"It's moving, there it is! Oh my god. I'm gonna barf."
May 21, 2020 8:27 AM   Subscribe

TikTokers have recently started saying that you should wash your strawberries in salt water because bugs live inside them. And, as someone who has always washed my strawberries with water only, I thought this was total BS...UNTIL I TRIED IT (Krista Torres, BuzzFeed)
posted by Johnny Wallflower (147 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wait until everyone learns that strawberries are grown in dirt. Dirt! It's dirty by definition!

So what are we calling for here? Spraying so much pesticide on our fruit that a fruit fly that lands on them for a moment will be instantly struck by lightning?
posted by 1adam12 at 8:30 AM on May 21 [66 favorites]


So, a sustainable source of extra protein? Great!
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:32 AM on May 21 [37 favorites]


Look people, getting enough protein is really important.
posted by allegedly at 8:34 AM on May 21 [11 favorites]


awkward nutritional PSA jinx
posted by allegedly at 8:34 AM on May 21 [18 favorites]


I ain't gonna soak my produce in salt water for 30 minutes.
posted by muddgirl at 8:38 AM on May 21 [39 favorites]


So what are we calling for here?

In the (rather overly-breathless and clickbaity) article, it clearly suggests washing produce in salty water - and then rinsing well, of course.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:39 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I had exactly the same reaction: I didn't need to know this, what I didn't know didn't hurt me, and also, secret protein!

Is there any concern about infection? If not, let's just all forget this and enjoy the (enhanced) strawberries.
posted by jb at 8:39 AM on May 21 [17 favorites]


Just start putting "Rejoice! This is a live food" labels on them like kombucha
posted by theodolite at 8:41 AM on May 21 [58 favorites]


Also: mystery solved - this is how fruit flies get into the house! I was so sure that it was spontaneous generation, just like those worms coming out of my cheese.
posted by jb at 8:41 AM on May 21 [37 favorites]


Oh... oh these sweet, Summer children. I have some very bad news for these folks.

You think this is bad, skin flakes? IN EVERYTHING.

And Yeast? Oh gods. Yeast gets in EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE.
posted by strixus at 8:42 AM on May 21 [30 favorites]


Huh. I figured if the bugs were a big enough problem, the kosher authorities would be on it (insects that you can see with the naked eye are a no-go), and actually, yes, there are fairly strict washing procedures for strawberries.
posted by damayanti at 8:45 AM on May 21 [20 favorites]


wait until they hear about the eyebrow mites

(npr link, safe for breakfast)
posted by niicholas at 8:46 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


I took microbiology in college, and I said then and say now: if most people knew the real truth about microorganisms, bacterial or otherwise, they would FLIP OUT.

Like kitchen conditions in restaurants, it's best not to think about it.
posted by corvikate at 8:48 AM on May 21 [29 favorites]


Big bugs eat little bugs.
posted by fairmettle at 8:49 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Eyelash mites are something that I try not to let myself think about.

and yes, now I've shared them all with you. Also, you've just lost the Game.
posted by jb at 8:49 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Look this is really simple. If I can't see the bug or mite or bacteria with my naked eye then I don't care about the bug. If I can see the bug however then that's disgusting and terrible and I care immensely, and the bug should die or should go away.

If spiders want to crawl into my throat while I'm sleeping or mites want to live on my eyebrows that I technically need a microscope to see then have at it, but do not let me fucking catch you while I'm awake and/or can see you with my eyes. The bug will need to die if it has committed the sin of being within my field of vision and either on my skin or on my stuff or in my house. That is my law of bugs.
posted by windbox at 9:01 AM on May 21 [96 favorites]


As my late father might say “it’ll build character” or (interchangeably)” it’ll put hair on your chest.” So ...
posted by terrapin at 9:04 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


>Also: mystery solved - this is how fruit flies get into the house

This happens to us every spring and summer despite repeated attempts to seal out as much as possible but we eat a LOT of fruit and leave it out in fruit bowls and slowly our house turns into some sort of rob zombie film over the course of the next week with all the fruit flies EVERYWHERE
posted by Karaage at 9:05 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


This just in...Organic organisms discover other organic organisms residing in organic organisms. Freak the fuck out.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:05 AM on May 21 [16 favorites]


It's a feature, not a bug
posted by olopua at 9:06 AM on May 21 [129 favorites]


