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Heating Latkes in Non-Kosher Microwave

My office has a mix of Jews and Gentiles. I want to bring in some frozen latkes, heat them in the company’s microwave, which is non-kosher, and leave the plate of latkes in the company kitchen. I know that non-Jews will eat from it, but non-observant Jews may eat from it as well. Even if I place a notice (email, or a sign) saying that the latkes are non-kosher, chances are that these Jews may eat some, anyway. Can I still make these latkes for the mixed crowd? (Note, I can’t kasher the microwave in advance.)


Yes, this is fine. If you want to ensure that the latkes are fully kosher, you can use one of the two following options:

1. Wrapping the latkes.

The wrapping ensures that no hevel (steam) comes into contact with the non-kosher walls of the microwave and then with the food. The contact of steam with the walls and with the food ‘contaminates’ the food with the taste of non-kosher food. The wrapping, which ensures that there is no contact, is the solution to this problem.

Note that the wrapping must be leak-proof, such as two Ziploc bags or Saran Wrap. Some prefer a double wrap.

2. Kashering the microwave oven.

Many microwave ovens without browning elements or convection can be easily kashered: If the walls do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit during cooking, one only needs to clean it well, and no further action is required. To check whether your microwave gets hot, cook a potato in it for about five minutes and then open the door before it has finished its cycle. Then immediately check the temperature of the ceiling and walls. If you can keep your hands there for 15 seconds, the oven walls never reached yad soledes bo and it is sufficient to clean the inside thoroughly with a cleanser so that the surfaces are clean.

If the microwave walls get hot, place a cup or bowl of water inside and boil for at least twenty minutes.

If you do neither of these options, the latkes still won’t be “treif”, provided you use your own plate, since they are dry and won’t absorb taste from the non-kosher microwave. The options above are lechatchilah, if possible.

Best wishes, and sorry for lateness of reply.

Best wishes.

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