Kashering a kitchen is a very easy process based on thoughtful cleaning.
Similar to the Buddhist practice of working meditation (zazen), kashering includes:
- Cleaning a kitchen fully
- Immersing cooking and eating utensils in a hot pot of water (mikvah)
- Heating cooking surfaces for one hour, including stoves, ovens and grills
- Taking the utensils to the mikvah for a spiritual cleansing
Step 1: Get Organized
Simplification is a great way to start the kosher process. You’re planning a new eating life — so why not have a new kitchen, too? Getting rid of clutter, difficult-to-clean gadgets that you never use, decorations that are supposed to hold food, but somehow never do…these are all great ways to clear your mind and put yourself in the right place before taking on this new lifestyle.
Step 2: Clean Your Kitchen
There’s no magical way to clean your kitchen. But thanks to Martha Stewart, we can offer a few tips. Make sure that everything is clean, including all your dishes and utensils that you plan to kasher.
Step 3: Koshering!
There are a few ways to kosher your kitchen including:
- Blowtorch: heating a pan or cooking surface until it is “red hot”. A great tip for this is to wrap your cooking item in kosher aluminum foil before you start
- Oven: heat metal hot enough in an oven that it reaches 451 degrees (the temperature that paper burns). Self-cleaning cycle on an oven reaches this temperature, so this is a simple way to kosher
- Hot Water: boiling a large pot of water, then placing individual items like flatware, plates, glassware, etc. one at a time. You can also use this same method for sinks, counter tops, and other large areas that can’t be heated through fire; just pour the hot water from the pot on the surface
No matter which method you use for which item, make sure that you follow normal safety procedures!
Step 4: Mikvah
Once the kitchen utensils have been cleaned and heated, it’s time to take them to the mikvah for a “spiritual cleaning”.
A mikvah is a natural, stationary body of water including lakes and oceans. Also, many communities have formal mikvahs inside synagogues. Whether you choose to go something outdoors or a formal setting doesn’t matter. Pick what is meaningful to you!
Here are the steps:
- Place all the items on a wire screen, or a mesh bag. The goal is to make sure that they are completely submerged and completely touched by the water. If you go to an indoor mikvah, the mikvah attendants will usually have these kind of items. Call ahead, just to double check.
- Say the blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai Elohainu melech ha olam asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vitzivanuh al tevilat kelim.
Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the immersion of a vessel [or vessels].
- If you are in an indoor mikvah that is also used for ritual immersion by people, then out of respect, say the blessing in the room next to the mikvah, and not the mikvah room itself. If you are using something outdoors, then you can say it anywhere.
- Remaining silent, dip the utensils. And you’re done!