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KASHERING VEGETABLES
Should you wish to print out the "VEGETABLES AND INSECT INFESTATION" kashering guides, then simply click on the applicable Word or PDF document hyperlinks below.

Vegetables and Insect Infestation - INTRODUCTION Vegetables and Insect Infestation - INTRODUCTION
Vegetables and Insect Infestation - PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Vegetables and Insect Infestation - PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

VEGETABLES AND INSECT INFESTATION

1. INTRODUCTION
    1.1 WHAT IS OUR SOURCE FOR NOT EATING INSECTS?
    1.2 INSECTS ARE SO SMALL; DOES IT REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF WE
           ACCIDENTALLY EAT ONE?
    1.3 HOW TO DETECT
    1.4 WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO FIND INFESTATION?
    1.5 WHAT DOESN'T NEED CHECKING?
    1.6 WHY DO THE RULES SEEM TO CHANGE FROM TIME TO TIME?
    1.7 WHO MAY CHECK FOR INFESTATION?
    1.8 AND IF THE PRODUCT CARRIES A HECHSHER?

2. THE DIFFERENT PROCESSES
    2.1 DO ALL VEGETABLES REQUIRE THE SAME METHOD OF CHECKING?
         2.1.1 CLEANING
         2.1.2 CHECKING
         2.1.3 TESTING

3. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
    3.1 ARTICHOKE
         3.1.1 FRESH ARTICHOKE
         3.1.2 CANNED ARTICHOKE (with a Hechsher)
    3.2 GREEN ASPARAGUS
         3.2.1 GREEN ASPARAGUS (FRESH)
         3.2.2 GREEN ASPARAGUS (TINNED - even with a Hechsher)
    3.3 WHITE ASPARAGUS
         3.3.1 WHITE ASPARAGUS (FRESH)
         3.3.2 WHITE ASPARAGUS (TINNED - even with a Hechsher)
    3.4 BARLEY
    3.5 BASIL
    3.6 BLACKBERRIES
    3.7 BROCCOLI
    3.8 BRUSSEL SPROUTS
    3.9 BUTTER BEANS
    3.10 WHITE CABBAGE / RED CABBAGE
    3.11 CAULIFLOWER
    3.12 CELERY
    3.13 CHICKPEAS
    3.14 CITRUS FRUIT
    3.15 CORIANDER
    3.16 CORN (MIELIES)
    3.17 BABY CORN
    3.18 BOK CHOY / CHINESE CABBAGE
    3.19 CURRY LEAVES - see "Herbs"
    3.20 DATES
    3.21 DILL - see "Herbs"
    3.22 DRIED FRUITS
    3.23 EITAN VAAL VEGETABLES
    3.24 FENNEL
    3.25 FIGS
    3.26 FIGS - DRIED
    3.27 FLOUR
         3.27.1 WHITE FLOUR
         3.27.2 BROWN FLOUR
         3.27.3 STORAGE OF FLOUR
    3.28 GUAVAS
    3.29 HERBS
    3.30 LEEK
    3.31 LEMON GRASS
    3.32 LEMONS - see "Citrus Fruits"
     3.33 LETTUCE
    3.34 MARJORAM - see "Herbs"
    3.35 MIELIES - see "Corn"
    3.36 MINEOLAS - see "Citrus Fruits"
    3.37 MINT - see "Herbs"
    3.38 MULBERRIES
    3.39 NAARTJIES - see "Citrus Fruits"
    3.40 NUTS
    3.41 ORANGES
    3.42 ONIONS
    3.43 OREGANUM - see "Herbs"
    3.44 PARSLEY
    3.45 PEPPERS (GREEN, RED or any other colour)
    3.46 RASPBERRIES
    3.47 RICE
    3.48 ROCQUETTE - see "Herbs"
    3.49 ROSEMARY
    3.50 SAGE - see "Herbs"
    3.51 SAVORY - see "Herbs"
    3.52 SNAP PEAS
    3.53 SPINACH
    3.54 SPRING ONIONS
    3.55 STRAWBERRIES
    3.56 TARRAGON - see "Herbs"
    3.57 THYME - see "Herbs"
    3.58 Halocha of eggs

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1. INTRODUCTION

The lives of the Jewish people are governed by our Holy Torah, the Talmud and the Code of Jewish Law. In every aspect of life, from birth to death and after, from awakening in the morning until retiring at night, through both happy and sad times, we are guided and instructed by Al'Mighty G-d.