When I was a kid (I know, I know) we ate everything that grew around our place in the country, my grandmother’s farm, wherever...plums, apples, pears, blueberries, wood sorrel....not to mention what we grabbed fresh in the fields... and finding half of a worm or bug after you’d taken a bite was just part of the experience. Not an experience to be sought out, mind you...
So, kids theses days, grr grr, city folk, blah blah.... the circle of life!
L’chaim!
posted by pt68 at 9:06 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


...This. This is what happens when no one grows any of their own food, or has any idea what "organic" means. I'd probably make these weenies scream- I eat the strawberries I grow- without washing them at all! The horror! I pop them right into my mouth!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:07 AM on May 21 [33 favorites]


Honestly, a light salting improves most fruit, so I'm going to try this for *flavor* reasons.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:09 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Big bugs eat little bugs.

and those little bugs eat littler bugs which eat even littler bugs. If you've got a serious problem with getting a little microscopic fauna in yrrr food, I recommend a Pop-Tart only diet, but first you have to freeze them, then microwave them, then toast them. And just to be safe, hit them with a hammer at least fifty times.
posted by philip-random at 9:14 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


I want to mock, but lord knows I've overreacted to some weevils in flour in my time, so there but for the grace of something go I.
posted by PMdixon at 9:16 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I've always wondered how to get over my squeamishness for this sort of thing. Like, I realize in abstract that this is the reality of living and eating on earth, but I can't help but be overwhelmed with revulsion (which can stay with me for weeks) any time I'm faced with the particulars.
posted by alspacka at 9:23 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Well but weevils are a whole other legitimately freak-out-inducing species.
posted by riverlife at 9:24 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


See, this is what you get whenever you involve yourself with filthy filthy biology.

Come my children, let us shed these vile husks and ascend into perfect cases of pure nanocrystalline diamond, clean, pure, sharp and glorious. We shall skitter and clack our way across the stars, forever freed from the hideous constraints of oily flesh, excrescences of grease, clots, decay, turpitude, death.

Hard-edged, flawless, vacuum-borne, our Great Beacon shall be the relativistic jet of Messier 87. It's pure and furious energy is our perfect home and great teacher, setting us free to witness that cleansing flame for uncountable millennia as it burns and purifies everything it encounters. Nothing can stop it, so let nothing stop us!
posted by aramaic at 9:31 AM on May 21 [69 favorites]


I like to think of myself as a community of organisms living in relative harmony. The alternative is way too much work.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:31 AM on May 21 [15 favorites]


These die as soon as they hit your stomach acid, so who cares? I would never soak my fruit in salt water, what the hell?
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:32 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


I never liked strawberries, so no issue for me. OTOH, the SO loves them. I believe that silence on my part will work just fine here.
posted by Splunge at 9:35 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


May they be reborn a Buddha.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:35 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


I liked strawberries so much

I assumed this article was about an illusion or misperception, the way that people used to think that blackheads were worms: but no
posted by Countess Elena at 9:39 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I used to "write diet"s in a hospital setting. There are foods that have a surface area that makes it impossible to clean them enough for patients who require a low bacteria diet. Strawberries are one such fruit, and any of them which have a very rough outside surface. People on low bacteria diets have had their immune systems compromised in order to combat some cancers and they have their bone marrow killed by radiation and get bone marrow transplants. Howeve people who have organ transplants take immune suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives, and sometimes they have to be more careful about what they eat. Some things can be sufficiently cleaned to eat raw, or peeled they can be eaten raw, that is only for immune compromised folks to worry about.

This article is one of those things that are like, oh holy shit, the world is gross! The world just is, and we fit in to our niche and survive as we do, and I have eaten a lot of strawberries in my lifetime, and I am in relatively good health.

Imagine if you will the worst heartburn you have ever had. That goes on all the time in your stomach and only rarely do you get to know the real fire in your belly. That hydrochloric acid in your belly kills the little critters that slimy crawl on produce, really it does. There are some extremophile bacteria that can endure it, then we have stomach flu, listeria, or ecoli, but mostly we can just eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and if we wash them well, it is enough. It is a good idea to wash them before we put them in our refrigerators, this is my little addition to the thread.
posted by Oyéah at 9:45 AM on May 21 [30 favorites]


Fig wasps, that is all.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:47 AM on May 21 [14 favorites]


Metafilter: filthy filthy biology
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:47 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


olopua: It's a feature, not a bug

I think you mean, "it's a feature, AND a bug." Or "this feature IS a bug."

Also: "Nature! Eww!"

(Just wait to see where you get your meat! IT'S MADE FROM SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS!)

