Kosher Meat – Why Eat Kosher?

People eat kosher meat for a lot of different reasons.  If you are Jewish chances are you ate kosher at certain holidays or at certain family members.  As a child you might not have even thought about what kosher meant, it was just a term that you heard your relatives use.  In fact, the word has even become a slang term for meaning “it’s acceptable” or “it’s good with me”.  Sometimes when a word becomes slang it is a good idea to step back and look at its original meaning and give it some thought.  After all, it started for a reason.

Kosher is a term that refers to our food and drink and the way it’s handled.  Kosher foods include meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables.  One deciding factor on a food being certified kosher meat is the origin of the food.  For instance, cows can be kosher, pigs are never kosher.  Beasts with cloven hooves that chew their cud can be kosher.  That includes cows, deer and goats.  Pigs have cloven hooves but do not chew their cud.  This makes them “impure” and non-kosher.  But, a kosher animal will become non-kosher if found to contain disease or dies a natural death.

Kosher meat also must come from animals that are fed a diet they would eat naturally and they must be slaughtered in a very specific way.  A kosher butcher must cut the throat in a certain way with a kosher knife.  The knife must be sharp and free of nicks to be kosher.  The death must be instant and humane and the animal must not be in any way close to sickness or death.  An inspection is performed after the animal is slaughtered to double check the cleanliness of the animal and insures the absence of disease or infestation.  If there is any found, the animal is then considered non-kosher.

Another interesting fact about kosher meat is that it must be free of blood.  This is often accomplished by a process that uses kosher salt, a rough coarse salt.  The meat is soaked in water to open the pores and covered in salt and allowed to sit.  The salt draws out the blood using osmosis.  The salt is then disposed of and the meat is considered blood free.  By the way, organ meat is not kosher because the blood is too dense and hard to remove.  A good way to learn more about kosher food is through kosher food vendors.

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