The basic principle to bear in mind when koshering is that the way the
non-kosher food substance is absorbed into the walls of the utensil is the way
it is expelled. Hence, a pot used for stewing can be koshered by boiling;
a pan used for frying or baking can be koshered only by blowtorching
(direct contact with heat).
HOW TO KOSHER COOKING APPLIANCES
Stoves may be divided into three parts: the oven, the cook top, and the
broiler. No part of the stove can be koshered unless it is completely clean, and
free from any baked-on food or grease.
Gas and Electric Oven
The most difficult item to kosher properly is the oven, because it
requires an absolutely thorough cleansing. Please note the following steps in
- The oven should not be used for twenty-four hours prior to koshering.
- Spray all internal surfaces of the oven with a chemical cleanser to
remove all surface dirt.
- Disassemble the inner parts of the oven: remove grates, the shelf
separating the oven from broiler, remove the entire broiler and its drawer.
- Check all of the above surfaces for dirt. Use chemical cleanser a
second time, scrub with steel wool, screwdriver, and/or a scraper to remove
remaining spots. Carefully check difficult areas (use a flashlight, if
necessary): internal corners, door edges, the area behind the flame burners,
and the grooves of the broiler tray shelves. CAUTION: Do not disturb the
thermostat wire. The interior of oven should look new.
- Reassemble the oven. Set the oven dial to broil for one hour.
Note: Unless the broiler tray is blowtorched until it glows red, food
should never be placed directly on it. Cover the tray with the aluminum foil
or place food in a pot or pan on the broiler tray.
- Some have the custom of blowtorching the interior surfaces of the oven
in order to assure the removal of any remaining dirt.
In a self-cleaning oven, the self cleaning cycle will clean and kosher the
oven simultaneously. This is true as well for convection ovens with a
self-cleaning feature. To kosher the oven, follow the manufacturers instructions
for the self-cleaning cycle.
In continuous cleaning ovens, one cannot assume that such ovens are actually clean simply because of claims made by the manufacturer. A visual inspection is required. Since caustic or abrasive oven cleaners (e.g. Easy Off) cannot be used
without destroying the continuous clean properties of the oven, a non-abrasive
and non-caustic cleaner must be used. Grease spots will usually disappear if the
top layer of grease is cleaned with Fantastic and a nylon brush. Turn the oven
on to 450º F for several hours, so that the continuous clean mechanism can
work. Try to remove those spots which don’t disappear even after the use of
the continuous clean mode. If that doesn’t work, if they are dark and crumble
when scratched, they may be disregarded. Now the oven is ready for koshering.
Turn oven to highest setting, either 550º or broil, for forty minutes.
Gas Range Tops
- Disassemble and remove grates (spiders), burner jets, drip trays, and
the entire oven top if possible.
- Clean with steel wool, soap and water.
- Clean the entire surface under top of the oven.
- Reassemble the cooking surface and ignite the fire under the grates at
top heat until they glow red (15-20 minutes). If possible, invert grates so
that they get closer to the fire source.
The grates can also be koshered by insertion into the oven
after they have been thoroughly cleaned. The grates can then be koshered
simultaneously with the oven.
Electric Range Tops
Koshering a smooth top electric range, e.g. glass, Corning, Halogen or Ceran, is
more problematic. The elements of the stove can be turned on until they come to
a glow. The burner areas are now considered koshered. Regarding the rest of the
cook top, the only way to kosher it is to expose the entire surface area to
direct heat until it is hot enough to singe a piece of newspaper upon contact.
This method however, may cause the glass to crack and is therefore not advised.
Consequently, one should keep the area between the burners clean and dry or
avoid placing hot pots on the non-koshered surfaces.
In an electric cook top (coil burners), one only needs to turn on the burners to
a high heat setting for several minutes in order to kosher them.
As mentioned previously, the broiler pan and grill can be koshered only by
using direct heat, using a blowtorch, causing them to glow red. This is
necessary because non-kosher food may have been cooked directly on the pan or
grill. If this method is not feasible, the simplest procedure is to replace the
pan with a new pan and kosher the empty broiler cavity by cleaning and setting
it to broil for forty minutes. If one does not intend to use the broiler, one
may still use the oven, provided that the broiler has been thoroughly cleaned.
Other inserts such as griddles or barbecue broilers which come into direct
contact with food are treated the same as broiler pans. Therefore, they too
would require application of direct heat until the surface glows red. If the
inserts are not going to be used, they only need to be cleaned.
Practical suggestion: It is easiest to determine that metal has been
brought to a glow at night with the lights shut off.
Clean the microwave oven thoroughly and put a vessel with a few ounces of
water in the oven. Allow the water to vaporize into steam.
Microwave models with browning or convection features must be treated like
regular ovens.There is no practical way to kosher them.
HOW TO KOSHER CUTLERY
Cutlery made of one piece of metal can be koshered. However, any utensils
which will be damaged by boiling water cannot be koshered. Any utensils that
have crevices in them that cannot be thoroughly cleaned cannot be koshered.
Utensils with wooden or bone handles which have no crevices in them and will not
be damaged by boiling water, may be koshered. Thoroughly clean the utensils of
food and rust (especially at the joints). Wait twenty-four hours. Kosher the
cutlery by dropping them, one by one, into a pot of boiling water. Make sure
that the water is actually boiling when you place the cutlery in the pot. Remember
that placing the utensils in the pot often lowers the temperature of the water
below the boiling point. The utensils must be left in the pot until the water
bubbles. With the addition of each piece of cutlery be sure the water continues
Large utensils may be koshered in the water, one side at a time. Make certain
that the part that you are immersing is completely surrounded by water.
Remove the utensil and rinse in cold water. To help with removal, use tongs
or a mesh basket. Note: If tongs are used to insert the utensil into the boiling
water, reposition them so that the original area they touched can now be exposed
to the hot water. Return the utensil to the boiling water.
HOW TO KOSHER POTS
In all cases below, thoroughly clean the utensils to be koshered and wait 24
There are two ways to kosher pots:
- This is the same process described above for cutlery, except immersion
is for a longer period of time. Fill a kosher pot with water and boil.
Immerse the pot requiring kosherization for 15 seconds while maintaining a
rolling boil. The pot need not be completely submerged all at once; it can be
immersed piecemeal, lowering each part into the water and keeping it there for
15 seconds. After koshering, rinse the koshered pot in cold water.
- If the pot to be koshered is too big to submerge in another pot, fill it
with water to the very top. Boil the water. Heat a large stone or other piece
of metal. Using a pair of tongs, throw the heated stone or metal into the pot
causing the water to overflow the top of the pot. WARNING: Be very careful not
to get scalded by the boiling water shooting out from the pot. Pour out the
water and rinse the pot with cold water.
If non-kosher food was fried in oil in a frying pan, one can kosher the pan
by heating it to the point that paper will become singed when in contact with
the other side of the heated metal. If it was used without oil, it is not
feasible to kosher it since it must be heated until it glows red-hot which
almost always will ruin the pan. Teflon or enamel coated pots cannot be
HOW TO KOSHER A SINK
A sink made of metal can be koshered by pouring boiling water over the entire
sink. (The water must be boiling right before you pour it.) Porcelain sinks
cannot be koshered.