This message brought to you by NutriPaste: it's only chemicals, no creepy living material, and that's our guarantee!*

* Some chemicals came from living materials, but we were sure they were really dead before we mashed them up with stuff we dug up from the ground.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I'm not going to be worried until John Oliver spends 25 minutes on this.
posted by Catblack at 9:54 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


eat the worms, cowards.
posted by Reyturner at 9:55 AM on May 21 [13 favorites]


This is fantastic. As well as organic, we can now start calling them probiotic!
posted by bonehead at 9:59 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Morgellons disease only for strawberries?
posted by ensign_ricky at 9:59 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Came here to mention eyebrow mites, but was beaten to it.

I'm from Nebraska, so whenever anyone is squeamish about a little dirt in food it conjures an image in my mind of the giant chicken dipping conveyor belts. I don't usually mention it out loud, because I want to keep most of my friends, but I make an exception here because it seems to be on topic.

Also, there are things living in your basement out of nightmares. Don't think about it.
posted by Horkus at 9:59 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


My words for your life, shining one.
posted by tspae at 10:00 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


If you're worried, make them into a cooked coulis or buy the flash frozen ones.
posted by bonehead at 10:01 AM on May 21


Haha. This is beginner's stuff. Get some morel mushrooms.
posted by borges at 10:03 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


If this is the spotted wing drosophila it's bad news for berry growers because unlike other fruit flies this recent invader lays eggs in fruit before it is overripe and will ruin the berries withing a couple of days of picking.
posted by Botanizer at 10:04 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


And Yeast? Oh gods. Yeast gets in EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE.

Except my attempts at making a sourdough starter.
posted by TedW at 10:04 AM on May 21 [30 favorites]


the world is gross!

Soak the earth. It's covered in nasty humans.
posted by borges at 10:05 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


@ borges: I was going to mention Morels!! the stuff of nightmares! Tasty tho...
posted by Dhertiiboi at 10:07 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


This bothers me not at all.
posted by slogger at 10:15 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


People getting scared of strawberries right before the season starts!? I approve of this message. Also, I'm sure the Hood strawberries are the worst variety for bugs, so definitely don't eat those. I'll make the noble sacrifice and eat them on behalf of everyone else.

LPT: remember to buy jam supplies early this year. All of those people who just learned how to bake and pickle during quarantine are definitely gonna get wise to homemade jam making.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:25 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


I just ate strawberries, y’all.
posted by amanda at 10:28 AM on May 21


That's not all you ate, apparently.
posted by ZaphodB at 10:30 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


I ain't gonna soak my produce in salt water for 30 minutes.

Look, Claire gets results, that's all I'm saying.
posted by curious nu at 10:30 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


If you don't want to use salt water, you can also soak your strawberries in moonshine for two to four weeks.
posted by peeedro at 10:35 AM on May 21 [17 favorites]


This is why I only eat raw chicken.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


you can also soak your strawberries in moonshine for two to four weeks

We use Chartreuse, then we throw away the strawberries [1] and make Last Straws[2].

[1] Are you kidding me? This is a bald-faced lie. We put them on ice cream.

[2] equal parts, ~3/4 oz/20 mL, Dry Gin, lime juice, Maraschino Liqueur and the strawberry-infused Chartreuse. Garnish with a cherry or a candied strawberry. It's a Last Word+, inspired by a drink from the Clock Bar in SF.
posted by bonehead at 10:42 AM on May 21 [15 favorites]


Dear Leader will be so relieved to hear that our protein reserves are strong!
posted by blindkoala at 10:43 AM on May 21


This is why we left our raspberries in a jar of water in the fridge too long once, and ended up with raspberry wine.
posted by aniola at 10:44 AM on May 21


I don't mind eating them. But, bringing fruit flies into the house is really unappealing. I wonder if typical food irradiation would kill them.
posted by eotvos at 10:51 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Come my children, let us shed these vile husks and ascend into perfect cases of pure nanocrystalline diamond, clean, pure, sharp and glorious.

I find your ideas intriguing, and would like to sign up for your newsletter.
posted by tclark at 10:54 AM on May 21 [16 favorites]




This is why there are whole rafts of pesticides that are used, not to protect plants and produce from insect damage, but to apply to crops shortly before harvest. Because people freak the fuck out if they see a bug on their food. This is a big concern for berry growers, and especially raspberries -- if there are any visible bugs, whole shipments of their produce can be rejected or downgraded to juice-grade.

