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Less Known Facts about Kosher Food

Updated on April 6, 2013

What is kosher food?

By definition, kosher food refers to those dietary products that comply with the Jewish laws.

The most widely known fact about kosher food refers to the compulsory separation between meat and dairy products. However, the complexity of kashrut principles goes much beyond this basic guideline.

You might find it surprising, but there are certain details about kosher food that even kashrut observant Jews ignore. Here are some of them:

photo courtesy of loop_oh at Flickr

More about Kosher Food

Books about Kosher Food

The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen
The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen

Written by the Kosher chef and restaurant owner Lévana Kirschenbaum, this book will help you boost your healthy cooking skills and will bring a whole new level of culinary talents into your kitchen.

According to Barbara M. Bibel from the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter "cooking from this book will help anyone who wants good, healthy kosher food enjoy a good meal."

 
Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients -Extraordinary Meals
Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients -Extraordinary Meals

The book's title says everything you need to know: if you follow the instructions and recipes provided by Leah Shapira, you will be able to cook extraordinary meals using ordinary ingredients.

 

1. The mulled wine tradition has Jewish origins

Did you know that the popular European tradition of drinking hot wine during the cold season finds its origins in the Jewish religion? Nowadays special techniques are used to produce kosher wine, but centuries ago the only way was to boil it. As many pub owners were Jews, they used to serve mulled wine to their Jewish clientele. The tradition spread to other spiritual groups, and it lost its religious connotation along the years.

Mulled Wine with Cinnamon Sticks by Winfried Heinze

Buy This Image at Allposters.com

2. Not all eggs are kosher

According to Jewish Dietary Laws, eggs are considered “parve” (non-meat non-diary) products. However, not all eggs fall under this category. Those containing even a small spot of blood cannot be used as the religious principles consider this thread of blood the incipient form of an embryo.

3. Kosher ingredients do not make a dish kosher

Most non-Jews believe that a dish made of kosher ingredients is necessarily kosher. This is a misconception as the whole cooking, frying, boiling or baking process must respect the kashrut principles. For instance, one must not use the same kitchen utensils, jars, pots or plates for meat and diary products. Moreover, washing the dishes in the same sink is not permitted. If you are dealing with Orthodox Jews, don't be surprised if they refuse to taste a dish that is not specifically labeled as kosher, even if all the ingredients comply with the kashrut rules.

Kosher Food - more than just Jewish cuisine

Learn more about Kosher dietary products - the fastest growing type of ethnic food in North America.

4. Cabbage and lettuce must be washed leaf by leaf in order to be considered kosher

Although there are no restrictions in this area, certain vegetables like cabbage and lettuce can lose their kosher status if their leaves are not washed one by one. This principle finds its origins in the interdiction of eating insects, which can accidentally be found between the leaves.

5. Flour must be passed through a dense sieve

Following the same principle, flour and similar products such as corn flour and rice have to be passed through a very dense sieve in order to eliminate any bugs or other animal residues. Silkscreen nets are preferred as the plastic or metal ones have larger holes.

In a Nutshell

These are just a few less known facts about kosher food and the Biblical explanations behind it. While observant Jews learn most of the kashrut principles during their education, those who don’t keep a kosher household might ignore certain rules.

Moreover, even if you belong to a different spiritual group, and you find yourself in the situation of attending kashrut observant Jewish guests, it is best to know what you are supposed to do. However, you should bear in mind that certain principles differ slightly from one Jewish community to another.

Do you know other interesting facts about kosher food? Share them with us!

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      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      And then there's 'Kosher for Pesach', which you could write another article about!

      Chag Sameach Pesach m'Yerushalayim!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      What a very interesting lens...although I am not Jewish (do have Jewish ancestors) I have always used some Kosher items for cooking and love mulled wine. I saw a program on TV about the many laws of kashrut...it makes sense for healthy clean eating, one must be very disciplined...Thank You for sharing!

      ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

    • sunworld lm profile image

      sunworld lm 4 years ago

      When I made aliyah and began vegetable gardening in Israel I encountered many laws of kashrut I was unfamiliar with back in America. I share my experience and new found knowledge on my website http://www.KosherGardening.com

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      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is interesting. I grew up in and Italian-Jewish neighborhood, but I never heard of some of these. I can't stand eggs with blood in them and thank you for the mulled wine.