It is fascinating how the culture of each people directly influences their diet. Jews, for example, more than a diet, follow a lifestyle through Kosher food.
With a rich menu, however, following the traditional rules, the Kosher diet is gaining more followers daily. Full of benefits and delicious, it is worth becoming part of our daily recipes. In the United States, only 20% of consumers of Kosher products are Jewish, and consumption is growing daily.
What does Kosher mean?
Kosher in Hebrew means fit or suitable and refers to all those foods that can help provide physical and spiritual well-being. This diet follows the guidelines of the Kashrut. The Jewish dietary laws are included in the book Leviticus, which explains to its practitioners which foods they can consume and how they should do it.
There are two reasons why it has more and more followers: on the one hand, it is a healthy diet since it does not include saturated fats in the diet, and on the other hand, its respect towards animals.
Animals are slaughtered with the utmost respect and consideration to suffer as little as possible, and their death is quick and painless. After its death, the animal must be taken to an expert butcher to be bled since it is forbidden to consume blood.
Guidelines governing the kosher diet
- Only certain animal products are permitted
A large part of the kosher rules addresses foods of animal origin and how they are killed and prepared.
The term "meat" in the kosher context refers to the edible flesh of certain types of mammals and birds and its derivatives, such as broth, gravy, or bones.
Jewish law states that for meat to be considered kosher, it must meet the following criteria:
- It must come from ruminant animals with cloven hooves.
- The only permitted meat cuts come from the kosher ruminant animals' forequarters.
- Particular domestic fowl may be eaten, such as chickens, geese, quail, pigeons, and turkeys.
- There is a trained and certified person (shochet) to slaughter animals.
- Meat must be soaked to remove any traces of blood before cooking.
- All utensils used for slaughtering or preparing meat must be kosher and designed exclusively for use with meat and meat products.
The following types of meat and meat products are not considered kosher:
- Meat from pigs, rabbits, squirrels, camels, kangaroos, or horses.
- Predatory or scavenging birds, such as eagles, owls, gulls, and hawks.
- Cuts of meat come from the animal's hindquarters, such as flank, short loin, sirloin, round, and shank.
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt, are permitted, although they must meet specific rules to be considered kosher:
- They must come from a qualified animal.
- They must never be mixed with meat-based derivatives like hard or processed cheeses, such as gelatin or rennet.
- They must also be prepared using kosher utensils and equipment that have not previously been used to process any meat-based products.
Fish and Eggs (Pareve)
Although each has its rules, fish and eggs are classified as pareve or neutral, meaning they contain no milk or meat.
Fish is only considered kosher if it comes from an animal with fins and scales, such as tuna, salmon, halibut, or mackerel.
Aquatic creatures that do not have these physical characteristics are prohibited, such as shrimp, crabs, oysters, lobsters, and other types of shellfish.
Eggs from kosher poultry or fish are permitted if there is no blood in them. This means that each egg must be inspected individually. Like fish, eggs may be eaten together with meat or dairy products.
- Rules for plant foods
Like fish and eggs, plant foods are considered pareve or neutral, meaning they can be eaten with any food group.
Grains and Bread
In their purest form, grains and grain-based foods are considered kosher. However, specific processing methods may ultimately deem them non-kosher.
It is common for some bread to contain oils or shortening. If animal-based shortening is used, the bread may not be considered kosher.
In addition, if the equipment is greased with animal-based fats or used to cook meats or dairy, the final product is no longer kosher. Such processing is not disclosed on a nutrition label, so it must be certified kosher to ensure it meets all guidelines.
Fruits and Vegetables
Like grains, fruits and vegetables are kosher in their unprocessed form. However, because insects are not kosher, fresh fruits and vegetables must be inspected for the presence of insects or larvae before sale or consumption.
In addition, fruit and vegetable products are produced with equipment that is not kosher, such as anything that processes milk and meat.
Nuts, Seeds, and Oils
Generally, nuts, seeds, and oils derived from them are kosher.
Many vegetable and seed oils undergo several complicated steps before they are considered edible, which must be monitored to ensure compliance with kosher guidelines. Therefore, to ensure that the oils you are using are kosher, it is best to check the label for certification.
To be considered kosher, wine must be produced using specific elements, including tools used to harvest and ferment the grapes.
However, stricter rules are imposed because wine is essential for many Jewish religious occasions. Therefore, the entire kosher wine production process must be carried out and supervised by observant Jews.
- Rules that apply during Passover
Additional kosher dietary restrictions apply during the religious holiday of Passover.
Although there are some variations in adherence to Passover dietary guidelines, all leavened grain products are traditionally prohibited. Such foods are collectively known as "chametz" and include the following grains:
- Spelt wheat
Some of these grains are permissible if they have not been in contact with moisture for more than 18 minutes and if they do not contain any additional leavening agents, such as yeast. This is why matzo, an unleavened flatbread, is not considered jametz, even though it is traditionally made from wheat.
How do you know if food is kosher?
Kosher foods have a label with a circled K on their packaging, indicating that they have met all the requirements for certification. Therefore, if you are trying to implement a kosher diet, it is best to choose only foods with this label.
Kosher certification is considered a seal of quality that guarantees that a product is made with the best products. Because of this, many people, who do not necessarily belong to the Jewish religion, choose to buy this type of food since they perceive them as a cleaner, better prepared, and healthier.
According to Food Industry data, the most significant number of purchasers of Kosher products are not Jewish!
Benefits of the Kosher foods
From a nutritional standpoint, there are no differences from traditional foods. Still, the real benefits are directly related to health, trust, and safety due to the strict standards imposed to approve foods for sale. Here are some of them:
1. Healthier food
When a company seeks a Kosher certificate on its label, it has to agree to surprise visits from a Kosher authority. In addition, it must adhere to the rules, without exception, even accepting that the establishment will be constantly overhauled. This obliges the company to keep its facilities clean and risk losing the certification.
2. Superior food quality
Before slaughter, the animals are selected by an authority, who discards animals with any sign of disease, fractures, or injuries. In addition, all Kosher meat is salted before being offered for sale. This also reduces the proliferation of microorganisms. Therefore, there will not be contamination by fecal coliforms in Kosher food.
One of the main reasons for the surge in the sale of Kosher food is directly related to reliability. According to a report by Mintel (a U.S. market research company), 62% of consumers believe that its quality is better, while 51% trust its wholesomeness. All this is due to the strict Kosher criteria for food approval.
In addition, according to the Mintel report, Kosher foods are believed to be more natural, organic, and have fewer preservatives. As a result, even vegans and vegetarians are fond of this type of food, as they know there will be no trace of mixed and hidden meats in the preparation but absent on the label. In addition, lactose intolerant people also buy Kosher food without fear, knowing there is no milk and derivatives in its preparation.
Our chocolates are certified organic, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free. No refined sugars are used in their preparation, and everything is processed in a Top 14 Allergen/Nut Free facility, except that we use coconut. In this way, we guarantee that they can be consumed with total peace of mind and confidence that they are made with the highest quality ingredients.
At Righteous Cacao, we offer a wide variety of chocolates so that people can enjoy their delicious flavor in various presentations. Furthermore, as a brand with Kosher products, we aim to help people delightfully improve their healthy lifestyles.
We invite you to visit our online store to see all our certified Kosher chocolates. With Righteous Cacao, you can have a healthier and happier life!