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Mar 31, 2004 03:53 PM

Why aren't Marshmallows Kosher?

  • d

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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  1. 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

      "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

        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

          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

            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

              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

                Oh gosh, I love toasted coconut marshmallows.

          2. re: Zev Sero

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                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

                  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

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

                2. re: Zev Sero
                  Moshe Horowitz

                  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

                  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

                    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

                    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

                      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. The original comment has been removed
                      1. 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.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: SoCal Mother

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

                          1. re: mamaleh

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

                            1. re: njsal

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

                            2. re: mamaleh

                              These are excellent! Got them at Fairway

                          2. The original comment has been removed
                            1. They are not Kosher because they contain horse....that is where the gelatin comes from in most marshmallows unless you purchase Kosher marshmallows, in which case those have fish gelatin. Jello is also not Kosher.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: janeicey

                                Jane -> welcome to ChowHound!
                                Please continue to post : )

                                BTW-> how/ where did you come across this (internet ancient) marshmallow thread?

                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                  Oh, a moderator (and thanks?)... hi Kris.

                                  I don't think it was either of our intentions to suggest that she not post, btw. I was calling attention that the post was not from 2010 as someone else said. It wasn't anyone's objectives to silence the person who posted.

                                  I assume Google helped her find you.

                                  1. re: tamarw


                                    It was clear you guys were posting helpfully, not snarking.

                                    I am Always blown away by zombie threads (I probably have started a thread about resuscitation 5 or 6 times in 7 or 8 years).
                                    However, I have recently tried to adjust my attitude, especially if it is a 1st Time poster -> then, I try to say hello and welcome, and back away slowly : )

                                    1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                      Some of the previous posts were removed, and then yours appeared. Process of deduction, perhaps.


                                      A lot of interesting activity on a thread so old, I must say!

                                2. re: janeicey

                                  At least within North America, the majority of non-kosher gelatin comes from cow hides and pig hides with a remaining amount coming from bones produced in meat slaughter. Not enough people eat horse meat to make it a common source of gelatin.