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How should strawberries be checked for bugs?

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www.OUKosher.org

  

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Strawberries-Common (short stem) and Long Stem

Description:

Red, juicy and conically shaped, the strawberry is a member of the rose family and has been cultivated for centuries. Strawberries vary in size, shape and color (some are off-white or yellowish). In general, the flavor of the smaller berries is better than that of the larger varieties with the latter often tasting watery. Fresh strawberries are available year-round in many regions of the country, with the peak season from April to June.

Infestation:

Strawberries can be infested with aphids, small mites and thrips. These insects are found primarily under the green leafy crown at the top of the strawberries. They can also be nestled on the surface of the berry. The insects tend to migrate from the top of the strawberry downward.

Inspection:

Common Strawberries

  1. If the green crown is to be removed, do so carefully without making a hole in the top of the strawberry. If a hole was made, the strawberry should then be cut in half, allowing you to wash both the inside and outside of the strawberry.
  2. Briefly soak berries in a Solution of cold water and. vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
  3. Allow the berries to soak for a few minutes.
  4. Carefully wash off the entire surface of the strawberry.
  5. Gently dry each strawberry. They may be used without inspection.

Alternative Method:

  1. Carefully remove the green leaf of the strawberry without making a hole in the top of the strawberry. If a hole was made, the strawberry should then be cut in half, allowing both the inside and outside of the strawberry to be washed.
  2. Rub the surface of each individual berry while holding it under a stream of running water. Careful attention should be paid to the area beneath the green leaf at the top of the berry.

Inspection:

Long Stem Strawberries

The beauty of highly priced long stem strawberries may be marred by contact with water and/or the removal of its green crown. We therefore recommend the following washing procedure.

  1. Taking an individual strawberry in hand, lift the green leafy crown at the top of the berry and, with a soft brush, e.g., soft bristle paintbrush or women’s make-up brush, brush off entire surface of strawberry.
  2. Each berry should be carefully inspected under strong light. Thrips may crawl into the crevices of the strawberry seeds. The entire surface area must be visually inspected. A magnifying glass can be a most helpful tool for easy identification of insects. We are not searching for insects that are invisible to the unaided eye. Magnification is recommended here to help alleviate eyestrain and speed the process of inspection.

If the strawberries are found to be heavily infested, the entire pallet should not be used.

Republished with permission from www.oukosher.org.


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