About us - About Kosher / What is Kosher?
The term “Kosher” means “proper” or “fit”. It has nothing to do with any Rabbinical blessing. Kosher laws are based on principles set forth in the Bible with elucidation in Rabbinic literature such as the Talmud and the Code of Jewish Law.
All foods and their components and derivatives are divided into 4 categories:
- Pareve (Neutral)
- Non-Kosher: includes mixtures of Meat and Dairy, and mixtures of Meat and Fish.
These categories are explained below.
This includes animals that chew their cud (generally cattle and sheep) and have split hooves, and all species of poultry. Animals must be ritually slaughtered in a humane manner clearly described by the Sages as "Shechita".
Meat must be koshered (free of blood) before it can be prepared. Today many butchers perform this time-saving service for their customers. This involves soaking and salting. The consumer is advised to check this with the butcher to determine if the meat has been koshered.
There are two methods of koshering (preparing) meat:
- * Broiling meat - Rinse in cold water, sprinkle lightly with salt and place under an open flame or electric grid. Meat must be rinsed again after broiling.
- * Salting & Soaking - Soak meat or fowl in cool water for half an hour, in a special vessel. Remove, allow excess water to drip off. Salt on all sides and place on drain board for one hour. Completely rinse meat or fowl under clear running water and immerse in cold water.
NOTE: LIVER must be properly broiled and rinsed before use or further cooking. Liver sold by establishments is not always ready for use and must be kashered. Consult your rabbi for guidance on how to kosher liver properly.
Fowl must undergo Shechitah and inspection before the metal tag, kosher symbol (plombe) is attached to each bird. This seal of required ritual slaughter as well as a Kashruth Certificate, guarantee the observance of the Laws of Kashruth. The poultry dealer generally provides his customer with cleaned, drawn and sectioned birds.
This includes milk and all its derivatives. Even a very small amount of meat or dairy (or their derivative) in a product gives that product a “meat” or “dairy” status. Furthermore, food processed with heat on equipment previously used for a dairy product, acquires dairy status. Milk from a non-Kosher animal (e.g. pig, camel) is not kosher.
Everything Kosher that does not fall under the above two categories, i.e. neither meat nor dairy. Included under ‘pareve’ are eggs, plants, and kosher fish (with fins and scales).
While meat and dairy products and their derivatives may not be mixed or eaten together in any amount, ‘pareve’ (neutral) products can be mixed with either meat or dairy products.
Fish is an exception: it may not be mixed with meat.
There are two categories of non-Kosher:
A. Intrinsically non-Kosher
- All animals that do not chew their cud or those that do not have split hooves.
- Most birds outside of poultry.
- All animals that have not been slaughtered, soaked, salted and inspected according to Jewish Law.
- All shellfish.
- All insects.
- All grape derived products that have not been supervised by a Rabbi.
- All hard cheese products that have not been supervised by a Rabbi.
- All mixtures of meat and dairy ingredients and their derivatives.
- All mixtures of meat and fish.
B. Non-Kosher processing methods
This may apply to food and ingredients whose manufacture includes heat processing, i.e., spray-dried products, reacted flavors, production of fatty acids, canned foods, etc. If the equipment has been previously used for non-Kosher products, it renders any Kosher product non-Kosher. The Kosher product is viewed as absorbing the non-Kosher material from the walls of the vessels. However, if the equipment undergoes a special cleaning process called “Kosherisation” under supervision of a Rabbi, it can then be used for Kosher product
Passover, an eight-day festival in March/April each year, has an added restriction against the consumption of any food that contains ‘leaven’. In addition to the above restrictions, the following and their derivatives may not be used for Passover unless they have specific rabbinic certification for Passover:
- Legumes (soy, peanut, etc.)
(All products requiring Passover certification must be manufactured under Rabbinical supervision.)