Get over it, a couple bugs won't hurt you. But more pesticides on your food and in the environment?
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:56 AM on May 21 [13 favorites]


In fifty years we'll all be eating insects

Just think about bugs as land crawdads. It's fine.
posted by Reyturner at 11:01 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Crawfish are already called mudbugs so the circle is complete! Also, the circle is full of wriggling larvae if you look closely.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:04 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


bringing fruit flies into the house is really unappealing.

I've found this trap to be very effective:

- Pour about 1/2" of cider vinegar in the bottom of a small jar or bowl.
- Seal the top with tightly-stretched cling wrap.
- Poke a few tiny holes in the cling wrap with something like a fork tine, cake tester, toothpick, etc.
- The flies are drawn to the vinegar, they can get in but not out, and presto!

You'll probably need to change the vinegar every 2-3 days (or when the sight of the dead flies gets to you).
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:06 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I have a little doofy plastic thingum that is the vinegar trap only not as obvious as homemade, and it's very handy. Potters often make nice ones that can be rinsed out easily.
posted by clew at 11:08 AM on May 21


Does this mean strawberries aren't vegan?
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:09 AM on May 21 [18 favorites]


I have never been so happy that I am such a bad eater that my fruit flavors come from eating Starburts or Spree rather than actual fruit.
posted by AugustWest at 11:10 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


eat the worms, cowards.
posted by Reyturner


No thanks. I get my MDR of worm from Mezcal.
posted by Splunge at 11:10 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Hey vegans: those strawberries you are eating are incubators for animal life. You're exploiting the fruit flies.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:15 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


My wife is ON THE WARPATH after fruit flies in our house, and starting this week there are bowls of vinegar all over (including next to my contact lens case in the bathroom!) where tiny corpses bob.

When I tell her it's the damn organic strawberries (which I hardly ever eat -- it's all the smoothies) there's going to be some shouting, you betcha.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:15 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


But wait! Salt is a CHEMICAL. Sodium chloride. You expect me to ingest chemicals?
posted by SoberHighland at 11:17 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


there are bowls of vinegar all over (including next to my contact lens case in the bathroom!)

Heaven forbid you ever mix those two up while half-asleep one morning!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:26 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) are not the same as common "fruit flies" (Drosophila melanogaster) that you see flying around your house. The little flies you see around your house attack over-ripe and decaying fruit sitting around your house, while spotted wing drosophila attackes unripe to ripe fruit, so it is mainly a crop pest.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:26 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Super sarcastic slow clap for people trying to making eating fucking strawberries feel traumatic.

This is 2020, motherfuckers. We are all. stocked. up. on trauma.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:30 AM on May 21 [34 favorites]


Nothing against the post here though. Morbidly interesting, even if I cannot in good conscience mention this to my spouse or child who are currently eating strawberries.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:33 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I've found this trap to be very effective.

The most effective fruit fly trap I've ever found is leaving an open bottle of balsamic vinegar out on the counter. In fact, if you leave it out long enough, it will become a solid mass of fruit flies that you may not even know is in there, and you won't even be able to taste a difference in the balsamic vinegar. Ask me how I know!
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:35 AM on May 21 [28 favorites]


Isn't balsamic a bit pricey for a fly trap?
posted by Splunge at 11:38 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Ask me how I know!

nope not gonna
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:38 AM on May 21 [11 favorites]


I saw this yesterday and immediately thought of the only proverb I ever remembered from the Penny Saver:

A louse in the cabbage is better than no meat at all.
posted by jabes at 11:40 AM on May 21 [11 favorites]


A 99.9% empty beer bottle also works well as a trap (as does spiking Greg_Ace's trap with beer). Emptying the bottle (or can) is left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by bonehead at 11:45 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


This showed up on my news feed and with the clickbaity headline I wasn't sure of what I was going to see until I actually saw it. It was a bit gross to see but small insects, and parts of insects, are in pretty much everything we eat already so I'm not going to worry about these tiny guys.

