Eating kosher is a way of eating that follows certain religious dictates determined by Orthodox Jewish Rabbis. The belief is that only food produced without cruelty and without contaminates be consumed. Part of the practice is making sure that all food certified kosher only be served with other kosher food. A cow is certified kosher when it is disease free and the milk from that cow is also considered kosher. Kosher milk can make kosher cheese as long as all other rules are followed. Rennet is a substance used to make cheese and since it is often an animal based product it can cause problems.
Cheese made with rennet is often considered non kosher because of the unknown nature of the way the animal it came from died. For an animal to be considered kosher it must be slaughtered by a kosher butcher using a kosher knife and done in a specific way. Rennet is generally purchased by the cheese maker and its origins are often unknown. Today rennet is often made artificially but even cheese made with artificial rennet is not considered kosher cheese if it is made by non Jews. Many cheese plants will only make kosher cheese during certain times of the year.
When a cheese plant decides to make kosher cheese it must have a rabbi come in and perform a kasher. This is a process that may take several days and it inherently expensive since the plant must be shut down. The rabbi must ensure that everything in the plant that will come in contact with the cheese is kosher. Therefore cheese that is certified kosher is often considerably more expensive than non kosher and a little harder to find. It is worth the effort but if you do find it then there are a few final rules to remember.
Cheese and meat cannot be consumed at the same time. It doesn’t matter if the cheese and meat are both kosher or not, it is against kosher to do so. Kosher cheese may be consumed with vegetables or fruit and it may be consumed three hours after consuming meat. The main reason for the time difference is so that the meat and cheese do not exist together in the stomach. That means no cheeseburgers! Finding and purchasing cheese that is kosher is not impossible. It just takes a little leg work and effort. As kosher eating becomes more widespread it will be easier.
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