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As an Orthodox Jew, you need to maintain kosher dietary laws in your kitchen. God commanded the children of Israel to follow these rules back in ancient times. In our modern setting of the 21st century, you can still adhere to these basic principles by building yourself a kosher and sanitary kitchen. From the separation of milk, meat, to blood removal, here is a how-to guide so you can learn what to do. The guide should serve you well, as it follows the rules in accordance with the Chabad organization.
What is Kosher?
Kosher is a Hebrew word of considerable importance to the Old Testament; it means “fit” and has connotations with the word “legit”. Certain basics of kosher must be adhered to at all times. It includes the following important principles:
- Certain species are acceptable to eat – pork and shellfish are not
- Meat and milk must never be mixed together
- Shechita refers to painless animal slaughter
- Fruits, vegetables, and grains are kosher
- Small traces of non-kosher make kosher foods non-kosher
There are various advantages to kosher foods. Not only do you avoid contaminants, but you also treat animals humanely. Most importantly, you abide by the Torah. Each of these examples is expanded on further below.
First, we should identify which animals are kosher. Mammals qualify under this category if they chew their cud and have split hooves. It means pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, and horses do not count. Kosher mammals include the following animals:
According to the Torah, 24 types of fowl are kosher, while the likes of reptiles, worms, and insects, are not. Meanwhile, kosher water creatures must contain both scales and fins. Salmon and tuna are kosher, but crabs, oysters, and lobsters, are not.
It is forbidden to consume blood from mammals and fowl. You must wait 72 hours after ethical and painless slaughter. From there, you must successfully drain the blood through a process that involves salting and soaking. For the sake of convenience, you can also buy kosher meat from a specialized store since they already remove any traces of blood. One key advantage is you avoid potential contamination from blood if you eat this type of meat.
Separation of Milk and Meat
You must make a careful distinction between meat and dairy products since they cannot be mixed with each other. When you design a kosher kitchen, you must separate the meat and dairy into different sections. It means your fridge, oven, stoves, countertops, and sinks should have different sections relegated to either meat or milk. You must also clean your kitchen regularly to avoid cross-contamination.
Remember, there are three categories to kosher meals; you have meats, dairy products, and pareve foods. Pareve refers to foods that contain neither meat nor dairy, such as fruit and vegetables. Also, keep in mind milk must come from kosher animals only, such as cows and goats.
Now you need to understand the rules regarding certain recipes. One of the most popular is Chalav Yisrael, which is Jewish milk. In the western world, it is against the law to sell non-kosher milk as kosher. You can rest easy knowing there are regulations to maintain a kosher lifestyle.
Another type of Jewish cooking is Bishul Yisrael. You can only eat food from non-Jewish people if it is not raw and it’s good enough for royalty to eat. There’s also Pat Yisrael, which is Jewish bread. You cannot eat home-baked that is non-Jewish, but you can with commercial bakeries.
Finally, you have Jewish wine, which must contain certifiably kosher grape juice. It must be produced, handled, and taken care of by Jews following strict Torah protocol. Doing so prevents potential contamination from non-Jewish winemakers.
Spiritual Importance of Kosher
To be kosher is to be closer to God. Use the Chabad organization as an authoritative reference, as this guide allows you to follow kosher rules without making any mistakes. Always remember which animals are certifiably kosher, that blood is removed, and that you separate milk and meat at all times. Now, you can build your own kitchen to adhere to basic Jewish principles.