Kosher

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This weekend while enjoying some Pringles, (if you are a food snob this is where you should probably stop reading this blog) I noticed a Hebrew phrase on the label.  The rest of the packaging was in Spanish and English.  I had no idea what the Hebrew was, but then it was suggested to me that perhaps it meant that Pringles are kosher.

To solve the mystery, I googled ‘Hebrew writing on Pringles can’.  I wasn’t the only one wondering.  The first hits were “What the hell is on the back of this Pringles can?” and “What’s up with the alien language on the back of the Pringles can?”.

Turns out that, yes, Pringles is kosher.  This was indicated, aside from the Hebrew message, by a ‘U’ in a circle.  This is just one of a few kosher symbols that you can find on the labels of kosher products.

Kosher is the Yiddish version of the Hebrew word kashér, which means fit, meaning in the case of food, fit for consumption according to kashrut laws.  I took this opportunity to look up kosher salt.  Is kosher salt the only salt that a person abiding the kashrut laws can eat?

Kosher salt was originally known as koshering salt, which suggests that the salt isn’t meant to be kosher but to make something else kosher.  Sure enough, kosher salt is used for removing blood from meats.  The meats are covered in the koshering salt, allowed to stand on a rack for an hour and then the salt is washed off.  Koshering salt is a flat platelet like shape acquired through pressure or a special drying process.  Most salts, including regular table salts, are allowed within the kosher rules.

Although you can use kosher salt for seasoning foods just like any other salt product, it is not recommended for baking with because without enough liquid it won’t dissolve and you’ll get a salt grain in the middle of your pastry.  Generally in cooking, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt you can replace this with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  If the recipe calls for 1 gram of salt you should use 1 gram of kosher salt.

Thank you Pringles for your education on the Jewish food tradition.  Never saw that coming!

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