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Kosher Produce

Various laws apply to fruits, vegetables and produce. Most of these apply only to produce of the Land of Israel:
  • Orlah - fruits, harvested from a tree, less than three years after its planting (Mishnah tractate Orlah 3:9, Shulchan Arukh Yoreh De'ah 294:9-10)
  • Various tithes (Shulchan Aruch ibid ch. 391-393):
  • Terumah - originally given to the Kohanim (priestly caste)
  • Maaser Rishon - originally given to the Levites
  • Maaser Sheni - originally consumed in Jerusalem or given to the poor (in specific years)
  • Shmita - produce from each seventh year (Mishna tractate Shevi'it and Maimonides Hilchot Shevi'it ve-Yovel)
  • Challah - a portion of dough which must be given to the Kohanim (Mishna tractate Challah, Shulchan Aruch ibid 322-330)

  • All fresh fruits and vegetables are kosher in principle. Jewish law requires that they be carefully checked and cleaned to make sure that there are no insects on them, as insects are not kosher (except certain grasshoppers and crickets according to the Jews of Yemen only, see above). The Orthodox community is particular not to consume produce which may have insect infestation, and check and wash certain forms of prce very carefully. Many Orthodox Jews avoid certain vegetables, such as broccoli, because they may be infested and exceedingly hard to clean. (According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, commercially it is not possible remove all insects, and a sizeable amount remain. Responding to this issue, some companies now sell thoroughly washed and inspected produce for those who do not wish to do it themselves, even going to the trouble of filtering the wash water to ensure that it carries no microscopic creatures.

    There are some restrictions on consumption of produce. The fruit of a tree for the first three years is not consumed (in keeping with the law of orlah). For crops grown in Israel, tithes must be taken and allocated according to the precepts of the Bible, otherwise the entire crop will not be considered kosher. In Israel, stores that sell fruit and vegetable shops will usually display kosher certification. The certificate ("teudah") must be from the current month.

    Click here to learn about how Kosher Grains and Cereals are prepared.

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