What Are the Best Tips for Creating a Kosher Food Menu?

Dee Jones

When creating a kosher food menu, it is important to know the rules and regulations that make up Jewish dietary law. Food does not have to be blessed to be considered kosher, but kosher foods must come from specific sources, must be produced in specific ways, and must be prepared for eating following certain strict guidelines. Kosher meat only comes from animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves. While seafood that has fins, like tuna and salmon, is considered kosher, shellfish such as lobster are not. Eggs that contain blood, and hybridized fruits and vegetables, should not be served to someone on a kosher diet.

Eggs should be examined carefully for blood before being used in a kosher meal.
Eggs should be examined carefully for blood before being used in a kosher meal.

Understanding which meats may be served as part of a kosher meal will be a major consideration when creating a kosher food menu. In order to be considered kosher, meat must come from cloven-hooved animals that chew their cuds. While meat from cows, goats, and lamb is considered kosher, meat from pigs isn’t kosher because, while pigs have cloven hooves, they don’t chew cud. The animal must also be slaughtered by a Schochet, a ritual slaughterer who kills the animal in a way that doesn’t cause it any pain. Milk and dairy products must come from kosher animals, and meat and dairy products should never be served together.

Matzo crackers, a type of kosher food.
Matzo crackers, a type of kosher food.

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Traditionally, chicken, goose, turkey, and duck have been considered kosher, and can be included as part of a kosher food menu. The eggs from these birds are also considered kosher under most circumstances, but the blood sometimes found in the eggs is not kosher. So, when using eggs as an ingredient in kosher cooking, each egg must be examined individually for blood. If blood is found in the egg, it should not be used.

Duck can feature on a kosher menu.
Duck can feature on a kosher menu.

Almost any fruit, vegetable, or grain that is grown from the soil or picked from a plant is considered kosher. The exception is the hybridized produce that is increasingly popular today. If a fruit or vegetable was created by combining two other fruits or vegetables, it is not considered kosher, and shouldn’t be part of a kosher food menu.

Turkey is kosher.
Turkey is kosher.

Creatures that have many legs, like the insects that can sometimes infest fruits and vegetables, are not considered kosher. So, when preparing a kosher food menu, thoroughly inspect any produce for bugs, making sure all insects have been removed from the food item. If there are any doubts about whether all of the insects have been removed, the produce shouldn’t be used.

Cows and other cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing animals are kosher.
Cows and other cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing animals are kosher.
Pigs are not considered kosher.
Pigs are not considered kosher.

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