10 Kosher Jewish Eating Laws You Probably Didn't Know

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Unusual facts about Jewish kashrut. Interesting lesser known facts about Jewish dietary laws. Rules for kosher cooking and eating.

Here are some facts about keeping kosher that you may not know. About 25% of American Jews follow the Jewish eating traditions to some extent, but these interesting kosher facts are not known to all.

1. An egg found to have blood in it is not kosher, this is because Jewish eating beliefs state that the blood indicates that an embryo has started to form and it is forbidden to eat any embryo. So before frying or baking, eggs are normally cracked open into a separate bowl and checked first, if they contain a spot of blood they are discarded.

2. When boiling eggs you need to boil at least three at a time. This is so that if one egg has blood in, it would still be considered Kosher when cooked with another two, as the majority of eggs had no blood.

3. Flour must be sieved using a silkscreen net sieve, as the normal metal or plastic ones have holes that are too big. This is to make sure that there are no small bugs in the flour as in Jewish eating tradition, eating an insect of any kind is forbidden.

4. Although eating insects is forbidden some cultures had their own rules. For example the Yemen Jews are the only Jewish community which retained the knowledge of locusts being Kosher. Although it is not common today in modern Israel, if a Yemeni Jew ate locusts it would not be considered non-kosher.

5. As you probably know Jews don't mix meat and milk, but different Jewish communities keep this rule in slightly different ways. Sephardic Jews wait 4 hours after eating chicken before drinking milk, and 6 hours after beef. Dutch Jews wait for an hour between meat and milk, and British Jews generally wait 3 hours.

6. Wine must be made by Jews for it to be Kosher. This comes from the fact that wine was often used in pagan ceremonies, and was sanctified during the preparation process. Some observant Jews won't drink wine that is not opened by a Jew either.

7. A giraffe is actually a kosher animal in terms of its physical attributes, but it is not eaten, as the ritual slaughtering is too difficult on such a long neck to find the correct point to cut! In order for an animal to be kosher food it needs to have certain physical attributes; be slaughtered in the ritual manner; soaked and salted as prescribed and prepared and eaten using kosher ingredients and utensils. For observant Jews if even one of these kosher steps is not observed then the food is not kosher. So an animal could be a kosher type of animal but not slaughtered correctly, or it could be kosher, slaughtered correctly, salted and prepared correctly but if it is not served on kosher utensils it is no longer kosher.

8. For milk to be a kosher food a Jew needs to be present from the time of milking to the bottling, to make sure that it is from kosher animals and that nothing non-kosher has been added.

9. Certain people are exempt from the kosher eating rules under certain circumstances. Young children and babies can normally get away with waiting less time between meat and milk, and they are not reprimanded if they break this rule unintentionally. Only once a boy as had a bar mitzvah (reached 13 years old) or a girl has reached 12 years old and had her bat mitzvah, are the Jewish children strictly required to keep all of the Jewish mitzvot (commandments). People who are ill or on a restrictive diet for health reasons are also released from these kosher commitments.

10. Liver is not made kosher by soaking and salting like other meats, because it contains so much blood. Other meat is soaked and salted, but liver can only be made kosher if (broiled) grilled, so that the excess blood can drip out of it. This makes liver ideal for barbecues.

The Jewish kosher laws are complex and even for observant Jews there is always more to learn. However for the unobservant Jew the best starting point is simply not to eat dairy products with meat. 

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