The following is a guide to number of areas of interest in relation to the observance of Kashrut. The topics are listed in alphabetical order:
Please replace HaShem and Elokeinu with the appropriate pronunciation:
Baruch Atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech Haolam HaMotzi Lechem Min HaAretz
On wine or grape juice:
Baruch Atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Boray Pri HaGafen
On foods other than bread made from the five species of grain:
Baruch Atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Boray Minay Mezonot
On foods that grow on trees:
Baruch Atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Boray Pri HaEtz
On foods that grow from the ground:
Baruch Atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Boray Pri HaAdama
On all other foods:
Baruch Atah HaShem Elokeinu Melech Haolam SheHakol Nihyeh Bidvaro
Due to doubt and confusion as to the correct blessing on breakfast cereals the following are the blessings for such cereals as determined by Rabbi Moshe D Gutnick, Rabbinic Administrator of The Kashrut Authority.
Please note that the blessing for cereal and milk and indeed a cereal mix containing Mezonot flakes and fruit pieces is subject to a halachic controversy. Some opinions require that whenever a mezonot food is mixed with other foods only one blessing is to be made - Mezonot. Other opinions are of the view that as long as the foods are individually identifiable, a blessing should be made on each individual food.
Therefore on Sultana Bran and milk, according to the first opinion, only a mezonot needs to be made. According to the second opinion, a Mezonot needs to be made on the bran flakes, HaEtz on the sultanas and Shehakol on the milk. The Rabbinic Administrator recommends following the second view. (See Seder Birkat Hanehenin - Siddur HoRav, Chaya Adam, and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch who all follow this view)
All opinions would agree, that when for example, Weet-Bix are dissolved in milk and have formed a porridge, then the blessing is only Mezonot.
All Bran - Mezonot
All Bran Tropical - Mezonot on Bran, HaEtz on Sultanas, HaAdama on Pineapple
All Bran Wheat Flakes - Mezonot
All Bran Wheat Flakes Honey Almond - Mezonot on Bran, HaEtz on Almonds
Coco Pops - SheHakol
Coco Pops Coco Rocks - Mezonot
Cocoa Pops Chex - SheHakol
Corn Flakes - HaAdama
Corn Flakes with Whole Grain - Mezonot
Crispix - SheHakol
Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes - HaEtz on Peanuts, HaAdama on Cornflakes
Frosties - HaAdama
Guardian - Mezonot
Granola - Mezonot
Honey Weets - HaAdama
Just Right Tropical - Mezonot
Lite Bix - Mezonot
Mini Wheats 5 Grains - Mezonot
Nutrigrain - Mezonot
Puffed Wheat - HaAdama
Rice Bubbles - SheHakol
Special K - Mezonot
Special K Forest Berries - Mezonot on Cereal, HaEtz on Berries
Sultana Bran - Mezonot on Bran, HaEtz on Sultanas
Weet Bix - Mezonot
Weet Bix Hi-Bran - Mezonot
Weet Bix Multi-Grain -Mezonot
Corn Thins - HaAdama
Corn Thins Multigrain - HaAdama
Liquorice - Mezonot
Pop Corn - HaAdama
Potato Chips (Crisps) - HaAdama
Rice - SheHakol
Rice Thins - SheHakol
Fruits & Nuts
All nuts are HaEtz except Peanuts which are HaAdama
Passionfruit - HaEtz
Pineapple - HaAdama
Strawberry - HaAdama
Hard cheese is set by using an enzyme called “Rennet”. As many cheeses are made with animal rennet, it is rabbinical law that all cheese must be made under rabbinical supervision.
Eggs of any permitted birds may be used but we may not use an egg, which contains a blood spot. It is therefore, customary to check eggs that are being opened before cooking so as to reject any with blood spots. It is quite acceptable, however, to cook whole eggs although they have not been checked. If an egg with a blood spot is inadvertently used, contact your local Rabbi for advice.