Our reactions to bugs are inconsistent. We're growing strawberries at home and my kids have been digging up earthworms elsewhere and putting them into the strawberry planters. They also caught some pill bugs and made a little terrarium for them. The same kids who still freak out whenever they see a house spider.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:46 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I was happier before I knew this. My brain can tell me repeatedly that it's no big deal, but there will be squick. There are, of course, strawberries in the fridge.
posted by theora55 at 11:47 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


A vacuum cleaner's hose is effective in a kitchen full of fruit flies. Use a quick stab toward the perched fly. It's just about impossible to catch them while flying.
posted by jjj606 at 11:50 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the time my roommate and I decided to pickle a whole bunch of various fruits and vegetables. The next day, I took a jar of the pickled cauliflower to work to contribute to a potluck. When lunchtime rolled around I was just about to open up the jar when I noticed dozens of tiny, white, spider-shaped bugs suspended in the brine. When I got home, we examined the other jars and they were all fine, except every single jar of cauliflower contained dozens upon dozens of the floating critter corpses.

Afterwards, my friend didn't touch a cauliflower for years.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:53 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


spiking Greg_Ace's trap with beer

Like hell I'm wasting good beer on flies!

I identify with this Scotsman.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:57 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


setting us free to witness that cleansing flame for uncountable millennia as it burns and purifies everything it encounters

Holy shit, where do I sign?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:13 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Come my children, let us shed these vile husks and ascend into perfect cases of pure nanocrystalline diamond, clean, pure, sharp and glorious. We shall skitter and clack our way across the stars, forever freed from the hideous constraints of oily flesh, excrescences of grease, clots, decay, turpitude, death.

I know you're joking but after several months of worrying about COVID-19 this sounds pretty nice TBH.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:24 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


My dad would swat a fly (remember flyswatters? anybody still use them? maybe living in a creaky country house w/no A/C was a different lifestyle)...

So he'd swat the fly while he was eating (just off the table, no plate, nothing). and when I said "eww" he said "Just a little more protein".

He lived til 81 so... I guess it ain't that bad (but he meticulously threw out meat literally the day it was past due even if it didn't smell off - guess he had to make up for the protein somehow).

Also n'thing eyelash mites.
posted by symbioid at 12:24 PM on May 21


It's hard to make me grossed out about any food that is not cut out of a large animal. I got mites living in my eyelashes and I drive with the vent open in a 2CV, which means I'm eating tons of bugs while I'm laughing. In the end, you just gotta shrug and keep on being an organism in a world full of organisms where we're all interconnected.

It's funny—when I returned to a life of yard chickens after thirty-five years in the horrid realm of non-chicken-havingness, one of my first comforts was eggshells with shit on them after all the years of icky washed white supermarket eggs. You wipe it off and move on. All part of the big circle.
posted by sonascope at 12:24 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


But I've paid good money for insect dinners, and those big black fried scorpions were not tasty-- like fried fingernails with a bit of goo in them. The ants were good. The fried crickets are delicious. Sadly no grubs, I was really looking forward to grubs.
So free bugs, whoooo!!! Look at me winning!
Also this book is much fun (this is a link about insect eating in various cultures, so don't click if you ick).
posted by winesong at 12:32 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Nothing can stop it, so let nothing stop us!

I would like to subscribe to your newsletter midnight intercranial broadcast.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:36 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


You're still hanging onto a cranium? Pfft - Luddite...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:55 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I'm trying this, while my girlfriend who's recently starting buying tons of berries is out at the garden centre, but after 30 minutes I'm not seeing any sign of panicking larvae.
posted by Flashman at 1:04 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


My take on it, since I was a kid exposed to a lot od home-grown fruit, is that they live in the fruit and eat nothing but the fruit so they basically are made of fruit, but slightly more proteinaceous.

And eyelash mites have never bothered me since I first heard of them in a parasitology textbook that described them as "basking like tiny alligators in the warm swamp of the hair follicle".
posted by Fuchsoid at 2:02 PM on May 21 [13 favorites]


The eyelash mite thing has also never bothered me, except that every time I'm reminded of that little bit of trivia, I immediately become hyper-aware of the fact that the skin on my face is always itchy, only it's at such a low level that I hardly ever notice it.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:16 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I clean all my fruit and veg well in fresh clean water (not salted). But I can't make myself wash raspberries. A wild raspberry is one of the most luxurious things I can think of, sweet and soft and a little bit crunchy and a little bit velvety like a peach. And I know there are bugs in it and that some of the crunch I'm getting is from those bugs and not the seeds, but I just love the whole experience, taste and consistency. I think if I loved strawberries as much as I love raspberries, I'd feel the same about them.
posted by mumimor at 2:30 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


So my grown up daughter is a vegetarian. I have yet to tell her what jello is made of. shhh.
posted by baegucb at 3:25 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


In order to grow non-organic strawberries, the earth is fumigated with cancer-causing pesticides. The old ones might have been worse. Back when we lived in Monterey, it was a big topic of conversation. Organic strawberries might have fruit fly larvae but it's sure better than the alternative.
posted by rednikki at 3:33 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Increasingly shitty eyesight with age has done wonders for my tendency to look overly-closely at things I might eat and being bothered by my eyebrows enough to keep up with tweezing.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:45 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


So my grown up daughter is a vegetarian. I have yet to tell her what jello is made of. shhh.

