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Kosher Kitchen

Kosher Kitchen

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Kosher Kitchen


Keeping a Kosher lifestyle far from the Jewish home is not as difficult as it sounds. It’s easier if you’re in an organised Jewish student house or sharing digs with other Jewish students. In a worst-case scenario however, you may be sharing with non-Jewish roommates and the whole kitchen is strictly NK. Even in this tricky situation, it is still possible to keep Kosher by following a few simple guidelines;

Utensils: Of course you will need your own pans, plates and cutlery. If you have access to Kosher meat you will need a second set of separate equipment. Disposable plates and cutlery will make life easier, especially with regards to washing up, but this can get expensive and as we see not essential.

The Stove: Purchase a small square of metal sheeting, say 9”x 9”, available from most household stores (ironmongers) and use beneath the pan as a separation between your kosher pot and non-kosher stove.

Surfaces: Use silver foil to cover an area of the counter surface or draining board when using for Kosher.

Microwave: Ideally purchase your own microwave (available for less than £30 from Argos!). This can be used for both meat and milk (at different times) provided one category is always kept covered.

Oven: Failing this, one could use a non-Kosher oven (or microwave) provided Kosher food is always double wrapped. For a conventional oven, silvered paper, roasting bags are ideal for this purpose. In a microwave, plastic bags, boxes, cling film or some combination forming two layers will allow you to cook Kosher food in a non-Kosher environment.

Washing Up: Washing up should not be placed in a non-Kosher sink but can be washed by holding above the sink under the running water. Ideally purchase plastic washing up bowls (milk and meat).

Cold Storage: Kosher products should be stored so that the food will not touch or get mixed with non-Kosher products. Meat items should always be sealed. Suggestion; purchase a large plastic box and thereby grab half a fridge shelf for yourself!

Making Your Kitchen Kosher

Koshering Utensils

In reference to utensils, “koshering” denotes a process of cleaning them and making them fit for the use of cooking and serving of kosher food.

Your Rabbi will be more than happy to assist and advise you in what can often seem a mammoth task but here are some of the basic guidelines of how to “kosher your kitchen.”

The basic principle is that you kosher an object by using the process through which it originally absorbed the non-kosher substance, i.e. vessels or surfaces which came into contact with hot liquids, must be koshered with boiling water and those that became non-kosher through the use of dry heat, must be koshered with fire.

SINKS

The first thing to do is to clean the sink really thoroughly. The inside of the sink should be considered as non-kosher and therefore utensils should not be placed in it.

Therefore in order to use the sink, separate bowls should be used for meat and milk. It is usual to use a colour code, for example blue for milk and red for meat with separate matching cleaning utensils, draining boards and racks, and drying up cloths.

If the sink is made of stainless steel however, it can be koshered by leaving the sink for 24 hours and then pouring boiling hot water directly from the kettle over all parts of it.

OVEN

The entire oven must first be completely cleaned. Parts which cannot be fully cleaned, must be blow torched. The oven must then be brought to its highest temperature and left for about 1 hour.

HOB

To kosher a hob, whether electric or gas, clean all parts thoroughly. The bob should then be covered with a metal sheet and the heat or flame turned on full for about fifteen minutes. Intense heat will be produced and care should be taken that the surrounding areas are protected.

FRIDGE/ FREEZER

Refrigerators should be completely washed down with water and a cleansing agent.

TABLECLOTHS

Tablecloths may be koshered, by simply laundering them. Used vinyl tablecloth should not be koshered.

ELETRICAL EQUIPMENT

A microwave can be koshered by the following process:

  1. Clean thoroughly all surfaces, taking particular care with the vent and corners.
  2. Leave unused for 24 hours.
  3. Boil a vessel of water in the microwave for 10 minutes or so until the oven fills with steam.

A deep-fat fryer cannot generally be koshered.

Other pieces of electrical equipment (e.g. mixers, blenders) may be kosherable. However, due to the differences between models it is best to refer to your Rabbi for each item.

COUNTER TOPS AND TABLES

These can usually be koshered provided they are in good condition. First clean them thoroughly and then pour boiling water, directly from the kettle, over the surfaces.

CUTLERY

Cutlery made of stainless steel can be koshered. Clean it very carefully, leave for 24 hours and then immerse in a kosher pot of boiling water (a sieve or metal basket is good for this). The cutlery should then be removed and rinsed in cold water. Although this sounds complicated, in practice it isn’t, but it may be easier to buy new sets of cutlery. If the cutlery is in two pieces or made of other material, consult your Rabbi for advice.

CROCKERY AND GLASS

China and porcelain cannot be easily koshered. Pyrex and other heatproof glass is considered to absorb and cannot be koshered. Glassware which is used cold only does not need to be koshered.

POTS AND PANS

The laws of koshering pots and pans are complex and therefore it is best to buy new pots and pans. Where it is necessary to kosher such items contact your Rabbi for guidance and assistance.

MIKVAH — THE IMMERSING OF UTENSILS

Utensils used for cooking, eating or direct storage of food which are made of metal or glass should be dipped into a Mikvah (ritual bath) before use. This is nothing to do with the act of “koshering” non-kosher vessels but it is required even for new kitchen utensils. Utensils made of plastic do not require immersion. China should be immersed but without a Bracha.

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