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1.1 WHAT IS OUR SOURCE FOR NOT EATING INSECTS?

The Torah (Vayikra 11:20-23) states that insects and crawling creatures are not Kosher. Consequently, many vegetables, fruit and other products that are prone to infestation, must be checked and the insects removed. The method of checking and removing insects from vegetables, fruit and other products differ according to each species as will be detailed below.

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1.2 INSECTS ARE SO SMALL; DOES IT REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF WE ACCIDENTALLY EAT ONE?

Taking care not to consume such creatures tremendously elevates our spirituality, sanctity and holiness. For this reason alone we are worthy of having being taken out of Egypt! (Vayikra 11:45 and Rashi)

This places an enormous responsibility on us as kosher consumers.

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1.3 HOW TO DETECT

Checking for insects properly is a very time consuming and tiring procedure that requires a great deal of patience, diligence and Yirat Shamayim (Fear of Heaven).

Even creatures that are so small that only a searching eye can detect them are prohibited. If the reason we can't see them is not that they are too small but rather that they are too elusive, they are obviously forbidden. A concealed creature is still a creature!

However, anything that is microscopic is of no concern.

There is therefore no obligation to use a magnifying glass to check for insects. However, if you see something that you can't identify whether it's a creature or dirt, use a magnifying glass to help you decide. 10-x magnification is best.

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1.4 WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO FIND INFESTATION?

It's often difficult to find all infestation. This can be for several reasons:

  • Insects are often very small.
  • Insects could often be mistaken for dirt.
  • Many insects have a similar colour to the vegetable.
  • Many insects hide between crevices.
  • In some cases, very small worms tunnel into leafy vegetables and can only be noticed by a trail of tunnels.
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    1.5 WHAT DOESN'T NEED CHECKING?

    The good news is that not all foods need checking for infestation. Anything classified as "rarely infested" may be eaten without checking. Examples: apples, bananas, potatoes, carrots, beetroot.

    Also included in this list of "rarely infested" are industrially dried chopped herbs. This may sound surprising, as many of these should not be used at all in their fresh state due to extremely high levels of infestation. However, the intensive and numerous procedures of processing and drying these herbs will eradicate all infestation. A word of caution: extended periods of storage can occasionally result in infestation (which you will notice easily with a superficial look over).

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    1.6 WHY DO THE RULES SEEM TO CHANGE FROM TIME TO TIME?

    Insect infestation is an area of halacha (Jewish Law) that requires constant research and analysis. Infestation changes from season to season and also from location to location. As we continue to research and learn more about insect infestation, our new understanding of the nature and quantity of infestation in various fruits and vegetables requires that we change the methods or even the necessity to check for infestation. For this reason, the methods in this brochure may differ from what we have previously published.

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    1.7 WHO MAY CHECK FOR INFESTATION?

    Jews over the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah may be relied on to check for infestation if they:

    1. know what to look for;
    2. know how to check; and
    3. have good enough eyesight.

    An intelligent child may also check, but preferably an adult should check foods to be eaten by an adult.

    A non-Jew may not be relied on to check for infestation even if he or she is very dependable.

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    1.8 AND IF THE PRODUCT CARRIES A HECHSHER?

    In most instances, a food that carries even a good Hechsher also needs checking. This is because the Hechsher usually does not cover infestation related issues. It usually only covers other aspects which are not infestation related, e.g. that no non-Kosher ingredients have been added and that the equipment used is Kosher.

    Also, infestation can set in after manufacture.

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    2. THE DIFFERENT PROCESSES

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    2.1 DO ALL VEGETABLES REQUIRE THE SAME METHOD OF CHECKING?

    No. There are different ways of preparing insect-free food, depending on the type of infestation and the type of food. Sometimes careful cleaning is sufficient. Sometimes all that is required is a test. And in some cases, we perform a visual check. Let's discuss each of these in general terms to give us a broad picture. The applications of these processes will then be spelt out in each individual case.

