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Koshering Meat

Koshering Meat


"You shall not eat any blood, whether that of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings." (Leviticus 7:26)

For generations, the process of koshering (removing the blood from) meat was the domain of the Jewish homemaker, often involving all the family members in the various steps. Today, rather than being a familiar aspect of the Jewish home, koshering is usually done at the butcher shop beyond sight of the consumer. However, many families still do kosher their meat.

Whether you entrust the koshering of your meat to a qualified butcher or choose to do it yourself, a working knowledge of the process is an important aspect of our understanding of kashrut.

Koshering is the process by which the blood is removed from the flesh of meat and fowl before it is prepared for eating. Only meat from kosher animals, properly slaughtered and with the forbidden parts already removed, may be koshered. The koshering process, known as melichah ("salting"), entails the following steps: washing or rinsing off the meat; soaking it in water; salting it; and rinsing it very well three times.

The complete koshering process should take place within 72 hours of the shechitah; therefore, before koshering, it is imperative to know exactly when the shechitah took place.

Following is a step-by-step guide to koshering. If you are koshering meat for the first time, it is advisable to observe the process being done by an experienced, knowledgeable person.

People on strictly salt-free diets should consult an orthodox rabbi as to how to kosher their meat.


The following guidelines apply to both meat and fowl. There are extensive preparations for fowl which are described in Koshering Fowl.

Handling The Meat or Fowl: After receiving meat or fowl from the butcher, it must be handled properly until after it is koshered. Meat and blood drippings should not come into contact with any other food. However, the meat may be put into the refrigerator if it is covered well on all sides so that it doesn't leak.

Meat or fowl must be fully defrosted, and if very cold it should be allowed to stand a while at room temperature. It should not be placed near a fire or come into contact with hot water since this cooks the blood in and the salt will not be effective in drawing it out. In addition, it should not come into contact with any salt before the process begins.

If the meat is to be ground, koshering must take place before grinding. The head and internal organs of the animal must be removed before koshering. To determine which parts can be used and how to prepare them, consult a qualified rabbi.

Equipment Needed

The following items should be used exclusively for meat that has not yet been koshered. One should take into consideration the amount of meat to be koshered when determining whether the room one is working in has ample space and proper facilities. If extra counter space is needed, cover all counters so that no blood can drip through.

Knife - to cut out blood clots or to cut large pieces of meat into pieces small enough to handle easily.

Water - to soak, rinse and wash off the meat. Water used in the koshering process should be at room temperature.

Pail or Basin - in which to soak the meat.

Coarse Salt - to draw out the blood. Thin table salt is not good because it melts into the meat and does not draw out the blood. Neither should the crystals be so large that they roll off the meat.

Board or Rack - to place salted meat on. This can be made of any material, such as wood or formica. A perforated board with many holes, or a rack with slats, is excellent so that the blood can flow out. If the board has grooves or is flat, it should be placed on a slant to enable the blood to flow down. The board should not have bumps or cracks that would allow blood to collect.

Basin, Sink or Tub - for the board to be placed on so that the blood can drip into it. Drippings make a sink non-kosher, therefore, a kosher sink should not be used.

Lighting - During the complete koshering process, be sure the room is well lit.


It is important to follow each step in the process carefully, bearing in mind the various time factors. The koshering process requires one's undivided attention, so distractions should be eliminated as much as possible. If any questions or problems arise along the way, do not hesitate to seek rabbinic guidance.

Step 1 - Preliminary Washing: The meat must be washed very well to remove all visible blood. All blood clots or discolorations, (black, dark, red, etc.) should be cut out before washing.

Step 2 - Soaking: The meat should be immersed in room temperature water for at least I /2 hour. If the meat was accidentally left soaking for 24 consecutive hours, this meat becomes non-kosher and cannot be used.

After the meat has been soaked, it may be cut into smaller pieces if desired. It then would be necessary to rinse each cut piece very well, especially the newly cut ends. The meat does not have to be soaked again.

Step 3- Salting: Before salting, the meat must be washed off. (One may use the same water in which it was soaked.) Then, inspect the meat to be sure that there is no visible blood. Shake off excess water and allow the meat to sit for a short period of time so that the salt does not dissolve too easily. However, the meat should remain damp enough for the salt to stick to it.

Salt the meat thoroughly on all sides, but not so thickly that the blood would be prevented from flowing out. The salted meat should remain on the board for a minimum of one hour. If it remaines in salt for twelve hours or more, this may render it un-kosher. Consult a qualified rabbi.

