The meaning of Kosher in regards to Jewish life has many rules and laws. What I will try to do is simplify the Kosher laws as best as possible and as the Jewish Family blog continues, I will then get more specific.
The basics of Kosher laws all stem from the Torah. For meat to be considered Kosher, the animal must be slaughtered in a certain way so it does not feel any pain and animals with hoofs and chews its cud. Cows have cloven hoofs and chew its cuds. Pigs have hoofs but do not chew its cud.
This list the meats, poultry, and fish which are Kosher, when slaughtered according to the laws are:
Fish but not shellfish
The animals must be healthy, have no disease, not have died of natural causes, or killed by another animal. Jewish law feels strongly about when an animal is killed for food, there should NEVER be suffering.
The person who slaughters the animals is called a Shochet who is trained precisely on how and where to cut the animal.
Before the meat can be sold to any store, it must be soaked and salted. According to Jewish law, no meat should be consumed with blood and this would be considered unkosher meat and unhealthy.
For poultry and fish, the same laws apply but there are certain fish which are not considered Kosher. Any shellfish like shrimp, lobster, or mussels are scavengers which means they survive through cleaning the ocean. Because the seafood could contain diseases, Kosher laws do not consider these as Kosher foods. (Although in my book, shrimp and mussels are always a great treat!)
There are also specific laws addressing what parts of the animals which can and cannot be eaten. There are some Kosher meat brands which can be found at a local grocery store like Empire, Aaron’s, or David’s. There are also Kosher deli’s and butchers where you can get fresh cut meat, poultry ad fish.
For our chicken, we usually go to Costco and buy bags of Empire frozen boneless chicken breasts. For our fish, we often buy at a fresh fish market and our meat we go to a certified Kosher butcher. (but I am not a big red meat eater).
Stay tuned for more Kosher fun!