All fish with fins and easily removable scales may be eaten. (Leviticus Ch.XI,9). It is important to note that only cycloid and ctenoid scales meet the Halachic definition of easily removable scales and all other forms of water-life including Eels, Crabs and Shellfish are treifeh.
Minced fish should only be bought from kosher fish shops or should be minced at home. See “Fish, in the Directory”.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
According to the Torah it is strictly forbidden to eat any swarming creatures, such as insects, flies, worms or their eggs. (Source: Leviticus Ch.XI, 20-23). Therefore, whenever preparing fruit or vegetables therefore one must examine them very carefully for any sign of infestation.
It is customary to soak lettuce and other problematic vegetables in a bowl of water with a little salt, which helps loosen the grip of insects, before rinsing and inspecting. All fruit and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before use. See “General Guidelines for checking of vegetables and fruit”.
Kosher meat has to be specifically selected and prepared in accordance with our biblical laws. The main principles are as follows:
a) TYPE OF ANIMALS: Only the meat of animals that have a cloven hoof and chew the cud is permitted, e.g.; ox, sheep, goat and deer. (Leviticus Ch.XI,3)
In Leviticus, (Ch,xi, 13-19) the Torah lists in detail which birds may not be eaten. By tradition, we know that the following types are permitted: Chicken, goose, pigeon, pheasant, duck, turkey, partridge, dove.
b) SHECHITA, BEDIKA AND NIKUR: The animal or bird has to be humanely slaughtered according to Jewish Law by means of a swift cut with a razor-sharp knife which severs the trachea and oesophagus as well as the carotid and jugular blood vessels (Shechita). An examination of the animal (Bedika) after Shechita ensures that it has no defect. If no internal blemish is found the meat is fit for kosher consumption. (These requirements are in addition to those of the ordinary Food Inspector). (Leviticus Ch.VII, 26: Exodus Ch.XXII, 30). Certain parts of the animal may not be eaten such as veins, arteries and forbidden fats. Porging (Nikur) requires special expertise and is carried out by the kosher butcher or his Mashgiach (religious supervisor). (Source: Leviticus Ch.III, 3,17).
To ensure that all meat and poultry are kosher, buy only from a reputable butcher displaying ‘THE KASHRUT AUTHORITY’ sign and Kashrut Certificate. Pre-packed products must be completely wrapped & sealed and must bear the ‘KA’ logo.
C) MELICHA: Before cooking, all meat and poultry must be “Kashered”, that is, salted by special process to remove any remaining blood. (Leviticus Ch.VII, 26,and Ch.XVII,10). In years gone by, Kashering (or salting) would always be done in the home. Nowadays, The Kashrut Authority butchers perform this time consuming service for their customers. N.B. The liver of a koshered chicken is not usually kashered by the butcher, (Koshered liver is available by special request only), and therefore must be koshered. See “Meat & Smallgoods”, in the Directory for further information and instruction on kashering.
The ever-increasing sophistication of food technology and the advent of number labeling, means that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the average consumer to know what ingredients make up the items they wish to buy. Many seemingly innocent products, such as yogurts, may contain gelatine, spices may contain stearic acid salts, and even breakfast cereal may contain glycerine. Expensive production equipment is rarely allowed to stand idle, and may well be used to process non-kosher foodstuffs as well as kosher.
Once the kitchen is organised for kosher living, keeping kosher need not be particularly complicated.
MEAT AND MILK
Basic to kashrut is the complete separation of milk and meat foodstuffs. In practical terms, separate cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery for both “Milk” (Dairy) and “Meat” are necessary. These should be stored in different cupboards or shelves, washed up in separate bowls or sinks, and used on the stove and in the oven separately. A dishwasher should also be designated for either Meat or Milk use.
To make utensils easily recognisable, use a colour code or different pattern to distinguish which is which. Customarily red signifies meat, and blue milk.
Meat and milk foods should be prepared on different work surfaces and served on different tablecloths or placemats.
