Making Meat Kosher: Between Slaughtering and Cooking

Blood must be removed from kosher meat, usually by salting and soaking, before it may be cooked and consumed.

Print this page Print this page

Once an animal considered acceptable for consumption has been slaughtered according to the prescribed method, there is still more to be done before the meat is considered kosher and fit to eat. This article covers only some of the provisions of the law in this area; additional details may be found in Rabbi Appel's book and other written sources, but questions about specific instances should be directed to a competent rabbinic authority. It should be noted that in many cases kosher butchers have already done the salting and soaking required before meat is sold to a consumer. Reprinted, with permission from Ktav Publishing, from The Concise Code of Jewish Law, Volume 1.

Prohibition of Eating Blood

1. The blood of cattle, beasts, and fowl, whether of a clean or an unclean species, is forbidden, as it is written, "Therefore I said unto the children of Israel: No soul of you shall eat blood… Ye shall not eat the blood of any flesh… Whosoever eateth it shall be cut off" (Leviticus 17:12, 14). Apart from removing the veins and blood vessels, the blood must also be extracted from the meat through salting or broiling, as will be explained later. 

Salting and Soaking of Meat

1. It is forbidden to cook meat that has not been koshered by salting it and drawing out the blood. However, before the meat is salted it must be thoroughly rinsed with water, and soaked entirely submerged in water for half an hour. All blood that is visible should be washed off the meat. In the case of fowl, the place where the incision was made in slaughtering it should be washed, and any blood visible inside the fowl must also be washed away. Lumps of coagulated blood resulting from a wound, that are sometimes found in cattle and fowl, must be cut away and removed before the meat is soaked. If the water is very cold, it should first be put in a warm place to take the chill out before the meat is soaked in it, because the cold water would harden the meat and the salt would then fail to draw out the blood.

2. If one forgot and allowed the meat to soak for twenty-four hours, the meat as well as the vessel in which it was soaked are forbidden and must not be used. If liver is soaked in water for twenty-four hours, a competent authority should be consulted.

steak3. On the eve of the Sabbath when there is not enough time, or on another occasion when one is pressed for time, it is sufficient to wash the meat thoroughly and to let it soak in water for a while, and when the water is clear of blood the meat may be salted.

4. If, after the soaking, a piece of meat is cut in two, the place of the incision must be thoroughly washed in order to rinse off any blood that may be there

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Rabbi Gersion Appel, (1916-2008) D.H.L., Ph.D., served congregations in Worcester, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; New York City and Kew Gardens, New York; and was Professor of Philosophy at Stern College of Yeshiva University. He is the author of A Philosophy of Mitzvot.