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    2.1.1 CLEANING

    Where the infestation is easy to wash off, we simply clean the food. Examples of this are peppers and "Eitan Vaal vegetables". Celery sticks need to be brushed down.

    Sometimes detergent is the only way to wash off the infestation. An example of this is cabbage. This is because the tiny insect that often infests cabbage (thrip) grips onto the leaf and can't be washed off. However, after soaking the leaves for 2 - 3 minutes in very soapy water, the leaves become slippery and the thrips loose their grip.

    This system isn't effective for all insects. Aphids (greenfly) grip the leaf with their mouth, so they won't wash off in soapy water. However, you can wipe them off by sponging both sides of each leaf using a very soapy sponge. This method can be used for lettuce.

  • Cleaning (as opposed to checking or testing) may be done by a non-Jew under the careful and constant supervision of a Jew. This means that non-Jews can do any process that doesn't require the ability to see - as long as you are carefully watching them.
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    2.1.2 CHECKING

    Where it's possible to visually detect all infestation, we very carefully check the food with the aid of strong lighting. This includes lettuce, baby spinach, and butter beans.

    Where aphids are the problem, it's worthwhile to first soak the leaves in a mild salt-water solution (1 teaspoon per litre). This irritates the aphids and often causes them to release their grip. (If the solution is too strong it will kill them before they are able to let go).

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    2.1.3 TESTING

    Sometimes we don't examine the food at all. We either shake them over a surface and scan that surface for infestation, or else we examine the water they are washed or cooked in. If this reveals infestation, we don't use the food at all. This is the case where the shape of the food makes it impossible to visually detect infestation and to clean sufficiently well. Examples of this are asparagus, parsley, and some other fresh herbs.

     

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    3. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

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    3.1 ARTICHOKE

    This is a heavily infested vegetable, except for the very heart itself after removing all the leaves.

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    3.1.1 FRESH ARTICHOKE

    Equipment required for leaves: soft very soapy sponge

    1. Remove all the leaves until you are left with the completely smooth heart.
    2. Thoroughly rinse the heart and it's ready for use.
    3. You may use the leaves if you first separate all the leaves, rub each leaf on both sides with a soft very soapy sponge and then thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water.

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    3.1.2 CANNED ARTICHOKE (with a Hechsher)
    1. Remove all the leaves until you are left with the completely smooth heart.
    2. Thoroughly rinse the heart and it's ready for use.

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    3.2.1 GREEN ASPARAGUS

     

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    3.2.1 GREEN ASPARAGUS (FRESH)

    Thrips and other insects often hide in the florets and under the small triangular leaves along the length of asparagus and cannot be removed entirely.

    1. Cut off all the florets at the tips and discard the tips. Peel off all of the small triangular leaves along the length of each asparagus and discard.
    2. Thoroughly rinse the stalks under a stream of cold water.

     

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    3.2.2 GREEN ASPARAGUS (TINNED - even with a Hechsher)

    Thrips and other insects are often trapped in the florets and under the small triangular leaves along the length of asparagus and cannot be removed entirely.

    1. Cut off all the florets at the tips and discard (If there are small triangular leaves along the length of the asparagus it's best not to use these asparagus - the vegetable is too tender to strip).
    2. Thoroughly rinse the stalks under a stream of cold water.
    3. The liquid may only be used if it has been filtered through filter paper.

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    3.3.1 WHITE ASPARAGUS

     

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    3.3.1 WHITE ASPARAGUS (FRESH)

    Thrips and other insects often hide in the florets and under the small triangular leaves along the length of asparagus.

    It's best to:

    1. Cut off all the florets at the tips and discard the tips. Peel off all of the small triangular leaves along the length of each asparagus and discard.
    2. Thoroughly rinse the stalks under a stream of cold water.

