If a food is kosher, it means it is fit for consumption under Jewish dietary rules. These rules were developed for religious as well as hygienic, practical and ritualistic reasons. Look for symbols on food packaging to see if a food is kosher. You’ll see a K inside a star or a circle, a circled letter U, a KOF-K symbol or the word "pareve." Foods with a letter K alone may or may not be kosher because the other symbols are trademarked whereas an alphabet letter cannot be, warns Judaism 101. You’ll find a wide variety of foods allowed on a kosher diet.
Many meats are allowed on a kosher diet. The way an animal is slaughtered often determines if the meat is kosher, so you must seek products from a shochet, or certified kosher butcher. Animals also need to either have cloven hooves or chew their own cud to be kosher. Animals considered kosher include goats, cows, sheep, antelope, deer and giraffes. Animals that are not kosher include pigs and rabbits. Fish without scales or fins also are not kosher, such as shellfish. Turkey, chicken, goose and duck are allowed, according to the Orthodox Union. A plumba, or metal tag, with the kosher symbol often is clamped on kosher meats. Meat or fowl also may be placed in tamperproof packaging with the kosher logo.
Hot black coffee and tea don’t cause concern with kosher requirements. Also, milk that comes from a kosher animal is fine. However, you cannot eat or cook meat and dairy products together, so be careful about when you use cream with your coffee, says Zushe Yosef Blech, author of “Kosher Food Production.”
Other dairy foods such as kosher yogurt, dairy cookies and dietary supplements have the same restriction as milk: They cannot be consumed or prepared along with meat, notes Blech. This is one reason why products like regular ice cream or yogurt, which contains gelatin that is derived from animal bones, are not kosher. Kosher cheese is made with vegetable-based enzymes.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are allowed on a kosher diet. These must be examined and fully cleaned before consumption, however, to prevent non-kosher items like insects from being eaten. Watch out for strawberries and raspberries, as well as broccoli and cauliflower, fresh herbs and leafy green veggies, as these are most likely to contain bugs.
Most grains and cereal items are allowed on a kosher diet, but they must be unprocessed. Foods that don’t fit in the dairy and meat categories are considered pareve. Pareve foods include grains and cereals along with eggs from kosher animals, canned food and frozen foods. These should come in sealed packages with a certification of the food’s kosher status. Items such as condiments also need to have an acceptable Kosher-certification symbol, says Blech.