Soak, salt and rinse

salting poultry
And you must not consume any blood, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. (Lev. 7:26)

Blood is regarded in the Bible as the vital element of all living things.[1] Noah and his descendants are forbidden to consume the blood of animal flesh, as consumption of blood is equated with eating the living animal.[2] The laws of the sacrificial cult stipulated that while the meat is partly burned and partly eaten, the blood is poured away at the base of the altar.

The prohibition against consuming blood, repeated several times in the Bible,[3] is the basis of the detailed laws elaborated in the Talmud concerning the ritual preparation of meat. The Talmud limits the prohibition against consuming blood to blood in the arteries, which is removed by ritual slaughter, and to blood which emerges on the surface of the meat (the blood within the meat itself it permitted.) The procedure for removing the surface blood from meat, or "kashering" as it is known in modern English, involves soaking the meat in water, salting and rinsing (or alternatively, grilling).

The following is a simplified description of the kashering procedure. is not a halakhic (religious ritual) authority, and offers the following as educational information only:

Before the meat and bones are salted they are fully submerged in clean, cold water (in a vessel saved only for this use) for 30 minutes. This soaking removes surface blood and opens the pores, enabling the salt to draw the blood out of the softened meat.

The meat is then placed on a special board, either grooved or perforated, which is slanted, in order to allow the blood to flow down.
The meat is then sprinkled with medium-coarse salt. Fine (table) salt is not used because it dissolves too easily, while salt that is too coarse falls off.

Poultry is opened and salted inside and out. The meat is then left to stand for one hour, after which it is washed two or three times in cold water.
In an emergency, the periods of immersion and salting may be reduced to 15 and 30 minutes respectively. Meat that was slaughtered more than 72 hours earlier as well liver are not treated by salting but must be koshered by roasting over an open flame.

[1] Lev. 17:11; Deut. 12:23-24 [back]
[2] Gen. 9:4 [back]
[3] Lev. 7:26-27; 17:10-14 [back]
When I was a toddler living in London, Ontario, Canada, my mother arranged with great effort and difficulty to have unkashered meat delivered from Toronto. This so that she could demonstrate to her young'uns the process of kashering — a central part of their Jewish education. Today, almost the entire family is vegetarian. [editor]



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