What You Should Know About Kosher Meals
Many people including non-Jews are taking kosher foods since they look at them as more nutritious and cleaner. But is this true?
What is a kosher diet?
Kosher foods could be a staple in the diets of Jews; however, they aren’t the only ones consuming these products. Orthodox Union, a kosher certification firm says that 12+ million people in the US shop for kosher foods. These figures are surprising considering that less than 5 million American adults are Jews as per a report from Brandeis University. Even more, only a few are observant and take kosher.
This trend is because many perceive the products as cleaner or more wholesome, but is this so? Read on for more.
What is the meaning of being kosher?
The kosher diet is that that obeys Jewish dietary laws. The term kosher is Hebrew and means ‘proper or fit’. People who follow these rules believe that God gave them in the Bible-Torah with clarifications and details added by rabbinical leaders during the 1st -4th centuries.
Orthodox Judaism keeps kosher so as to be holy, but it’s not mandatory for reform Jews to observe kosher in their day-to-day life.
The laws of taking kosher foods are extensive, but most normally boil down to the following:
No mixing milk and meat, implying meat and dairy can’t be taken together. One should wait for some time after taking meat before eating dairy. Depending on the tradition, this can range between three and six hours. This implies there are no byproducts of dairy, meat, or poultry in the food.
No shellfish because fish must have scales and fins to qualify as kosher.
No pork, since all mammals eaten must have cloven feet and chew cud.
Poultry and beef are permitted if the animal was correctly slaughtered by a skilled butcher and drained of blood.
Meat ought to have been salted to eliminate blood.
Wine can be taken if it has been made under observation and hasn’t been handled by non-Jews.
Cheese must be licensed kosher since some cheese might apply rennet from non-kosher sources as a coagulant.
Kosher also applies to how food is prepared. Separate utensils, cutting boards, sinks, and ovens are utilized in preparing kosher foods.
Tips for identifying kosher foods based on labels
Not all kosher foods are certified and labelled. For example, vegetables and fruits are kosher but don’t require certification. However, for packaged products, it is simple to identify a kosher certification on the label. You can see them on all kinds of foods – condiments, bakery goods, cereals, and sauces are some examples.
There are two variables in establishing if a food is kosher or not: the condition of the production equipment and the source of the ingredients. Kosher certification assures that the food fulfils kosher requirements for the two variables.
There are several certification companies including Star-K, KOF-K, and OU Kosher. You might also find a food with the K emblem, implying the manufacturer considers it kosher but it hasn’t been formally inspected.
The certification process needs third-party approval. Kosher certification entails having an assessor come on regular, impromptu visits to verify that kosher equipment and ingredients are utilized, basic aseptic practices are followed, there hasn’t been cross-contamination between dairy foods, and that every produce is cleaned and is free of worms and insects.