Kosher Dill Pickles – Is a Kosher Pickle Kosher?

Kosher dill pickles are somewhat misleading.  The term kosher describes a regimen of eating that is following by the Orthodox Jewish religion and other individuals interested in a healthy way of eating.  As a rule it includes meat and fowl slaughtered in a specific manner that is as cruelty free as possible with some exceptions.  The most famous exception is pork which is never kosher but there are a few others such as rabbit.  Kosher also applies to dairy products that meet the requirements.  One of these is they must come from kosher cattle.  Vegetables are inherently kosher if they are free of contaminates but food prep must also be considered when determining if a food is kosher.

Dill pickles are one of the few foods that the term “kosher” doesn’t necessary describe whether or not the food meets the religious rules.  In this case the term describes a traditionally Jewish method of seasoning pickles using a great deal of garlic and kosher salt.  The salty highly flavored pickles became popular in New York in Jewish delis and they became known as kosher dill pickles as a nod to the special salt used.   As a result of their popularity there are several pickle manufactures across the nation that produce kosher dills without certification and without the desire to be certified.  There are many steps to being certified and it can be a difficult and expense process.

For a food to meet the requirements of being kosher the food prep is very important, all the utensils and pots must only touch kosher food.  Even the water used to wash them must only be used to wash those specific pots.  This is one of the biggest issues with processed food.  Everything used in the processing must be kosher.  In the case of kosher dill pickles the brine can be a problem.  Often brine is emulsified with polysorbates and they are made from animal fat.

If the animal fat is not from a kosher cow and certified it is non kosher.  That means the pickle does not meet the requirements of being certified kosher.  There are pickle manufacturers that go to great lengths to make sure their pickles can be certified.  In these cases a “mashgiach” or a kashrut rabbi must perform regular inspections to insure that all ingredients are kosher and all equipment remains acceptable.  Finding certified kosher dill pickles is not hard but it does require a little bit of homework.

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