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Why aren't Marshmallows Kosher?

Dawn Mar 31, 2004 03:53 PM

Hi I was at Baskin Robins and all of their Ice Creams are Kosher except the ones that contain mini marhmallows so I was wondering if anyone could let me know why Marshmallows aren't Kosher? Thanks!!!

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    Chanie Mar 31, 2004 04:02 PM

    Marshmallows often contain gelatin, which is commonly made from non kosher animals. Most Orthodox rabbis are of the opinion that such gelatin is not kosher, although there is a (very) minority opinion which allows it, due to the significant changes the raw material undergoes during processing. Kosher gelatin can be made from seaweed, fish or kosher animals. Gelatin made from fish or animals is generally not considered a fish or meat product.

    18 Replies
    1. re: Chanie
      Zev Sero Mar 31, 2004 04:55 PM

      "Most Orthodox rabbis are of the opinion that such gelatin is not kosher, although there is a (very) minority opinion which allows it."

      This is the case in the USA. In Israel, the opinion that allows gelatin from non-kosher animals is considered mainstream, and is accepted by the Chief Rabbinate. As a result, marshmallows made in Israel, even with what would otherwise be considered a good hechsher, are likely not to be acceptable to Orthodox Jews in the USA. Caveat Emptor.

      1. re: Zev Sero
        CT Kosher Ben Noach Mar 31, 2004 10:10 PM

        Now that we have a kosher household, I find I actually prefer the kosher marshmallows - it find they have a better taste and texture. They are dreadfully expensive, though.


        1. re: CT Kosher Ben Noach
          texasmensch Mar 31, 2004 11:04 PM

          My wife decided she HAD to have marshmallows and all of the kosher stores here in Dallas were out. I went to the Elyon website and called them and ordered marshmallows by the case. I took 24 bags and between the product and shipping, they came out to less than $3 per bag. 24 is a lot, but if you split them with a few friends, its a good deal.

          I love the internet.

          1. re: texasmensch
            SKR Apr 16, 2004 12:02 AM

            For those desperate for marshmallows, sometimes the craving can be assuaged by the consumption of meringues -- easily made at home and usually presenting a nice gooey sugary mallow-like interior in a thin crisp crust. Two egg whites and a pinch of salt, beat til fluffy, add 1 C of sugar v-e-r-y gradually, keep beating between each addition. Batter will end up still pourable but very slow. Spoon out in small meringues on waxed paper on a baking sheet, bake at 250F for an hour. Cool and peel off wax paper. Guaranteed to rot your teeth but can allay the marshmallow jones in a pinch.(Just found out about this messageboard and am absolutely delighted! Shalom, y'all.)

            1. re: texasmensch
              DebbyT Sep 22, 2009 02:03 PM

              When Elyon first came out with marshmallows, I drove to the kosher grocery, bought 2 bags, and finished both in the mile long drive back home. That was one crazy sugar-high afternoon.
              The only other time I go that crazy is when they have the toasted coconut ones for Pesach.

              1. re: DebbyT
                mara44 May 8, 2010 12:13 AM

                Oh gosh, I love toasted coconut marshmallows.

          2. re: Zev Sero
            baruch Apr 1, 2004 08:31 AM

            Such irony. We prefer so many other products from israel, but not the marshmallows.

            So is the opinion that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is wrong? Does that not make them infamously "unreliable"?

            1. re: baruch
              Zev Sero Apr 1, 2004 02:42 PM

              If, like almost every Orthodox Rabbi in the USA, you disagree with the Chief Rabbinate's opinion on this question, then its hechsher is indeed unreliable *for products that involve this ingredient*. Similarly, if you disagree with R Moshe's opinion that commercial milk has the status of chalav yisrael, then almost all USAn hechsherim, which rely on that opinion, are unreliable *for dairy products*. And if, as a Sefardi, you disagree with the Rema's opinion that non-glatt meat is kosher, then all Ashkenazi hechsherim that allow non-glatt meat are unreliable *for meat products*.

              This is not an unusual or a new situation. Bet Hilel and Bet Shammai disagreed on some of the laws of marriage, resulting in each side considering some marriages on the other side, and the children of those marriages, illegitimate. The mishna tells us that this did not prevent good relations between the sides, and it didn't even prevent them from marrying each other, because each side respected the other's opinion enough to inform them which children were not kosher according to their opinion, and, more importantly, each side *trusted* the other to give them this information.

