Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Kosher Kitchen: Part 1

B"H


The Kosher Kitchen

A kosher home is an important element in the foundation of Jewish life. Whether you are embarking on the exciting step of setting up a newly kosher kitchen or have been keeping kosher for years, the following step-by-step guide will prove most helpful.

The decision to make one’s home kosher is indeed a big one, but it need not be overwhelming. Help is available at all stages. Before long, “keeping kosher” will be second nature to you, an integral part of your life as a homemaker and as a Jew.

Becoming Kosher: Any kitchen can be made kosher. Whether your kitchen is up-to-the minute in fashionable design or a relic of the 1920’s, whether you have a spacious “great room” or a tiny galley kitchen, you can readily adapt it to kosher practices.

Read the following guide and the preceding pages carefully. Then contact a qualified person to answer any questions you may have and help you take the next steps. The Chabad representative in your area will be happy to assist you in transforming your kitchen, as will most Orthodox Rabbis. Often it is the Rabbi’s wife or a knowledgeable woman with the practical, hands-on experience of keeping kosher who will provide the most help.

How to Begin: Even before your kitchen is made kosher, begin preparing for the change. Buy only foods which are certified kosher. Begin to keep meat and dairy separate. Many people use disposable utensils just before going kosher. Remove all questionable foods. Before making the kitchen kosher, discard all foods prepared in the pre-kosher kitchen.

Inventory of Kitchen Items: One of the first things that the person who is helping you to become kosher will do is divide all the items in your kitchen into two categories: those which can no longer be used in a kosher kitchen, and those which can be used after undergoing the various procedures of koshering (making kosher). Some new purchases will undoubtedly be necessary. New items may include dishes, some additional pots, plastic drain boards, and basins for the sink.

Many dishes and utensils require immersion in a Mikvah before being used. Decide which cabinets you will use for the newly separated meat and dairy dishes. Labeling these storage areas is a good idea.

Koshering Utensils: Many of the utensils in your kitchen will continue to be used after undergoing a process called koshering. There are several methods of koshering, including heating the item with a blowtorch or immersing in boiling water. The method used depends upon the type of utensil and how it has been used. After deciding with your Rabbi which utensils will be koshered, an appointment should be made for him to come and kasher your kitchen.

To prepare for the procedure, clean all parts of the kitchen well. Counters, tables, ovens, stoves and refrigerator should be perfectly clean. Scrub utensils and set them aside. Twenty-four hours prior to koshering, the stove, oven and broilers should not be turned on, and hot water should not be poured into the sink.

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