Rav Vaye: Update on Infestation in Summer Fruits

7 Iyar 5774
May 7, 2014

At times, summer fruits are infested and we must carefully inspect them before eating. Fruits grown in private [non-commercial] gardens are significantly more infested. The following information was published this month, Iyar 5774.

How Does One Inspect the Various Fruits??

Watermelon:
Generally assumed to be free of infestation and does not require inspection.

Peaches & Nectarines:
1. Aphis – at times, albeit not often, they are found on the skin of the fruit. Grey in color atop of a red spot. If they are present, they can be removed by simply scratching the fruit with one’s nail of a knife. The red spot does not pose a kashrus issue.
2. If the infestation is internal – one should carefully conduct a visual inspection of the outside of the fruit. If there are dark spots, a small hole, rotted portions, cut the fruit and inspect inside for a possible small worm. Then cut slices by the width of the fruit from the top side near the stem to check if something infiltrated from there. Soft and spotted areas of a fruit should be cut and inspected by bending outward to visualize if something is inside. (They will generally dig into the fruit to hide).
One is advised to eat a peach by cutting sections with a knife rather than biting into it permitting a visual inspection prior to ingesting.

Bananas:
At times, a grey colored insect is found on the peel and it will cling to the fruit when peeled. One should shake the cluster over a white surface and if one detects small grey insects [running quickly] then wash the bananas before peeling.

Cherries:
Cut the fruit and remove the pit. Turn the fruit outside and inspect visually, looking for a small white worm in the meat of the fruit.

Melon:
Generally speaking free of insects. However, if one detects a soft area one should inspect that area for white worms inside the fruit. (Especially in the stem area)

Apricots:
Cut the fruit and remove the pit. Look for a brownish-red caterpillar type bug. If the fruit is soft, fold outward and inspect the inner fruit for a white crawling insect. It is preferable to cut each half into three sections and inspect). Reddish or brownish dots on the skin are not a kashrus issue.

Grapes:
1. Remove damaged grapes. Large clusters should be broken into a few smaller ones.
2. Soak clusters in water with a small amount of dish soap for three minutes.
3. Rinse very well while rubbing the sides of the grapes and between them under a stream of water.
4. Step three is repeated three times.
5. Green grapes – when one eats them check each grape for spots, holes or a dark silhouette. If present, cut the grape at that location to visually inspect.
6. Dark grapes or Arab-grown grapes – we cut and inspect 10% of the grapes to visually inspect inside. If there is infestation, then all of the grapes must be cut and inspected before eating.
7. Wine grapes – they do not have to be inspected. After making wine, filter the product with a small holed sifter like the size used for flour.

Plums:
1. Aphis – a grayish color found in the fruit at times near the top where it was cut from the tree. It is removed by using one’s nail or a knife.
If the infestation is internal –
1. Round plum: cut a slice widthwise from the top and check for signs of insect infiltration. Check the outer skin for soft spots or a sign of infiltration. If the latter is present, cut at that point and visually inspect inside.
2. Sagiv (long) plum: Cut along the length of the line and remove the pit and inspect visually inside.

Strawberries:
Too infested to inspect or clean

Apples:
It is recommended to cut the apple prior to eating.
Anna: There are at times spots or depressions in the skin. Peel at that location and inspect. On the skins and on apples grown in private gardens at times a grey aphis is detected, generally with a reddish circle around them. They can be removed with one’s nail or a knife. The reddish circles are not a kashrus issue.

Rabbi Moshe Vaye
Machon Bedikas HaMazone (Institute for Food Inspection)

 

 

One comment

  • Nilza Karl
    May 7, 2014 - 08:05 | Permalink

    How does one inspect fresh figs and dates. Thank you!

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