    If it's very important to you to serve white asparagus with the tips and triangular leaves, you may use the following method:

    Equipment required: light box, detergent, bowl

    1. Shake the asparagus over the light box. To do this, hold a bunch of asparagus tightly in one hand and thump the base of the wrist of that hand onto the fist of the other. The violent shake will dislodge most infestation. Also, run your fingers through the florets to dislodge any remaining infestation.
    2. Examine the surface very carefully, using a magnifying glass to identify any particles, which may or may not be infestation.
    3. Look out carefully for any movement. Some insects (e.g. red spider mites) are tiny and will only be identified by their movement.
    4. If you find no insects at all, continue with point 6.
    5. If you find even 1 insect (dead or alive) out of a punnet, cut off all the florets at the tips, and peel off all the small triangular leaves along the length of each asparagus.
    6. Soak the asparagus for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    7. Vigorously agitate the asparagus in the soapy water.
    8. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water.

     

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    WHITE ASPARAGUS (TINNED - even with a Hechsher)

    Thrips and other insects are often trapped in the florets and under the small triangular leaves along the length of asparagus. It's best to:

    1. Cut off all the florets at the tips and discard. (If there are small triangular leaves along the length of the asparagus it's best not to use these asparagus - the vegetable is too tender to strip).
    2. Thoroughly rinse the stalks under a stream of cold water.

    If it's very important to you to serve white asparagus with the tips and triangular leaves, you may use the following method:

    Equipment required: a sheet of filter paper or a clean white cloth of a very fine weave (i.e. with extremely small holes); a sieve / colander / funnel

    1. Place the filter paper or cloth over the sieve / colander or else in a funnel.
    2. Pour out all the liquid from the tin through the filter or cloth, leaving the asparagus in the tin.
    3. Place the filter paper or cloth over the light box.
    4. Check the filter paper or cloth very carefully for any insects, using a magnifying glass to identify any particles which may or may not be infestation. Look out particularly for thrips, which are black or light green and only 1mm long!
    5. If you find no insects at all, you may use the whole asparagus.
    6. If you find even 1 insect, cut off all the florets at the tips. If there are small triangular leaves along the length of the asparagus, you can't use these asparagus - the vegetable is too tender to strip.
    7. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water.

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    3.4 BARLEY

    Even good quality barley is prone to infestation during storage.

    Equipment required: glass bowl, salt

    1. Fill the bowl with double as much water as barley.
    2. Add 4 tablespoons of salt per litre of water.
    3. Pour the barley into the water, immediately agitate the barley in the water, and then carefully scrutinize whatever floats on the surface of the water.
    4. If infestation is noticed, reject all the barley. Otherwise, it may be used.

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    3.5 BASIL

    Equipment required: light box

    1. Shake the basil over the light box. To do this, make up a bunch of approximately 15 branches, and hold it tightly in one hand and thump the base of the wrist of that hand onto the fist of the other. The violent shake will dislodge most infestation. Also, run your fingers through the leaves to dislodge any remaining infestation.
    2. Examine the surface very carefully, using a magnifying glass to identify any particles, which may or may not be infestation.
    3. Look out carefully for any movement. Some insects (e.g. red spider mites) are tiny and will only be identified by their movement.
    4. How many insects (dead or alive) did you find?
      1. 3 or more - the bunch cannot be used.
      2. 1 or 2 - clear the white surface and repeat steps 1 - 3. If you now have a total of 3 insects, the bunch cannot be used. Otherwise, go to the next step.
      3. None - go to the next step.
    5. Soak the basil for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    6. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water, making sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    7. Visually check 10% of the leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, visually check it all. If no tunneling was found in the 10%, the basil may now be used.
    8. If you find any tunneling, remove the entire leaf together with the stalk it's attached to.

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    3.6 BLACKBERRIES

    Blackberries (both fresh and frozen) should not be used.

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    3.7 BROCCOLI

    Broccoli florets should not be used because it's virtually impossible to check or clean them practically and effectively.

    The stems (which constitute about 80% of the mass) may be used once cleaned in the following way.

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl

    1. Cut off all the florets together with the small stalks that they are attached to.
    2. Make sure to remove the stalks completely so that the stem remains smooth, otherwise insects could remain trapped at the point of contact.
    3. Soak the stems for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    4. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water.

    Frozen broccoli should not be used.

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    3.8 BRUSSEL SPROUTS

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl

    Fresh brussel sprouts may be cleaned using a tedious method that makes it almost unrealistic to use.

    1. Cut off the bottom fifth of each sprout and discard.
    2. Separate ALL the leaves.
    3. Soak all the leaves for three minutes in very soapy water.
    4. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf individually under a stream of cold water. Make sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    5. No visual check is necessary.

