – Fleishig
In kosher, “meat” is mainly regarded as the edible flesh of some mammals and birds and the products derived from them, such as bones, fray, and broth.
In the list below are the rules which should be followed to make the meat kosher.
– The meat must be from the herbivorous mammals with split or cloven or hooves. Some of the examples are goats, deer, cow, lambs, oxen, and sheep.
– The only way the meat should be cut is from the forequarters of the kosher herbivorous mammals.
– Some domesticated birds fall under the law, such as chicken, dove, turkey, quail, and geese.
– While slaughtering the animals, the person should be a shochet. They are a trained person and is certified to butcher any animals according to the laws.
– Before preparing the meat, it should be soaked in water so that all traces of blood are removed.
All the dishes used for slaughtering, preparing, and cooking the meat have to be kosher, and they should only be used to make meat or any other meat-derived products.
List of meats that do not fall under kosher:
– Meat from rabbits, camels, horses, pigs, kangaroos, and squirrels.
– Hunter or predator birds like owls, hawks, eagles, and gulls.
– Beef cuts from hindquarters such as shank, flank, round, sirloin, and short loin should be avoided.
Dairy – Milchig
Some dairy products like milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese are allowed in a kosher diet. However, some rules must be followed for dairy products to consider kosher:
– The products must be from a kosher animal.
– You should not mix them with meat-based by-products, such as rennet (an enzyme derived from animals) or gelatine. Most of the processed cheese and hard cheese have one of these two components.
– Must be made and prepared using kosher dishes. Also, you should not use those dishes to make any meat products.
Eggs and Fish – Pareve
Even though both eggs and fish have separate rules, they fall under the pareve, which means they do not have any meat or milk.
Moreover, fishes are only considered kosher when they have scales and fins such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, and halibut.
Water-dwell creatures who do not have these physical structures are not regarded as kosher, such as lobster, crab, lobster, oysters, and shellfishes.
Fishes do not need different equipment to make them, unlike meat. Also, they can be consumed with dairy products and meat.
Eggs are allowed if they come from kosher fish or birds, and they do not have any blood in them. It means each egg should be inspected individually.
Just like fish, eggs can be consumed with dairy products and meat.
Rules and regulation for plant-based foods
Plant-based products are also considered parve like eggs and fish, that’s mean they do not have any dairy or meat in them. Also, you can eat it with those foods.
Even though the rules are less restrictive than animal products, these foods have their laws, mainly their processing part.
Bread and Grains
Grains and foods derived from grains fall under kosher. But they should be in their purest form. Some processed techniques grains are not considered kosher.
Moreover, bread might not be considered kosher mainly cause of the equipment used to process the bread and the ingredients used in it.
Also, oils and shortening are used in bread very often. However, if the shortening is animal-based, then the bread is not kosher.
Additionally, the pot or equipment you are using should not cook any dairy or meat products. Also, they shouldn’t be greased with animal-based fats. The bread should be cooked in a different utensil; otherwise, it won’t be considered kosher.
Most of the time, these processed methods are not mentioned on the ingredient list. Hence while buying grain or bread, they should have kosher certification to make sure they have followed all the guidelines.
Vegetables and Fruits
If they are not processed, then all of them are kosher food. But bugs are not considered kosher hence fresh vegetables and fruits must be checked if there are any insect bites or are present in them.
Also, if processed using equipment that also processed meat and dairy, then the vegetables and fruits are not considered kosher.
Oils, seeds, and nuts
Oils, seeds, and nuts are considered kosher. But, most of the time, during processing, these foods become non-kosher. If the equipment used is also used for meat and dairy products, they won’t be considered kosher anymore.
Most seed oils and vegetables undergo a lot of steps before they can be edible for us. For them to be kosher, each of the steps must be inspected closely and to make sure they follow the kosher guidelines.
Hence, if you want kosher-certified oils, then check for the kosher certification at the back of the labels.
Like other foods, wine must be made from kosher equipment, and the ingredient should be kosher. This means all the tools used to yield the grapes must be kosher.
Also, wine is an essential beverage for various Jewish occasions. Thus the rules are much stricter.
Furthermore, the production of wine has to be supervised by some who are Jewish. Or else, it won’t be considered kosher.
Different rules applied for Passover
At the time of religious holiday Passover, stricter rules are applied. Although there are variations during the time of holidays, leavened (made with yeast) grains are prohibited.
Some foods are called “chametz,” and they have the following grains:
Furthermore, some of the grains might be allowed as long as these grains do have any contact with moisture for more than 18 minutes and do not have any leavening agents like yeast.
One example is matzo, which is unleavened bread. It is considered kosher even though it is made from wheat.
Food combinations that are strictly prohibited
The main food pairing that should be avoided is meat and dairy. Moreover, kosher food has three main categories: fleishig (meat), milchig (dairy), and pareve (plant-based).
According to rules, any food that is considered meat should never be eaten or kept at the same table simultaneously as dairy products.
Also, the utensils must be kept separate even when you are washing them, and you have to do that separately.
If you are consuming any meat, you have to wait for some time to eat dairy products. However, the time length varies from different customs, mainly between one and seven hours.
Some people do eat pareve foods which are neutral with meat and dairy. But it is a very controversial topic among Jewish people.
Furthermore, if the pareve foods are processed and cooked using tools that are used for meat and dairy, then they will be considered as dairy, meat, or non-kosher.
What is Kosher Food Certification?
There are few indications on the certificates if they have kosher certification:
– “K” sign means it is kosher certified. Also, if the “K” is inside a circle, that means the organization’s food is approved as kosher.
– If there is “D” after “K,” that means it is a dairy product, or the equipment used is also used for dairy products. The rules are applied when someone eats the item. For instance, a person cannot eat dairy with meat.
– After these symbols, if there is a word “parve” or “pareve,” that means it is neutral (not meat or dairy) but is kosher. Sometimes it is denoted by “U,” which means the same.
– “P” sign means the item is kosher but is a Jewish holiday Passover. These foods have their laws and rules.
What are the health benefits?
Most Jewish people do kosher because it is said in Torah and not for any health benefits. However, kosher certification on foods means they have gone under strict check-up before packaging. Hence, it is most beneficial for people who have food allergies.
Also, people who are vegetarian or vegan will appreciate kosher labels. The labels shared if the equipment used is also used for any non-vegetarian or dairy products.
In the article, we talked about what is kosher food and how that food is prepared, processed, and consumed. Although variations exist, the rules do not allow pairing dairy and meat together and allow some animals to consume.
However, other foods are primarily accepted in the law, but they need to use kosher utensils and practices. There might be more rules during any religious events.
Since in modern times a lot of different variety of foods are available. So, it might be difficult for you to know what kosher food is. Hence, to avoid any mistakes, look at the labels for kosher certification.