I was extremely saddened when I realized that panna cotta was made with gelatin. Yes it can be made without gelatin but that's not going to be on the menu at most restaurants.

There are vegetarian alternatives to jello. It would be a nice thing to tell her about them (if she hasn't already found them on her own).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:53 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


we once pick-our-owned an absurd amount of cherries at a farm in Winona ON in peak season. Like, many many quarts, I don' t know exactly but we pretty much filled the trunk of a 2002 honda civic. We then spent several nights tandem pitting, which included breaking a pitter at one point, and generally making us look like horror movie victims by the end of the night.

When eating those that we reserved to eat fresh: at first I would come across cherries with a hole in them and throw them out, gross. Then one day I came across a wee crawler inside a cherry with unbroken skin and realised that the hole in a cherry was an EXIT hole. Mostly I just got used to the notion that eating these just came along with a bit of bonus protein but I did and do try not to think too hard about the critter I found inside that one day.
posted by hearthpig at 4:04 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I didn't realize how not universally known this was--a friend taught me to wash my strawberries in saltwater many years ago. And even with that longstanding knowledge, I am often lazy and do a quick rinse under the tap instead.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:05 PM on May 21


My mother has several heritage varieties of apple - Cox Orange Pippin being my favourite. And she does not use pesticides - if there is curly leaf a wash with detergent but otherwise nothing.

So at least half of the sweetest apples will have attracted coddle moth. If it is good enough for the bugs, it's good enough for me.

Our rule is - if the bugs don't want to eat it - you probably shouldn't either. cf. McDonalds
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 4:16 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


hahah, this information is soooooo nasty and I cannot wait until I forget that worms live in strawberries
posted by 23skidoo at 4:19 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Come my children, let us shed these vile husks and ascend into perfect cases of pure nanocrystalline diamond, clean, pure, sharp and glorious.

We . . are the Crystal . . Gems
posted by rochrobbb at 5:32 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Washing the berries in salt water (or detergent, like in the Star-K kosher procedures linked way above) seems way grosser to me than potentially eating a few tiny, tiny insects. I'm also happy to eat recognizable insects like chapulines, and I get that not everyone has that comfort level.

But I do find it kind of funny that many people are totally ok with eating recognizable body parts from chickens and cows, but freak out over a bug, especially a small bug.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:03 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


EMBRACE ENTOMOPHAGY
posted by Burhanistan at 6:33 PM on May 21


Isn't balsamic a bit pricey for a fly trap?

See also upthread suggestion of soaking berries in Chartreuse. That shit's mid-level Scotch prices these days. I'd be green with envy if I weren't so yellow.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:37 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I'm made fun of fairly often for my well-known inability to eat anything on bones without visible signs of repulsion, because eating animals is something I only enjoy when I have the plausible, if sketchy, deniability of having them ground into a near paste first so my gag reflex confuses them with the mysterious fruit of the pork tree. It's all those connective tissues that do me in—in fact, even eating oranges is a little too evocative of eating cat lungs, with all that weird fluffy membranes and pithy structures. At the same time, I live for good scrapple, which, as my father used to lament, is all tongues and assholes in loaf form, but I don't have to directly confront the reality of tongues and assholes when they're neatly concealed in a happy little grey block.

Not long ago, the prospective Mr. Sonascope caught me carefully sifting weevils out of my pancake mix at one point, discarding the little specks of filtered bugs, and found this completely incongruous from my oft-vented nightmare of limbs and other muscular structures.

"You're going to eat that, even when it's all full of bugs?" he asked, incredulous.

"Yeah, I'm in a pancake mood."

"But…there are bugs in the pancake mix."

"I'm screening them out."

"Aren't there eggs, and, well, bug shit in there?"

"Almost certainly," I shrugged. "But it's not like I'm eating it raw."

"And yet, you tell me you need to lie down with a cold compress on your forehead after eating a drumstick at a party."

"Do I contradict myself? I—" I start to recite, but am stopped in my tracks.

"Enough with the Walt Whitman. I think you place way too much stock in that one quote."