    Frozen brussel sprouts should not be used.

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    3.9 BUTTER BEANS

    Butter beans are at times infested internally by the Bean Weevil (which is at first a whitish worm and later becomes a black insect). These are not detectable when the bean is dry.

    1. Soften the skin to make it see-through using one of these 3 methods:
      1. Bring the beans to boil, switch off, and leave covered for at least two hours.
      2. Pour boiling water over the beans and leave them to soak for at least three hours.
      3. Soak them in cold water overnight.
      N.B: You will need to use two to three times as much water as beans.
    2. Place a layer of beans onto one hand and examine carefully. Put aside any beans with holes or dark patches.
    3. Place your other hand firmly over the beans, and then turn your hands over so that the beans are now in the other hand.
    4. Now carefully examine the 2nd side of the beans. Put aside any beans with holes or dark patches.
    5. Open all the beans that you put aside. If there are 3 or more weevils in the batch, break open 10% of the beans. If you find any further infestation, break open each and every bean. Otherwise, they may be used whole.

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    3.10 WHITE CABBAGE / RED CABBAGE

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl

    1. Separate ALL the leaves - that means every single one.
    2. Undo any folds in the leaves. Parts of the leaf that are very creased must be discarded.
    3. Soak all the leaves for three minutes in very soapy water.
    4. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf individually under a stream of cold water. Make sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    5. No visual check is necessary.
    Alternate Method for Cabbage That Will Be Cooked (e.g. cabbage rolls)
    1. Wrap in plastic and freeze for at least 48 hours.
    2. Thaw, but not completely.
    3. Separate ALL the leaves.
    4. Undo any folds in the leaves. Parts of the leaf that are very creased must be discarded.
    5. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf under a stream of cold water. Make sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    6. No visual checking is necessary.

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    3.11 CAULIFLOWER

    Cauliflower florets should not be used because it's virtually impossible to check or clean them practically and effectively.

    The stems (which don't constitute very much of the mass) may be used once cleaned in the following way.

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl

    1. Cut off all the florets together with the small stalks that they are attached to.
    2. Remove all the branches from each stem, otherwise insects could remain trapped at the point of contact.
    3. Soak the remaining stems for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    4. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water.

    Frozen cauliflower should not be used.

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    3.12 CELERY

    NB: Celery leaves are most often highly infested with leaf miner, which is extremely difficult to find in these leaves. The leaves should therefore be avoided entirely. Eitan Vaal celery leaves can be used after cleaning.

    Celery stalks

    Equipment required: nylon brush

    1. Separate all the stalks and remove all the branches.
    2. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water whilst brushing with the nylon brush along all surfaces - both inside and out.

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    3.13 CHICKPEAS

    Following extensive testing, Beth Din policy is that chickpeas do NOT require checking for infestation.

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    3.14 CITRUS FRUIT

    Citrus fruit often have "scale insects" on the peel. Usually measuring about 1,5mm, these black or brown deposits generally come off when pressing a fingernail against their side. Even if you don't eat the peel, the insects often come off in the process of cutting, peeling and / or squeezing.

    Equipment possibly required (depending on method): onion / orange / squash bag

    1. If the peel appears absolutely clean, you may use it as is. But if not, then:
    2. If you peel the fruit, rinse off the fruit and your hands after peeling.
    3. If you intend to:-
            o  squeeze the fruit,
            o  use a slice in other foods (e.g. slice of lemon in a drink), OR
            o  if you eat the fruit off the peel (e.g. quartered oranges)
      then first rub the peel with the onion / orange / squash bag, under a stream of cold water.

