A couple months ago, I was lucky enough to have attended a super-informational seminar at work about kosher foods. As a post-Passover treat (I knew I should have posted this earlier), I'm sharing with you some of the fun facts I learned for this week's List. טשירז!
(figure cred: here)
- Plants are kosher EXCEPT grapes and derivatives of grapes such as grape juice and wine. Also not kosher are produce grown in Israel.
- Non-living and synthetic food materials are kosher.
- Fish is kosher only if it's boney with fins and scales.
- Shellfish, sea mammals and other non-fish sea life are not kosher.
- Birds are only kosher if they are not predatory, kosher slaughtered, and were healthy when they were living. Unfertilized eggs from a kosher bird are also kosher.
- In regard to other animals, they must have split hooves and be huminants to be kosher. Also, there are certain parts that just aren't eaten (e.g. the back half of an animal). Blood is not kosher.
- You may see "natural colors" in the ingredients label sometimes. "Natural color" is not kosher because some natural colors can come from bugs and bugs are not kosher.
- Gelatin is not kosher because of its pork-derived origins and glucosamine is not kosher because it's derived from shellfish.
- You can't mix milk with meat. For example, a cheeseburger is not kosher (cheese=milk), unless either the cheese or the meat patty is synthetic.
- "Parve" means neutral, and denotes a food that contains no meat or dairy.
- Leavened bread is forbidden during Passover. Such bread contains wheat, oats, rye, spelt or barley. Since it's believed that dough containing any of these five grains starts to leaven about 18 minutes from the time it's moistened, permissible bread should be prepared within 18 minutes. Matzo seems to be the bread that fits this bill.
- Here's a super fun fact: Ashkenazi Jews don't consume high fructose corn syrup during Passover, so Coca-Cola makes a special formula of Coke for Passover that contains cane sugar instead. So if you prefer cane sugar over corn syrup in your Coke, stock up right before Passover! (Special formula is denoted by a different colored cap) ...but too bad for Jews in California this Passover...