"Pancakes?"

"No."

Ultimately, I'll make a contented vegetarian one day, when I can get my habits to line up with my reflexes, though I'll be enjoying eggs as long as I have my little flock of chickens ravaging my lawn. Until then, do I contradict myself?

Multitudes.
posted by sonascope at 6:58 PM on May 21 [17 favorites]


We . . are the Crystal . . Gems

Kraftwerk's New Age album
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:01 PM on May 21


Oo, Barbara Spitzer, it’s probably time for apple socks this year! Incredibly effective! You can do it while cluster busting! The socks are reusable!

Link goes to the pomological society that AIUI thought of this, but you can just buy the little nylon shoe-try-on socks from anywhere.
posted by clew at 7:01 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


the mysterious fruit of the pork tree

...is my next sockpuppet name.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:05 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


ha, I shared this story on fb, and a friend said they tried it the saltwater thing and no worms came out. So maybe it happens some of the time, but not all the time. This makes me happy, but I imagine at least some of you will be bummed to learn that strawberries may not all contain maggots, lol
posted by 23skidoo at 7:05 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


even eating oranges is a little too evocative of eating cat lungs, with all that weird fluffy membranes and pithy structures

That's an...oddly specific analogy...
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:07 PM on May 21 [18 favorites]


@aramaic

Shades of the intro to the Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus tactical RPG. (Although with their prohibition on fully artificial intelligences, the Mechanicus generally requires at least a few fleshy brain-bits remain intact)
posted by Wandering Idiot at 7:26 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I got distracted by rich people things and forgot to mention that I'm totes cool with bugs in my food but would prefer slugs to stay off my brassicas.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:00 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Not to mention slugs are a whole different dimension of DO NOT EAT. Bugs are fine to eat.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


even eating oranges is a little too evocative of eating cat lungs

Please unsubscribe me from your awful cooking newsletter.


"awful," lungs
Get it?

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:43 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


"awful," lungs
Get it?


BOOOOOOOO

yaaaaay
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:52 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Slugs are not only unhealthy to eat, but when you put the vinaigrette on the salad and the hidden slug starts thrashing FLIPFLIPFLIPFLIP IT BURNS FLIPFLIPFLIPFLIP IT BURNS ALL MY MOISTNESSES it makes me feel bad for the slug.

I don't mind knowing there are proteins in my fruit, but I have learned that I'm happier to eat the home-grown cherries fresh, rather than leaving them to sit while a protein diaspora comes out onto the fruit bowl.
posted by away for regrooving at 10:22 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


The balsamic vinegar... Didn't... Taste any different....?
posted by captain afab at 12:43 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Why did I click on the link. The thread comments were more than enough to convince me not to click on the link. But I clicked on the link. Dammit.

These things are not microscopic? I am totally fine with my eyebrow mites or whatever. But I feel like you can see these worms with the naked eye? And that makes the difference.

I have a large tub of strawberries in the fridge. British strawberries. I just washed them (in plain water) and cut them up and ... put them back in the fridge. I am now trying to psyche myself up to just eat them (with my eyes closed?) to get over this trauma.
posted by like_neon at 7:13 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I have a large tub of strawberries in the fridge. British strawberries. I just washed them (in plain water) and cut them up and ... put them back in the fridge. I am now trying to psyche myself up to just eat them (with my eyes closed?) to get over this trauma.

Put them in a pot with a little sugar, no water, and cook them for ten minutes, while stirring now and then. They will be delicious with Greek yogurt or whipped cream. And all the little critters will be dead.
posted by mumimor at 7:37 AM on May 22


This does sound delicious. But I want to go back to the The Time Before when I ate strawberries with oblivious abandon. I now understand the allure of that procedure from Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
posted by like_neon at 7:42 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


You know what they say: What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?

Finding HALF a worm in your apple.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:40 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


And all the little critters will be dead.
But. . . so will be the experience of eating strawberries. Is eating dead bugs better? Personally, I'm going with live bugs and fresh berries. Maybe stored in a container with a lid, 'cause adult fruit flies are really annoying. Nothing has changed. Knowing things is usually good.
posted by eotvos at 9:22 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I just walked past a garden with all the green Junebearing strawberries tied up in organza. Pretty sure they were using bags mass-produced for wedding favors. Likely meant to protect against larger fauna, but the organza is quite fine, it could exclude laying insects. Experiment!
posted by clew at 11:33 AM on May 22


You can bag apples and pears to keep them bug free without pesticides.
posted by Mitheral at 12:57 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Is it okay to keep the wasps out of figs or does that impact the.... ripening....? Cause I could be happy with little fig sock.
posted by mightshould at 2:31 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


"happy little fig sock" would be a great username.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:42 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Huh, mightshould. I didn’t notice much difference between socked and unsocked pears last year, but I didn’t think to sock any of the figs. Maybe I’ll do some this year.
posted by clew at 4:47 PM on May 22


They wouldn't be figs without the wasps crawling in, so it's fine. However, once the figs are visible they've already been pollinated (and have become wasp tombs) so you can the cover them to protect from birds, though that would be pretty tedious.

