How can I 'kosher' my kitchen?
In reference to utensils, koshering denotes a process of cleansing them and making them fit for the use of cooking and serving of kosher food.
Your student Chaplains/local 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 different utensils in 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.
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 water over all parts of it.
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 so for about 1 hour.
To kosher a hob/stove-top, whether electric or gas, clean all parts thoroughly. The hob 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.
Refrigerators should be completely washed down with water and a cleansing agent.
Tablecloths may be koshered by simply laundering them. Used vinyl tablecloth should not be koshered.
A microwave can be koshered by the following process: (a) Clean thoroughly all surfaces, (b) Leave unused for 24 hours, (c) Boil a vessel of water for 10 minutes until the oven fills with steam.
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 Chaplain or Rabbi for each item.
Counter Tops & Tables
These can usually be koshered especially when they are in good condition. First, clean them thoroughly and then pour boiling water , directly from the kettle, over the surfaces.
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 Chaplain for advice.
Crockery and Glass
China and porcelain cannot be easily koshered. Glassware does not absorb and therefore does not need to be koshered. Pyrex and other heatproof glass is considered to absorb and cannot be koshered.
Pots & 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 Chaplain.