              It's when hechsherim lie about their standards, when they certify something as chalav yisrael when they know it's not, or when they include a controversial ingredient without noting it anywhere, that they become unreliable. And, of course, if they simply don't bother making the inspections they claim to be making, or just let infractions go by without taking any action, etc.

              1. re: Zev Sero
                baruch Apr 2, 2004 07:11 AM

                good points. i was being kinda flippant. I just think we get caught up in the details so much sometimes with kashrut that we dont realize anymore why we do it or really get it.

                In any event, I dont really know if i agree or disagree. Both sides usually make good points.I make my decisions on a case by case basis, and dont always go by the orthodox party line.

                1. re: Zev Sero
                  typo lad May 14, 2010 07:49 AM

                  I just came across this and have not much to add, but I want to applaud this brilliant post.

                  Well done, sir or madam.

              2. re: Zev Sero
                Tina Apr 1, 2004 09:30 AM

                This is true with other gummy type items-- gummy bears, worms, etc. in Israel. I recall one store with a reliable hasgacha in Jerusalem that also stated "L'Ochlei Geletin" for those who eat Gelatin.

                1. re: Tina
                  sarah Apr 1, 2004 10:38 AM

                  You can also make home made marshmallows - using kosher gelatin - I think I got the recipie from epicurious. I served the marshmallows with a berry compote and toasted sugered pecans.. it was a dessert that was both elegant and silly. ...

                  1. re: sarah
                    cappucino Sep 23, 2009 03:55 AM

                    Interesting. I think I'll try that for Succos.

                2. re: Zev Sero
                  Moshe Horowitz Oct 16, 2004 06:21 PM

                  The policy of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel of accepting gelatin dates back many - many years ago and that law is NOW being revamped to where no marshmellow product produced from a non-kosher source will be allowed into Israel with the approval of the Chief Rabbinates seal.

                3. re: Chanie
                  janet Apr 16, 2004 11:35 AM

                  A Muslim friend of ours won't eat marshmallows because he claims that the gelatin is made from pork products. He will, however, eat kosher marshmallows, as obviously these wouldn't contain pork. Last year we were planning a camping trip, and I searched high and low for kosher marshmallows so that he could enjoy s'mores, a treat he had never tried. However, in our area (Reno, NV) there were none to be found. (I didn't think of the internet, darn it all...). Anyway, I noticed that for Passover my local Raley's HAD kosher marshmallows for sale in the display that contained matzoh, gefilte fish, etc. So here's my question to the more savvey: If I had bought some and frozen them for the summer camping season, would they have kept? Can Marshmallows be frozen?

                  1. re: janet
                    mommysmazal Sep 22, 2009 04:09 PM

                    My family has always enjoyed Joyva marshmallow twists, except on Passover because we won't use Joyva (legume issue, not a gelatin issue). Marshmallow seems fine and thaws very quickly. Don't know about Elyon--never froze those.

                  2. re: Chanie
                    Rabbi H Royde Jun 8, 2004 11:39 AM

                    there are kosher marshmallows under the name 'elyon' that are made using 100% kosher certified gelatin.
                    Rabbi H Royde
                    Manchester Beis Din
                    Kashrus Information Services
                    tel ++ 44 161 740 9711
                    fax ++ 44 161 721 4249

                    1. re: Chanie
                      ganeden Sep 22, 2009 11:31 PM

                      Gelatin can only be made from animals- not from seaweed. It is a collagin derivative, a protein. Seeweed "gelatin" is agar agar or carageenan, both of which are polysaccharides, complex chains of sugar. Thus, they have different chemical and tactile properties.

                    2. s
                      SoCal Mother May 31, 2010 08:04 PM

                      Well depending on what you are using it for, Marshmallow Fluff will work for topping sweet potatoes and even for Smores if you are desperate.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: SoCal Mother
                        mamaleh Jun 5, 2010 09:36 PM

                        These are vegan, kosher (CRC hechsher) and yummy although a little pricey http://www.dandiescandies.com/
                        If you are in Southern California, they are sold at Mothers' Market.

                        1. re: mamaleh
                          njsal Jun 6, 2010 02:11 PM

                          You can find kosher marshmallows at any kosher supermarket very popular during Passover season

                          1. re: njsal
                            mamaleh Jun 6, 2010 07:27 PM

                            You can, but they usually contain fish gelatin. Dandies are 100% vegan.

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