I hear stories about people accidentally using a dairy fork with a meat meal, or vice versa, and sticking it in a flower pot to render it kosher. What's the story with planting silverware for kashrut?
Dear Yaakov Bock,
The idea you heard about is often misunderstood. It is called ne'itza (plunging).
Ne'itza is sometimes necessary to cleanse knives of tiny particles of oily residue. This is more true of knives, since people tend to scrub them more gingerly than other silverware. If the knife is plunged into firm earth ten times it is assumed to be clean.
This only cleans the surface. It does not, however, expunge an absorbed flavor. For instance, if a milk knife cuts hot meat, the knife absorbs meat flavor. Plunging it into firm earth doesn't help in this case; rather, the knife must be cleaned and immersed in boiling water.
- Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah 89