If a piece of meat falls off the board (while the salt was still on), it should be returned immediately, preferably to a separate board. It must be kept apart from the rest of the meat throughout the remaining process, and rabbinic guidance is necessary.

Bones are koshered just like meat and together with the rest of the meat. However, if the bones have no meat on them, they should be kept on top or on the side of the board during the koshering process so that no blood from the other pieces of meat reaches them.

In placing the salted pieces of meat on the salting board, one should be sure that nothing blocks or interferes with the free draining of the blood, since this would defeat the whole purpose of salting. If there is insufficient room on the board, the pieces may be placed on top of each other, as long as there is no place for blood to collect. Since the blood content varies according to the type of meat (e.g., chicken contains less blood than beef), consult a qualified rabbi as to how to place the meat on the board when koshering different types of meat simultaneously.

Step 4 - Triple Rinsing: After the meat has lain in salt the required period of time, rinse it well. Rub off and remove the salt from all sides. This is done three separate times.

The first time, the meat should be rinsed under running water, and rubbed while under the water. Turn it constantly so that all sides come into contact with the water.

The second and third times, the meat may either be rinsed again under running water, or soaked in a clean basin of fresh water. The basin must be rinsed out separately each time, and fresh water used for both the second and third rinsing. If using a basin, pour the water into it before placing the meat in it.

The meat is now ready for use in the kosher kitchen.

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Robert Fisher kings park,ny June 5, 2017

Is it necessary to kasher chicken livers that are broiled? Reply

Simcha Bart for June 7, 2017
in response to Robert Fisher:

If they have been broiled in the manner necessary to remove all the blood, it is ready to eat once it has been rinsed 3 times. Please see our section on Koshering liver for further details of how this is done. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for February 6, 2017

Re: Question regarding critics at PETA If the animal is rendered paralyzed before it is slaughtered, it is not considered kosher. Also, we go out of our way to avoid eating meat from animals with antibiotics, hormones, and a whole slew of other additives. I can't imagine injecting anything into the animal's brain would go over very well. Reply

Paul Hinton Philadelphia Pa. February 5, 2017

Question regarding critics at PETA. They claim mistreatment of cattle due to pain and suffering in the Kosher process. Could Novocaine be used injected directly into the brain of the animal? Would this render it not kosher? Reply

Lisa Luton February 6, 2016

boiling Can pre salted meat from a kosher butcher be simply boiled in water and the broth discarded? Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via March 20, 2014

To Karen After the koshering process, the meat and poultry is rinsed off and all salt should be removed. How well it is rinsed depends on the butcher I guess, so you may want to contact the butcher and inquire about that.

There are steps you can take at home as well. When buying kosher poultry and meat, soak it in water and replace several times. When cooking, do not add salt. When eating out in restaurants, it may pay to have a talk with the chef beforehand, nowadays there are so many different food needs that chefs are quite used to accomodating their clients.

Keep in mind that many kosher meat eating people have to watch their sodium's certainly long as the rest of the diet is a healthful one.

Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

You may want to contact Wise Kosher and for information, they are smaller kosher meat companies. Reply

Karen NYC March 20, 2014

residual salt after kashering I am on a salt restricted diet. How much salt is left in the meat after kashering? In addition, many chefs additionally brine kosher meat such as chicken, turkey or brisket, with salt and spices, thus adding to residual salt. How can I find out about what I am being exposed to? Reply

Gershon KS July 18, 2013

To Adriana The Star K has a wonderful article on this called "Kosher Chickens: From Coop to Soup." Google the term and check out the second part of the article where this is discussed, Reply

Adriana Perth, Western Australia July 16, 2013

Bruises in chicken? Hi,
Could you please tell me if I buy a kosher chicken and when I'm cleaning it I find that the meat has a couple of big bruises, is the meat still kosher or not?
Thanks a lot and kind regards,

Josh P. July 9, 2013

Source for lighting It seems to me that the instruction to use a well-lit room is for sure more common sense than Halacha; the koshering process requires repeated visual inspection, which is significantly easier to achieve when you can see the meat. Reply

David Chester Petach Tikva May 2, 2013

After Koshering with Washing, Soaking and Salting I find that when the washed and cut beef is placed in a strainer and kept in the refrigator, prior to being cooked, more blood-colored water gathers in the receptical I place below the strainer. Surely this shows that some blood still remains in the meat.

Is it necessary to repeat the koshering process again and how much redness in the water is acceptable? Reply

Double AA March 12, 2013

Source for lighting requirement Hi Thank you for this interesting article. Can you please provide me with a source for your claim "During the complete koshering process, be sure the room is well lit"? I'm having trouble tracking one down. Thanks. Reply

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