This section of the Kosher Australia website provides advice on how to keep a Kosher kitchen. Also see the section on an overview of Kosher. Some of its contents may surprise you.
KASHERING (Kosher Sterilisation/Preparation): Unless the utensils or equipment are new, they will need to be kashered. Bench tops and tabletops will also need to be kashered.
Crockery cannot be kashered and will need to be purchased new. In most cases cutlery can be kashered.
Most newly purchased crockery, cutlery or utensils will require tevilah (dipping in a mikveh). See the section on Tevilas Kelim which discusses which items need to be 'toiveled'.
For expensive pre-used china, please contact your orthodox Rabbi for a ruling.
Your refrigerator may be prepared by simply cleaning it thoroughly and washing down all the surfaces with detergent.
As kashering is complex, please contact our office on 1300KOSHER to arrange for one of our experts to Kasher your kitchen. A nominal charge may apply.
Kosher requires a separation between dairy and meat (including poultry). They may not be cooked together, eaten together at the same meal nor mixed together.
Waiting: It is customary to wait between meat and dairy for periods ranging from 1, 3 or 6 hours (depending on custom), and washing out one's mouth (and waiting for ½ hour or up to 1 hour, depending on custom) between dairy and meat (except when the dairy is 'hard' cheese such as Swiss or most Cheddar or mozzarella that has not been melted where the wait is similar to that of from meat to milk).
Dishes and utensils: The most manageable solution to enforcing this divide is to have separate crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils.
Sinks: It is best to have separate sinks. If this is not feasible, then we suggest that either wash up in two separate (dairy and meaty) plastic wash bowls; or dishes and utensils should be placed and washed on a rack, so as not to touch the sink. Separate racks are to be used for meat and dairy use. Care must be taken to make sure that the water should not be allowed to rise to reach the level of the rack, and dishes cannot be soaked in a sink used for both dairy and meat.
Dishwasher: If you wish to use a dishwasher, the best way is to have separate machines or only use the machine for your nominated status of either dairy of meat. If you wish to wash dairy and meat dishes (separately) in a single dishwasher, a Rabbi would have to be consulted.
Oven: Many people have two ovens - one for dairy and one for meat. If you don't have two ovens then you will need to designate your oven as being either dairy or meat. When you use the oven for the 'non-designated' food type, the oven will need to be cleared of surface dirt or the food will need to be covered. Food from the 'designated' type can be cooked uncovered.
Meat needs to be purchased Kosher (see the search section for listings of Kosher butchers). Kosher meat types are addax, antelope, bison, cow, deer, gazelle, giraffe, goat, ibex and sheep. Kosher poultry types are chicken, domestic (not wild) duck, goose and turkey.
The preparation of Kosher meat is complex and in practice, all meat sold from butcher stores with the exception of liver, will be suitable for immediate use. We recommend that only fully kashered/broiled livers should be purchased though Kosher butchers do sell raw livers with instructions on kashering. (The kashering of livers should take place within three days of slaughter.)
For Kosher fish types, please see the category entitled 'Fish' (login required).
Vegetables and fruit need to be checked for infestation and eggs for blood spots. Please see the relevant sections in the Guide for more information.
Bread may contain non-Kosher bread improver, fats and other non-Kosher ingredients. Therefore, all ingredients must be checked. Additionally, while it is recommended that you only purchase bread that has been baked by a Jew (Pas Yisroel), we also list Pas Palter. For a list of Kosher bakeries and breads (Pas Yisroel and Pas Palter), please see the category on Bread (login required).
The Code of Jewish Law prohibits eating bread that is baked with dairy ingredients such as milk powder as bread is frequently eaten at all meals, and the Rabbis were concerned that one might inadvertently eat dairy bread with a meat meal. There are two exceptions: if the bread is baked in an unusual shape or design indicating that it is dairy, or if the loaf is so small that it would be consumed at one meal.
If you bake your own bread, biscuits or cakes, depending on the volume of the dough, you may need to take 'Challah'. Please see the section 'How To Take Challah'.
While cooking and baking is prohibited on Shabbos (the Sabbath) there are many laws that relate to food preparation e.g. how to mash eggs, prepare salads, open cans, etc. Please consult your Rabbi.
Cooking is permitted on Yom Tov (religious festivals) under certain conditions.
During Pesach (Passover) we are prohibited from consuming leaven products including bread and many flours. Please see our Pesach Guide for more information.
Caterers, restaurants, and hotels must be supervised by a reputable Orthodox Rabbinic authority. In Melbourne, these will be supervised by either Kosher Australia or Adass Kashrus.
Don't assume that a venue is Kosher simply because a Kosher impression is created by an advertisement or by a statement, such as, "we serve a kosher clientele” or “we are Kosher friendly” or “we serve Kosher style”.
Often 'vegetarian' or 'dairy' restaurants are assumed to be kosher and beyond the need for supervision. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent misconception as most ingredients need to be Kosher approved and even those that are Kosher could be rendered non-kosher when prepared on equipment used for non-kosher food. The use of non-kosher ingredients and utensils have been regularly found in such establishments. Additionally, fish or vegetables cooked in a non-supervised restaurant cannot be accepted as kosher even if the restaurant is advertised as vegetarian or vegan because of the additional problem of 'bishul akum'.