Jewish Kosher Dietary Laws


Have you ever seen a kosher label in the grocery store and wondered what it meant? Two different brands of the same product sit side by side on a shelf, for some reason the one that is labeled kosher cost a little more. Well, there is a reason why kosher food is more pricey. The standards of quality for kosher foods is much greater than that of the average brand.

Kosher foods meet certain requirements laid out by Jewish law. The kosher regulations are derived from kashrut or Jewish dietary law. The religious law requires that Jewish people eat only kosher foods, that meet the kosher criteria. Kosher guidelines range from the type of meat, how the meat was slaughtered and also the specific preparation of certain food items. Of course, the exact details in interpretations of these laws can tend to vary depending on the particular religious community. However, the basic fundamentals are typically the same.

The Regulations relating to kosher meats

The regulations relating to kosher meats are perhaps the most detailed and strict of all the kosher food restrictions. People following a kosher diet can eat beef, fish, and poultry as long as they follow certain guidelines. The animals must have cloven hooves. The fish must have scales and fins. Additionally, the poultry must not be a bird of prey.

The animals that are to be labeled kosher must be slaughtered in a very specific manor, by a trained appointed individual. After they are slaughtered animals must be thoroughly examined to make certain they were in good health and bear no disease or medical condition.

The Preparation of Kosher Foods

The preparation of kosher foods is just as important as an element like any other. Utensils used in the preparation of kosher food must not ever have been used in the preparation of non-kosher foods. Preparation surfaces, machines, and appliances can’t have ever been used for non-kosher foods as well. Foods like wine and cheese must have actually been made by a Jewish person to be considered kosher. Serving milk and meat together is forbidden. You can’t cook milk and meat together or have milk and meat in the same meal to consider that meal kosher. Of course, the practice of this rule varies from location to location. Milk is generally considered kosher as are the softest cheeses. Eggs are considered kosher as long as they are collected from a kosher bird.

Basic kosher rules

Some other basic kosher rules relate to producing and grain. Produce regulations mainly apply to produce from Israel. Produce grown on a tree in Israel can not be consumed for the first three years of the trees’ planting and you are also forbidden to eat the harvest from the seventh year. Again, these rules apply only to produce grown in Israel.

Generally, fruits and vegetables are considered kosher as long as they are thoroughly checked for insects and washed. Grains also have certain guidelines that must be met to be considered kosher. Grains that are unprocessed are kosher. Items that are processed have the potential to be mixed with non-kosher ingredients, so they must bear a kosher seal to be considered kosher. Again, these rules vary in practice from location to location.

Generally, frozen and packaged foods are acceptable because little is usually added in processing and concerned individuals take care to read the ingredient labels. Naturally, in this day and age of convenience, many of these rules are hard to maintain on a daily basis. Many people observe a kosher diet daily for religious reasons. However, others like the writer, simply prefer the purity of kosher food and are willing to pay the extra money for that quality.

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