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Tanakh and Talmud
Kosher Food

What are the kosher rules?


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October 02, 2017 7:00PM

There are many rules, but these are the highlights:

Meat and milk are not allowed to be prepared or eaten together.

Fish and meat is not cooked together or eaten on the same plate.

For meat: Only animals that have split hooves and chew their cud are kosher. Only milk from a kosher animal may be eaten (as opposed to milk from not kosher animals). All animals must be ritually slaughtered, and some parts of the animal (even if it is kosher) may not be eaten.

For birds: The bird must not be a scavenger or a predator, and must have a local tradition as a food animal

For fish: must have fins and scales

For insects: Although there are several species of kosher locusts, the species names are lost, so most Jews will not eat locusts. Other insects are forbidden.

All utensils must be ritually clean, and only used for kosher items, and no meat utensils with milk and vice-versa.

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October 02, 2017 6:59PM

In order to be kosher, food has to be prepared according to the kosher-laws (see Deuteronomy ch.14). These are explained in detail in the Talmud-volume of Chullin.
* Meat must be from those land animals which have split hooves and chew their cud (such as beef, venison and mutton).
Fish have to have scales and fins. Shellfish are not kosher.
Birds cannot be among those listed as forbidden in the Torah (Deuteronomy ch.14) and cannot be hunters/scavengers. In actual practice, today we eat only those species concerning which we have a tradition that they're permitted, such as domestic chicken, geese, pigeons and turkey.

* Animals must be slaughtered in the manner specified by Jewish law and must be free of all disease. In actual practice, those who keep kosher purchase meat which is certified as having been prepared in the kosher manner.
As much blood as possible must be removed from meat before cooking, since consumption of blood is forbidden (Leviticus ch.17). This is done at home or by the kosher butcher, through salting, soaking and rinsing.

* Dairy and meat cannot be combined in the same meal and there's a waiting period between eating one and then the other. After dairy: 1/2 hour. After meat: 6 hours for most Jewish communities.

* Fruits and vegetables should be checked to be sure they're free of bugs. Some Jews avoid cauliflower, asparagus, and the like, because of the difficulty in checking them.

Additionally, food must be prepared and handled following kashrut-laws and with kosher ingredients only. Processed foods should be labeled as having had kosher supervision during their processing. Any food that does not meet these requirements cannot be eaten by those who are religiously observant Jews.

See also the Related Links.

Link: Could you give me a list of kosher and non-kosher types of fish?

Link: Why do some Jews not keep kosher?

Link: The use of rennet