The term Kosher is derived from the Hebrew word kashér which means fit. Essentially, kosher food and utensils are those that are “fit” to consume and to use under the regulations of Jewish law. The term kosher is applied to both the utensils used in cooking the food and the type of food used for consumption.
For something to be kosher it must meet the strict guidelines of Jewish law in terms of preparation and type. The origins of preparation of kosher food can be found in the ancient texts such as the Deuteronomy and Leviticus. These show the beginning of the ritual for preparing kosher food. So, how exactly is it prepared? What are the specifications and ritual behind this term?
Kosher and Non-Kosher Food
There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing kosher food. Kosher meat includes things like the meat from cattle and the food product derived from animals, such as milk and eggs must come from a kosher animal in order to be so itself. Non-kosher meat includes pork and any seafood that doesn’t have both fins and scales. For example, lobster, crab, shrimp, these are considered non-kosher.
As stated above, milk is considered kosher, if it comes from an animal considered so as well. But, cheese and other dairy products may be non-kosher because there are additives used in the process that are considered such. Utensils are kosher as long as they have not been used in the preparation of non-kosher food. As far as ritual preparation there is one main point.
Meat cannot be consumed unless it has been harvested from animals that “chew the cud” and have “cloven hooves”. Additionally, the kosher animals are sheep, cows, and goats while poultry is duck, chicken, turkey, pigeon and geese. These are slaughtered and all blood removed, adhering as per the strict regulations of the kosher law. If it has died of natural causes or been killed by another animal, then it is unfit for consumption.
Jewish law dictates that the animal must be killed by a single cut across the throat. This must be done at a certain depth at a certain point of the neck. This is usually done by someone with experience in the subject and by using a specific type of knife. Even this person who does the slaughtering must meet strict guidelines. He must be a devout Jew, someone who is pious and dedicated to the teaching of the religion. He must not have any flaws to his characters that would make him in fact non-kosher.
Anyone who is attempting to sell kosher foods must be certified. They must meet specific guidelines in order to do so and while a store may be certified to sell kosher foods that does not mean they are certified to prepare them for sale. In most cases, the person that prepares the food for sale has to be devout Jew.
He will have had years of training and will have passed inspection from the elders who will deem him capable of being what is referred to as a shochet. Don’t think that this limits what can be eaten either. Despite the many rules surrounding the preparation of kosher meals, there are a wide variety of them available for consumption. Get more info from experts like Earth Kosher.