Submit a Kosher Food Store
Kosher Foods in-depth
How Kosher Meat is Prepared
How Kosher Seafood is Prepared
How Kosher Birds is Prepared
How Kosher Slaughter is Prepared
How Kosher Gelatin is Prepared
How Kosher Insects is Prepared
How Kosher Dairy and Cheese is Prepared
How Kosher Produce is Prepared
How Kosher Grains and Cereals are Prepared
How Kosher Eggs are Prepared
How Kosher Canned and Frozen Foods are Prepared
How Kosher Wine and Grape Products are Prepared
Basic information - A crash course for kosher foods.
Official Definition: Kosher or Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) refers to Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed kosher in English, from the Hebrew term kashér, meaning "fit" (in this context, fit for consumption by Jews according to traditional Jewish law). Jews may not consume non-kosher food (but there are no restrictions for non-dietary use, for example, injection of insulin of porcine origin).
All foods which do not fall into the categories of meat or dairy are considered parve, and can be consumed freely with either meat or dairy. This includes all fruits and vegetables and foods derived exclusively from such sources; salt and other non-organic foodstuffs. Fish is considered parve, and may be eaten directly before or after both meat and milk, but see Seafood above. If parve food is cooked in a meat pot it may only be eaten with a meat meal, but there is no waiting time following; the same applies if it was cooked in a dairy pot.
It is a common misconception within many kosher households to allow drinking glasses to be used for both dairy and meat meals, as long as they are thoroughly washed. Since they are used with hot liquids, this is not the case.
There are varying views on how long to wait before consuming milk or dairy after the other. Traditionally, three distinct customs are observed regarding how long it is necessary to wait after eating meat before eating dairy foods again; most Eastern European communities wait six hours, German Jews wait three to five hours, and Dutch Jews wait 1 hour, if this custom has been passed down in their families.
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Milk products and meat products may not be eaten together in the same meal or cooked together. Jewish law thus mandates a set of 'fence' laws that prevent this from happening:
-Cooking meat and milk together is prohibited, even if the resulting dish is not eaten;
-Eating milk and meat together is prohibited even if they are not cooked together; and
-No benefit can be attained from such activity.
Note that in most current forms of Judaism (but not among all Karaites, Ethiopian Jews and some Persian Jewish communities), this even applies to the flesh of birds, not just mammals. Oservant Jewish homes maintain two sets of silverware, cookware, cups, and dishes. One is for milk (Yiddish milchig, Hebrew chalavi) dishes, and one is for meat (Yiddish fleishig or fleishedik, Hebrew basari) dishes. This prevents any trace of meat or dairy from being accidentally mixed. (Foods that contain neither milk nor meat are considered "neutral" -- Yiddish pareve, modern Hebrew parve).
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