Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Using Kosher Symbols on Cake Decorating Products for Vegetarians

The Wilton Course 3, Fondant and Gum Paste Course, that I  just completed was a wonderful experience.  At the beginning, our teacher requested that we not to ask her about unusual ingredients like agar agar.  I had a feeling that these people were looking for vegetarian fondant, as I was.  I had checked Youtube, and all the vegetarian recipes for fondant had agar agar.

Most marshmallows, used to make fondant, are not vegetarian. The vegetarian marshmallows just don't seem to work as well. As the video below shows, marshmallow fluff is different.  That's probably why people were looking for the vegetarian version.

There was another comment in one of my baking groups about red coloring in products coming from carmine.  Carmine is a bug extract.  I knew this wasn't possible for this product, because the product had a kosher symbol.  Bugs aren't kosher (appropriate, biblically clean).

After hearing these comments, I thought I would make this video to help people know how to find kosher symbols on product labels.  Many people who are vegetarians, including Seventh Day Adventists, look for these symbols.   These symbols have helped me a lot in looking for vegetarian foods.

Kosher products fall into one of three categories:

Meat:  beef, lamb, chicken
Dairy:  milk products
Parve:  eggs, fish, fruits, vegetables.  This is a "neutral" category--non meat/non milk

what's not kosher:  bugs, pork, shellfish...

How it works:  The certifying organization goes into the plant.  They check the processing of the product.  They check the ingredients from the initial source--each individual ingredient--to see what other ingredients with which it came into contact.  It's a very thorough investigation, which can help identify vegetarian products!

There are many kosher certifying agencies, each with their own symbol.  A plain "K" might not be  considered as reliable because it can't be a registered trademark.  A K with a circle around it would be a different agency and trademarked symbol.

In the carmine (bug) example above, the red color dust product has a kosher certification.  It doesn't have carmine. The orchid pink, however doesn't have kosher certification.  That's because the label lists carmine.

The Wilton fondant has a kosher certification, so there shouldn't be a concern for people wanting a vegetarian fondant.   No need to learn to use agar agar to make fondant!

Wilton lists which products are kosher in their Course books, but the products can change over time; the books may be out of date.

I hope this helps vegetarian cake decorators and/or their vegetarian and vegan clients.

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