REGULATIONS (HALACHA)

 

KASHERING YOUR KITCHEN

INTRODUCTION

Kashrus is the central pillar of the Jewish Home. If everything we do is influenced by every facet of our life it follows that food, which is necessary for us to live and to function properly, is the most important influence. To live as an observant Jews one must be very careful with what is ingested.

Full observance of the Kosher diet, however, also entails the absolute kashrus of the utensils, cooking implements and so on. Our purpose here is to explain in a concise manner how to accomplish the kashering (the process of koshering) of the kitchen as a whole.

We will discuss the methods and the reasons of kashering in an easy and informative manner. This pamphlet is geared to the average lay person, who has finally understood the importance and the need for kashrus.

WHAT IS KASHERING?

Kashering is the process of changing a non kosher cooking implement or utensil and making it fit for kosher use. This is accomplished by subjecting the object to the opposite of the action that made it become non kosher in the first place. There are two methods used for kashering and they are: "hagolah" (dipping in boiling water), and "libun" (bringing the object about to be kashered to a point where it is red hot); the purpose is twofold, we want to remove all the forbidden flavors as well as fully cleanse the object.

HOW TO KASHER

The two methods are not used indiscriminately, but their implementation depends rather on the object to be kashered. "Hagolah" is used whenever we are dealing with a utensil or cooking implement that is used with liquids; in all other cases we use the "libun" method.

KASHERING SPECIFICS

STOVES:

a) Burners - First they must be cleaned extremely well, being very careful to clear off any trapped grease. At this point there are two different methods used for kashering which depend for their implementation on whether the burners have gas pilots for ignition or are electrically ignited. In the case of gas pilots, you cover the top with two layers of aluminum foil (shiny side down) without tucking them around the burner (having them lay freely) and then you turn them on until the burner ring becomes red. With electrical burners you only cover each burner with tinfoil otherwise you might damage the electrical pilot system.

b) Ovens - Take all parts out, including racks, side racks, bottoms and backs. Clean the entire oven and pieces with a strong abrasive like EASY OFF, be specially careful with hinges, screw holes, windows or opening joints. When cleaning is done use a flashlight in all the crevices to make sure everything indeed has been cleaned. Although glass may look clean it must be gone over with the abrasive. When done put back all parts except racks. Racks should preferably be brought to the red hot state with a hand torch but it is not an absolute must. Then place racks in oven, and turn on at the highest available temperature for at least two hours. In the
case of self cleaning ovens run through a complete self cleaning cycle.

SINKS

Only non ceramic sinks may be kashered! Clean them very, very thoroughly and do not use for 24 hours prior to kashering. Boil water in a kosher pot, and pour it over the entire sink. Take out drain stopper and replace with a new one. Take a heated iron that has already been heated, unplug it and go over the whole sink with it.

MICROWAVES

Clean thoroughly being careful to clean under the rim. Place a cup of water until it becomes steam and fills the whole inside with steam (approximately for fifteen minutes). Put in a second cup in a different area (since the point where the first cup rested did not get kashered) and repeat the process. Wipe out carefully again remove the glass bottom and pour boiling water on the area previously covered by it.

COUNTERTOPS

Clean thoroughly, pour boiling water over it and go over with an iron that has already been heated but is now unplugged. This procedure can only be applied in the case of formica or metal sinks. In the case of wooden countertops they must cleaned thoroughly, they should be drenched with EASY OFF and let it sit for two hours. Wipe off and spray again, leave for two hours, wipe off and pour boiling water over it.

UTENSILS

If one piece, clean thoroughly, make sure all grease and dirt has been removed; place item in boiling water and make sure water is boiling before and after. Make sure water completely surrounds item. This applies only to items that are one piece rather than being made up of multiple pieces in which a competent rabbinical authority should be consulted.

POTS

If a handle or any other part can possibly be unscrewed, do so; otherwise, burn lightly with a hand torch where the handle meets the pot until no more smoke comes out. Clean thoroughly, and submerge entirely in boiling water (make sure water is still boiling during submersion)

DISHWASHERS

Only metals can be kashered by following this procedure, take all non metal objects such as racks and replace them. Clean the remains thoroughly, run a complete cycle with LIME AWAY. Drain the water and repeat the LIME AWAY cycle twice more.

Q&A

Q) Is there an alternative to waiting 24 hours before kashering?

A) Yes, make sure you put enough ammonia in the kashering water
to smell it; yet, follow instructions and do not exceed
dilution instructions on the bottle.

Q) How do I kasher my favorite frying pan?

A) Things that can not be kashered without sustaining damage
should not be kashered.

Q) How do I kasher my wooden cutting board?

A) Follow same instructions as those for the wooden countertop,
but submerge the whole board in boiling water.

Q) What happens if the object is too large to fit in pot of
boiling water?

A) Submerge first one half then the other.

Q) Is there an alternative to kashering an oven rack without
getting it red hot?

A) Yes, put through a complete self cleaning cycle in the oven of
someone who already keeps kosher.

Q) What materials can be kashered without having to question a
rabbi?

A) Metals and woods that neither broken nor cracked, with all
other materials ask.

Q) How should we kasher items not mentioned in this pamphlet?

A) Before you do anything ask a competent rabbinic authority.

Q) What do I do when everything has been kashered?

A) Make sure you keep separate meat and dairy pots, pans,
dishes, cutlery and other utensils.

Q) What is the reason for this pamphlet?

A) To acquaint the reader with the basics of kashering.

Q) Why should I go to the bother of kashering my kitchen?

A) Because the simple act of keeping this mitzvah will bring closer
to understanding of our rich heritage.

In summary, although we are perfectly well aware of the
difficulties, intellectual as well as emotional that are met
when changing your lifestyle to become an halacha observing
Jew, we hope the above contributed to make things
somewhat easier.

 

 

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