Bacon? Really?: 10 Thanksgiving foods you didn't know were kosher

Thanksgiving dining options are moving far past the green-bean casserole.

By ZLATI MEYER/ USA TODAY
November 20, 2017 12:36
3 minute read.
Israeli vegan food

Israeli vegan food. (photo credit: MICHAELA BANK TWEETO)

 
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(TNS) Holidays are a time for traditions - turkey, football and trying to avoid fights over politics with your relatives.

And for Jewish families and others who eat kosher, some of those are getting an update.

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Thanksgiving dining options are moving far past the green-bean casserole. Now there are choices that offer new twists on standard kosher fare or venture into uncharted waters - from caviar to French macarons. Yes, even bacon: Turkey bacon.

Kosher food is now a $12.5 billion a year business, according to data-tracker Lubicom Marketing Consulting, which has staged the trade show Kosherfest since 1987. Annual sales of kosher products increased 12% between 2014 and 2016. There are now about 240,000 kosher-certified packaged goods on the market.

At this year's Kosherfest, an annual kosher-food trade show, an estimated 6,000 attendees visited the close to 400 vendor booths to learn about everything from Himalayan sea salt and international wines to hummus flavors and gluten-free desserts, Lubicom president Menachem Lubinsky said.

Biblically-based kosher laws include directives like slaughtering animals in a particular way and not eating milk and meat together. Pork and shellfish are out. And certifying agencies with names like the Orthodox Union, OK Labs, Kof-K and Star K supervise the manufacturing process to ensure that foods follow Jewish law. Products from Cheerios to Tropicana orange juice are marked with the organizations' logos.

Kosher consumers include not only Jews, but Muslims and others who follow their own, similar dietary laws. Then, there are those who are concerned about ingredient accuracy because of allergies or just believe kosher is higher quality.

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For them, kosher dining could mean a lot of new options that go way past lox, chicken soup and gefilte fish.

Here are 10 examples of foods shown at Kosherfest that may surprise you:

Bacon


Okay, so it's turkey bacon. The Jack's Gourmet version is the quintessential non-kosher food smoked and salted to cook up crispy. The product description includes the term BLT — in quotation marks.

Printed matzo

This Passover, an ancient food gets a uniquely 21st-Century twist - printable matzo.

On sale starting Monday, the holiday unleavened bread, which looks like a large cracker, now comes decorated with colorful edible ink or custom-printed with the photo, logo or design, whatever the customer would like.

Boozy fruit spreads


Manischewitz wine is not an ingredient in this line of jams, but they are definitely something that wine lovers might consider. A company called Beit-Yitzhak has alcohol-infused fruit spreads in five flavors, such as cranberry and vodka, cherry and whiskey and apple and martini. The company says the jams don't contain enough alcohol to cause a buzz, though the crackers they're spread on will be happy.

Curry sauce

Tradition says the some of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel wound up in India, so kosher curry makes cultural sense. Mikee is offering up various flavors, including coconut, lentil and spinach.

French macarons

This colorful trendy cookie now comes in a kosher version. Mais oui! L’esti's Desserts' sweet treats have little to do with the classic Passover version the macaroon — note the extra "o" — which is made out of coconut. Among the flavors are crème brûlée, cotton candy and espresso.

Roasted chestnuts

Um, isn't that Christmas? True, but this organic version has little to do with the Nat King Cole song. Galil Foods makes its bags of the shelled snacks all year round.

Caviar

Not all whitefish winds up on bagels. Romanoff sells caviar versions — Black Whitefish, Red Whitefish and Red Salmon — that are exactly like their non-kosher cousins. Minus the cream cheese.

Polochintas

Stumped you, right? It's the Hungarian version of a crepe, also known as a blini or a blintz, too. Bubby's makes polochintas in only a cheese or a sugar-free cheese version. For now.

Cold brew

Wake up and smell the kosher coffee. This buzzy drink by Rise Brewing Co. is on trend; it's not only Starbucks that's going nitro. Can we get a man-bun to go with this drink, please?

Spanakopita

Are the laws of kosher Greek to you? No worries when it comes to this traditional offering from the Hellenic Republic. Kontos Foods is the company behind this savory spinach-cheese dish.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer

(c)2017 USA Today. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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