A non-Jew’s guide to keeping Kosher

All about keeping kosher and lists of what is necessary in order to be kosher. It also includes why it may be better for the environment.

The post A non-Jew’s guide to keeping Kosher appeared first on Green Prophet.

picture of a kosher pizza restaurant

Have you ever walked into a grocery store and been confused about what was meant by the kosher aisle? What the symbol was on some food packaging that had a U with a circle around it? Today I will share with you what it means to be kosher and how to follow a kosher diet.

Keeping kosher is the practice of adhering to strict guidelines of dietary restrictions done by Jews for thousands of years. Most Jews that keep kosher are orthodox, however, Jews of all spectrums can keep kosher if they would like to. The Torah, which is the Hebrew bible of the five books of Moses, lists what it means to be kosher and how to do it. As Jews say, “to be pure, proper, or suitable for consumption” is a kosher diet. The Jewish word for being kosher is “Kashrut” which means to be fit, proper, and suitable for consumption”.

picture of the Torah

Kosher laws are the laws given by God to the Jewish people. One of which is that it is forbidden to mix meat products with dairy. For example, cheeseburgers are not kosher. Secondly, as Jews say, An animal is kosher if it has split hooves and chews its cud.

This means cow, lamb, and beef are all kosher. Pig is not kosher, so no bacon under Jewish law. Sea animals are kosher if they have fins and scales. This means flounder, cod, salmon, and whitefish are all kosher. Shrimp, clams, lobster, and crab are not kosher. Birds need to be non-predators, so chicken and turkey are deemed kosher under kosher rules.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it is important to thoroughly wash them because insects are not kosher (which also ensures a safe consumption of fruits and vegetables). Otherwise, all fruits and vegetables are kosher. Unless you live in Israel where the laws of shmita are observed.

It is also important that when preparing food all utensils used are not contaminated by non-kosher food items. So if a knife was used to cut a cheeseburger, that knife cannot be used to eat a kosher meal. In addition, kosher food cannot be cooked with non-kosher food. For this reason, there needs to be entirely separate dishes, pans, and utensils for kosher and non-kosher food.

Even when it comes to cleaning, there needs to be separate sponges to ensure there is no mixing. It is best that a kosher kitchen is kept as a kosher kitchen otherwise it is very difficult to ensure there is no mixing between kosher and non-kosher foods. Or, if you have a mixed household, you should have entirely separate cabinets that designate which pots, pans, utensils, etc. are kosher and which ones are non-kosher.

When it comes to packaged food, you need to make sure that the food item is labeled as kosher. There are different symbols that show that the food items have been verified and given a certification that it is safe to consume in a kosher diet. Some of these symbols include the OU (Orthodox Union), the OK (Organized Kashrut Laboratories), and the KSA (Kosher Supervision of America).

picture of the Orthodox Union logo

The Orthodox Union logo is seen on food packages that are certified kosher

The environmental benefit of keeping kosher

vegan junk food

A vegan burger makes it easy for all Jewish people to eat as long as there are no bugs in the meatless burger. Lab meat creates a new question. Is it meat?

Keeping kosher is better for the environment for a few reasons. Kosher laws skew what Jews are allowed to eat, leaving more room for fruits and vegetables. Although Jews can still eat meat (which is not great for the environment), they cannot eat meat and dairy together, so its own or the other. In addition, it eliminates certain products from the diet so it is closer to a vegan diet than a normal diet would be.

For example, kosher Jews cannot eat pork, which helps reduce their carbon footprint. “Your chances of being part of the sustainable movement by eating kosher is very likely,” says the Orthodox Union on keeping kosher. This is because some of the top kosher companies in the world have put sustainability measures at the top of their agenda.

Overall, the kosher diet is very important to Orthodox Jews and needs to be taken very seriously in the preparation of their food. Just like with any other religion, these practices need to be respected and recognized. Jews all over the world practice kosher diets, and it is very common to see kosher labels and certifications on food products and in restaurants.

The post A non-Jew’s guide to keeping Kosher appeared first on Green Prophet.

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