What are the Different Types of Kosher Food?

Sheri Cyprus

There are many different types of kashrut or kosher food, since, according to Judaic law, at least some foods are allowed in each of the four main nutritional groups. Meats, dairy, produce and breads are all permissible, yet within these groups are specific allowable types and exact preparation restrictions. Kashrut dietary laws are complicated, and when a food is questionable, a rabbi is often sought out for the answer as to whether it's allowed to be eaten.

Sheep are considered to be kosher.
Sheep are considered to be kosher.

Some non-Jewish people prefer to eat kosher meats rather than factory farm or other meat since the animal is killed as painlessly as possible. This meat is produced from animals that are slaughtered by cutting the neck with a very sharp knife so that death is instant and therefore as painless as possible. The meat must be inspected to be sure that the internal organs weren't punctured. Organ meats and blood are not eaten.

Deer can be kosher.
Deer can be kosher.

Only animals with cloven hooves such as the cow, sheep, deer and bison are used for kosher meat. Poultry such as chicken, turkey, goose and duck are also acceptable. Eggs are allowed if they're from kosher poultry. Fish with fins and scales are acceptable, but shellfish isn't. Meat and fish served together are not considered kosher.

Ducks are considered to be kosher.
Ducks are considered to be kosher.

Noticeable scales are an important factor in choosing kosher fish. The scales should be able to be removed without causing damage to the skin. Lox, or smoked fish served in Jewish delicatessens, already has the skin and scales removed; it’s usually inspected by a rabbi to acknowledge it as kosher food.

Turkey is kosher.
Turkey is kosher.

Dairy foods such as milk and cheese can be eaten as kosher food. However, dairy foods must not be consumed with meat — either alongside or cooked with it. Some rabbis instruct that milk products not be eaten for at least six hours after a meal containing meat. Orthodox Jews use separate sets of dishes for meat and milk products.

Cows and other cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing animals are kosher.
Cows and other cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing animals are kosher.

Many packaged foods sold in mainstream grocery stores aren't kosher unless they're labeled as such. Particular foods or ingredients could be kosher, but the equipment used to prepare it might not be. Even canned or frozen fruits and vegetables as well as breads must be approved. Oil, gelatin, flavors and colors may be made from non-kosher products and require investigation by a rabbi. For instance, carmine, commonly used in red food coloring for some candies and yogurt, is made from insects so it’s not kosher.

Pigs are not considered kosher.
Pigs are not considered kosher.
Bison meat, which is kosher.
Bison meat, which is kosher.
Lox, and other smoked fish are considered kosher, although shellfish are not.
Lox, and other smoked fish are considered kosher, although shellfish are not.
A rabbi might be sought to determine whether a food is kosher.
A rabbi might be sought to determine whether a food is kosher.
According to kosher dietary law, dairy should be kept separate from meat.
According to kosher dietary law, dairy should be kept separate from meat.
Bison have hooves, and thus can be kosher.
Bison have hooves, and thus can be kosher.

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Discussion Comments

anon138839

Re: "Some non-Jewish people prefer to eat kosher meats..."

This is, sadly, not true. Look up Kosher meat and factory farming; as long as the meat is kept clean, the health and welfare of the animal can be no different than that of one raised and slaughtered for non-Kosher trade.

If those farms keep to Kosher standards, and otherwise do not factor in the welfare of the animal in the ways we cite as inhumane, the meat is still deemed Kosher.

gameaddicted

@babyksay - I agree with your last remark. I like the fact that you can find answers without leaving your home, however, buying Kosher food online is probably something you don't want to do unless you KNOW where it's coming from. There are certain risks involved when ordering or purchasing things online and you shouldn't discount your common sense nor your gut instincts.

babyksay

This article provides a lot of information I think anyone who isn't involved with a Kosher diet should know. There are even ways to get Kosher food gifts for people in your life that might have those dietary restrictions or requirements. It's great to be in such a diverse world that you can find whatever you need online.

empanadas

@doppler - I agree that there is a lot of misconception about Jewish religion and the Kosher diet. There are a lot of great Kosher food recipes out there that people aren't even aware of. The funny thing is - people might be eating Kosher and not even know it! It is so much more than having a healthy diet, it involves religious beliefs and the importance of choosing food carefully to follow along with those beliefs.

doppler

The most commonly advertised Kosher food delivery is that of the meal options on airplanes. It really is a shame because many people should be more aware of what Kosher really is. Eating Kosher might seem like you are under a lot of rules and such, but it's no more constricting that dieting or becoming a vegan, vegetarian, or even an all meat eater. This article outlines some very important aspects of Kosher living and eating and it's good a good insight.

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