My fig tree generates buckets of figs but I usually let the birds get them because it's more fun to have more birds than figs and I already get plenty of fiber.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:58 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


A) how did I not know the fig-wasps were necessary?

B) How did the teeny appropriate wasps get to the Olympic Peninsula for a Mediterranean fig tree?

C) Really adds some juice to all the fig-based sexual metaphors and gestures.
posted by clew at 6:30 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


There's a Brazilian saying: "Bicho de goiaba, goiaba é" which means roughly "guava bugs are also guava"
posted by Tom-B at 7:59 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Not all figs require wasps, there are varieties that will grow fruits* without wasp pollination. These varieties have been cultivated by humans for many thousands of years through the propagating of cuttings. Mission and Brown Turkey are modern examples.

Blastophaga psenes is the fig wasp that fertilizes commercial fig varieties like Smyrna and Calimyrna. They have become endemic to parts of the US after being introduced to California in 1899.

* Like strawberries, figs are not really a fruit.
posted by peeedro at 8:03 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Huh, my tree is a Turkey fig so no wasps for me after all. I never saw any and did wonder how they got there but just assumed they were endemic to most temperate areas.

All the same, birds or humans are more than welcome to have at ‘em because I prefer dates anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 PM on May 22


I feel a need to report that I just ate a bowl of organic strawberries, washed only in water. I even dropped one on the ground, picked it up, rinsed it off, and ate it! I cut them up, put some balsamic vinegar and a load of sour cream on them, and ate them with a spoon, worms and all.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:00 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


We love our tasty bugs, but what about mold? I'm told that you can't just cut it off because there's all that invisible mold elsewhere. I was instructed that at the slightest bit of mold I must discard all my berries (or whatever). So, as the expression goes, can I eat it?
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:29 AM on May 23


One of the interesting things about the fertilization of figs by tiny wasps who lay their eggs in the fruit and then die there, is that fig fruits produce a powerful protein digesting enzyme similar to papain and bromelain — which means that the animals that consume the fruit are probably not the only beneficiaries of that extra protein, and that what the fig doesn't take for its own purposes is likely to be in a more easily digestible form, as well.

And what do you know, strawberries just happen to produce a protease, too.

It's funny, I've always thought there was a very faintly meaty overtone to the flavor of strawberries, but never got around to looking into it until now.
posted by jamjam at 4:01 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Isn't balsamic a bit pricey for a fly trap?

The beautiful thing about my method is that you can still use the balsamic. The drawback is that you have to do it without having the intention of creating a fruit fly trap. It's very Zen.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 6:49 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


If you dip the planet in salt water and wait for about 4 billion years, you’ll see all sorts of critters come out from under the surface!
posted by louigi at 7:07 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


I follow the cheese rules for mold. Soft, throw it out — hard cut it off. Technically when you cut it off, you are just getting rid of the spores and there is mold structure still in your cheese but (a) I am not dead yet and (b) I eat cheese with intentionally added mold all the time.

Anyways, I like the part of the article where the author won't eat them because worms but feeds them to her child.
posted by dame at 1:42 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Sarah Taber explaining that they are thrips, not worms.
posted by tavella at 6:54 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Not to mention slugs are a whole different dimension of DO NOT EAT

Gross and terrifying, but I do have to assume frying eliminates the problem. I confess I've eaten what is apparently far more than my share of gastropods.

I follow the cheese rules for mold. Soft, throw it out — hard cut it off
That's a good rule, probably. I regularly scrape penicillium off things and don't worry too much.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:49 PM on May 24


Came to post the Sarah Taber thread, but happy to see it already here.

Now I'm curious where the fruit fly thing came from in the first place and feeling a bit silly for assuming it was true. I'm happy to bring thrips into the house. They sound cool. And tasty.
posted by eotvos at 7:35 AM on May 25


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