Kosher foods may be a staple in the Jewish diet, but they’re not the only ones eating these products.In the United States, more than 12 million people shop at the grocery store, according to the Orthodox Union, a kosher certification body. I choose kosher foods when shopping. It’s a huge industry, with these products generating more than $12 billion in annual sales.
These numbers are surprising given that fewer than 5 million Americans identify as Jewish, according to a Brandeis University report (PDF). And even fewer are observant and kosher abiding.
what to give “Some consumers perceive products to be cleaner or healthier,” said Dr. Mindy Haar, chair of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York. say.
But is it? Here, we explore what it means to stay kosher, how to identify which products are kosher, and whether there are health benefits to eating this way.
What does it mean to be kosher?
Kosher foods follow the Jewish diet, according to Texas A&M University. “The word kosher is Hebrew and literally means ‘fit or suitable,'” Dr. Haar says. “Those who follow these laws believe they were given by God in the Torah Bible, which was detailed and explained by rabbinic leaders in the first to fourth centuries.”
According to Britannica, kosher observance is observed in Orthodox Judaism because it is sacred, but it is not mandatory for Reform Jews to observe kosher in their daily lives.
The laws regarding eating kosher are extensive, but most commonly summarized as follows:
- You can’t eat dairy and meat together because you don’t mix meat and milk. “You have to wait a certain amount of time after eating meat before consuming dairy,” Haar says. “This takes him three hours to he six, depending on habits.” This means the food has no poultry, meat, or dairy derivatives.
- Do not use crustaceans, as fish must have fins and scales to be certified as kosher.
- No pork, as all mammals consumed must ruminate and have split legs.
- Beef and poultry are permitted if properly slaughtered and bled by a trained butcher.
- The meat must have been salted to draw out the blood.
- Wine is prepared under observation and can be consumed if not handled by non-Jews. “Because of its sacred significance, grape products should be supervised from start to finish,” Haar said, adding that this is generally only practiced by the ultra-Orthodox.
- The cheese must be certified as kosher, as some cheeses may use rennet from sources other than kosher as a coagulant.
Kosher also applies to how food is prepared. “Separate ovens, utensils, sinks and cutting boards are used to prepare kosher food,” Haar says.
How to Identify Kosher Foods Based on Food Labels
Not all kosher foods are certified and labeled. For example, fruits and vegetables are kosher but do not require certification. But for packaged goods, it’s easy to find kosher certification on food labels. Haar says it’s in all kinds of foods, including cereals, breads, sauces, condiments and bakery products.
“There are two variables that determine if a food is kosher: the source of the ingredients and the condition of the manufacturing equipment,” says Haar. “Kosher certification ensures that a food meets kosher requirements for both variables.”
There are many certification companies such as OU Kosher, Star-K and KOF-K. You may also see foods with the K symbol. This means the manufacturer considers the food to be kosher but has not been formally tested, Haar said.
The certification process requires third-party approval. “Kosher certification requires regular unannounced visits by inspectors, the use of kosher materials and equipment, the adherence to basic hygiene practices, and the absence of cross-contamination between meat and dairy products. That includes making sure all produce has been washed and is free of bugs and worms,” Haar says.
The health of eating kosher
People who eat this way are said to follow a kosher diet, but that’s not a diet in the weight loss sense. “It’s not a diet in the typical sense, so it’s not considered healthy or unhealthy,” says environmental health expert and consultant at Balance One Supplements (a company that sells supplements). says Trista Best, RD, MPH.Dalton, Georgia. After all, the purpose of eating kosher food is to comply with Jewish law, not necessarily to eat the healthiest and most nutritious foods. Many consumers seem confused about this, but according to a Mintel report, more than half of those who buy kosher do so because they believe it is healthier. That’s it.
Sure, a kosher diet eliminates unhealthy foods like cheese-layered burritos and decadent lasagna. “You can avoid eating meat and dairy together,” says Best. This can potentially reduce your intake of high-fat and cholesterol-increasing foods, but you can still eat them separately. Some eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, while others eat kosher-certified packaged foods. Both diets may be kosher, but they are not comparable when it comes to nutrition.
Eating kosher foods is helpful for people with food sensitivities, such as those who are lactose intolerant. Because you can look for the kosher symbol and the word “pareve” on the label to know that the product does not contain dairy or meat.
Kosher recipes you can make at home
Curious about a new kosher dish? Here are links to blogger recipes for some kosher holiday dishes. Keep in mind that these recipes are reserved for special occasions, so you may be spoiled for choice than what you would normally eat.
Pineapple Raisin Noodle Kugel
Sweet egg noodle kugel is a staple of Jewish holidays. This one from Tori Avey stands out because it incorporates pineapple and raisins in the base, topped with cinnamon sugar and Graham his cracker crust. All ingredients involved are kosher, and unless meat is served, the meal is left as-is.
Roasted lamb with pomegranate and wine
To keep this roast lamb dish kosher-free, make sure the lamb you buy is labeled kosher. That means properly slaughtered and properly salted. Topped with pomegranate Syrah sauce perfect for winter vacation.
glazed roasted carrots and black lentils
This recipe from May I Have That Recipe has a long list of ingredients, but you can trust the end result.
Bonus: This recipe is also kosher and vegan.
Serve What Jew Wanna Eat sweet kosher bread on Jewish holidays or just because. This recipe calls for more yolks than most, giving it a notch of richness. Bread takes time. Before the dough is ready to be knitted, prepare it for fermentation by kneading it for several hours.
What is a Jewish holiday without brisket? Rebekah Lowin’s family recipe calls for only four ingredients: brisket, beef stock, Lipton onion soup mix, and carrots. Choose kosher brisket and choose first or second cut for extra tenderness.
Conclusion on kosher food
Kosher food isn’t always healthy, but it’s important to follow the rules when observing Jewish law or attending Jewish holidays.