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How To Be a Kosher Vegetarian

Kosher cuisine not only comes from the Mediterranean region, but can be found all over the world. Kosher vegetarian recipes may contain many identical ingredients, but the use of various spices changes the entire recipe.

If you keep kosher, you can’t eat milk and meat together, and you have to use separate sets of dishes for the two. It’s a hassle, and you can imagine a lot of vegetarian food came out of that.

Olive Trees and Honey offers time-tested recipes with rich descriptions of agricultural and social history. There are few pictures to tempt you, but the author has researched the origins of specific foods and dishes.


Learning the paths that various ingredients have taken around the globe is fascinating, and definitely fun to share. A history of food and cookbook all wraped up in one.

General Rules

Many of the general rules for keeping Kosher revolve around what kinds of animals may be eaten. To become a Kosher Vegetarian seems simple enough- don’t eat any meat.

Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but they must be inspected for bugs (which are animals!). According to Kosher rules, grape products can’t be eaten if made by non-Jews.

Grape product laws started because of the use of wine in pagan rituals. Whole grapes are OK, but, wine, grape juice, or other fruity drinks may be a problem.

Kosher Vegetarians who eat eggs and cheese, must be sure that those products don’t come from forbidden animals. Eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains may be eaten with dairy.

Girl Eating Peach

Bugs are Animals Too

Of course some fruits and vegetables have a higher probability of housing bugs. Leafy and flowery veggies need to be inspected closely. Broccoli is one of the most difficult to inspect.

If they are visible to the naked eye –aphids are 2-5 millimeters- they must be disposed of before eating.

Washing individual leaves, soaking in salt water, or scrubbed with a vegetable brush are methods used to search for bugs. Always inspect in bright light.

Even packages of pasta can be infested!

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains are Kosher in their natural state, but canned or frozen products can be a problem. They may contain non-Kosher dairy or meat products or were processed in non-Kosher vessels.

Keeping Kosher has become easier with the use of the Kosher certification. And, in the U.S., Federal regulations on milk production are so strict, that many groups accept any milk product as Kosher.

Certifying organizations may also indicate if the product is fleshik (meat), milchik (dairy), or pareve (neutral). Still, read the ingredient list carefully.

21% of American Jews keep Kosher at home according to the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey. Remember that Kosher certification is helpful not only for Jews, but also Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists and Vegetarians.

Find great Kosher Vegetarian recipes in "Olive Trees and Honey"

Becoming a Vegetarian

Do you have a great story about your personal journey to becoming a vegetarian? Why did you change your eating habits? What kind of vegetarian are you and why? Was the change difficult? easy? Share your journey.


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