“Pareve” refers to “neutral” foods and utensils, which are neither meaty nor milky. Vegetable knives, fruit knives and plates, the bread knife, salad bowls and such like may be kept pareve and used at both milky and meaty meals, provided they are washed up separately. Baking utensils, pans and trays can also be kept pareve. Similarly, an electric mixer provided that only pareve ingredients are used. Pyrex and other ovenproof glass are treated like metal and china, and once used, should be kept separate for milk or meat.
Meat and milk dishes should not be cooked in a closed oven at the same time. When cooking on the stove the saucepans should be covered and placed sufficiently apart to prevent splashing from one to the other.
THE SIX HOUR RULE
The prohibition against eating meat and milk together extends even further than partaking of them at the same meal. Milk foods or drinks may not be consumed after meat foods, for a minimum of six hours. (Some observe an interval of three or four hours). This also applies to eating meat after swiss cheese that has been aged more than six hours. (Some observe an interval of three or four hours). This also applies to eating meat after swiss cheese that has been aged more than six months. This does not apply to processed
American cheese. Meaty food may be eaten after other dairy foods however, provided the mouth is rinsed or some bread is eaten in between.
It is not permitted to bake bread with milk as an ingredient, in case it is inadvertently eaten with a meat meal.
Meat and fish should not be cooked together or eaten simultaneously but can be part of the same meal in different courses. The same cutlery, however, may not be used unless it is washed-up in between.
Ideally, a kitchen should have separate sinks and draining boards as described above. However, if there is only one sink then it should be treated as treif (since both meat and milk leftovers may be poured into it) and dishes should not be put directly inside. Instead, use separate washing-up bowls preferably on special sink mats. Remember to keep a separate cloth for wiping-out the sink.
If there is only one draining-board then make it milky and use a portable non-porous plastic draining board for meat dishes. In the same way, work surfaces can be kept milky and covered with plastic or tin foil when meat meals are being prepared.
Wine and grape juice must be manufactured under rabbinical supervision and only those bearing a seal from a recognized Kashrut Authority should be purchased. (Mishna Avodah Zarah, 2-3). Similarly, wine vinegar, brandies and liqueurs containing grape spirit must be supervised.
The Torah requires us not only to ensure that our utensils are kosher, but they must also be spiritually “purified” when ownership is changed from that of a gentile to a Jew. As such, any vessels or utensils that are purchased from a gentile must be immersed (toivelled) in a kosher Mikvah (unless they were originally made by a Jew).
The Torah in the book of Bamidbar specifically lists various metals in relation to this obligation; therefore the immersion of all metal utensils is a biblical requirement. The sages added glass utensils to this requirement, as they can be made molten like metal, and as such are Rabbinically included in the requirement. Utensils that cannot be made molten such as wood or earthenware are not included in this obligation either biblically or rabbinically. Therefore a blessing is made only on metal or glass utensils.
The Kashrut Authority takes the view of those decisors who rule that Corelle dishes and Pyrex cookware, as they are also made of glass (albeit thoughened), are rabbinically required to be immersed, and a blessing should be made on those utensils. (Some opinions liken Corelle to chinaware and do not require the making of a blessing. KA research however has confirmed that Corelle is indeed a form of glass).
Porcelain and china crockery and tableware, do not require to be immersed. (This is based upon the rulings of the Pischei Teshuva and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein). Porcelain and china should not be confused with utensils that are glazed with a thick glass coating, which are mentioned in some of the Responsa as requiring immersion, as modern day porcelain and china only have a surface glaze. While the glaze on thickly glazed items could in theory be made molten, and therefore require tevilla as above, it is impossible to make molten the coating on our utensils and as such they have the same status as earthenware that require no tevilla. (Never-the-less in deference to the earlier mentioned view, some customarily do immerse china and porcelain without a blessing).
Plastic utensils do not require immersion. (Again plastic cannot be melted and re-used like metal or glass. Indeed it burns. However, because it gives the appearance of melting some customarily do immerse them).
Wooden utensils and Earthenware utensils, as mentioned earlier, do not require immersion nor is there any custom to immerse them.