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    3.15 CORIANDER

    Equipment required: light box, detergent, bowl

    1. Shake the coriander over the light box. To do this, make up a bunch of approximately 15 branches, and hold it tightly in one hand and thump the base of the wrist of that hand onto the fist of the other. The violent shake will dislodge most infestation. Also, run your fingers through the leaves to dislodge any remaining infestation.
    2. Examine the surface very carefully, using a magnifying glass to identify any particles, which may or may not be infestation.
    3. Look out carefully for any movement. Some insects (e.g. red spider mites) are tiny and will only be identified by their movement.
    4. How many insects (dead or alive) did you find?
      1. 3 or more - the bunch cannot be used.
      2. 1 or 2 - clear the white surface and repeat steps 1 - 3. If you now have a total of 3 insects, the bunch cannot be used. Otherwise, go to the next step.
      3. None - go to the next step
    5. Soak the coriander for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    6. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water, making sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    7. Visually check 10% of the leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, visually check it all. If no tunneling was found in the 10%, the coriander may now be used.
    8. If you find any tunneling, remove the entire leaf together with the stalk it's attached to.

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    3.16 CORN (MIELIES)

    In this country, both white and yellow mielies on the cob have often been found to be infested. It is impossible to get rid of the infestation whilst still on the cob, as the thrip hides between the kernels.

    In order to eat mielies:

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl, sieve / colander

    1. Cut all the kernels off the cob,
    2. Soak them for 3 minutes in very soapy water, and
    3. Thoroughly rinse them through a sieve or colander.
    4. Cook and enjoy!

    Alternatively:

    Equipment required: sieve / colander

    1. Cook the corn whilst still on the cob
    2. Cut all the kernels off the cob,
    3. Thoroughly rinse them through a sieve or colander.
    4. Discard the water that the corn was cooked in.

    Frozen or Tinned Corn may be used as these have been extremely thoroughly rinsed in the factory.

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    3.17 BABY CORN

    Rinse under a tap of cold running water.

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    3.18 BOK CHOY / CHINESE CABBAGE

    Equipment required: soft sponge

    1. Separate ALL the leaves.
    2. Rub each leaf on both sides with a soft very soapy sponge. Take care to wipe into all the folds. Discard any parts which you can't reach with the sponge.
    3. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf under a stream of cold water.

    You do not need to visually check the leaves once this method has been used.

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    3.19 CURRY LEAVES - see "Herbs"

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    3.20 DATES

    Cut open and check inside for worms whilst holding up to a good light.

    N.B. You should NOT use pressed dates because the most inferior quality dates are pressed, and are crushed into a state which is impossible to check.

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    3.21 DILL - see "Herbs"

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    3.22 DRIED FRUITS
    1. Check the whole cluster for worms and/or cobwebs.
    2. Dried fruit must be inspected under folds, where insects sometimes are trapped, e.g. apricots, peaches, pears. See also "Dates" and "Figs".

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    3.23 EITAN VAAL VEGETABLES

    These vegetables are grown in an environment which eliminates all the types of insects that normally breed on the vegetables. However, it's impossible to get rid of a small black fly that breeds in the water (not the vegetable) and sometimes lies on the vegetable. Because it doesn't breed on the vegetable, it washes off easily.

    Therefore, you must thoroughly rinse all sides of these vegetables under a stream of cold water

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    3.24 FENNEL

    Remove and discard all the green leaves.
    Separate all the layers.

    Either:

    Equipment required: nylon brush

    1. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water whilst brushing with a nylon brush along all surfaces - both inside and out.

    Or

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl

    1. Soak in very soapy water for 3 minutes.
    2. Thoroughly rinse the entire surface of both sides of each section under a stream of cold water.

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    3.25 FIGS

    Equipment required: a glass

    1. Wash the outside of each fig.
    2. Halve each fig.
    3. Turn each half inside out. Proceed immediately with the next step, because the worms very quickly hide between the fibres.
    4. Working in a well-lit area, methodically scrutinise the entire fig very slowly and carefully.
    5. If you find any infestation, discard the fig, as there is likely to be more, which is difficult to find.
    6. If you didn't find infestation, place the fig face down in a glass of water. If you notice any floating worms, discard the fig. Otherwise, you may eat it.

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    3.26 FIGS - DRIED
    1. Thoroughly wash the outside of each fig.
    2. Cut away 1cm around the hole and discard.
    3. Halve each fig.
    4. Turn each half inside out.
    5. Methodically scrutinise the entire fig very slowly and carefully.
    6. If you find any infestation, discard the fig, as there is likely to be more, which is difficult to find.

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    3.27 FLOUR

    General Facts

    Flour is prone to many forms of infestation.

  • Some of the insects that infest flour can be noticed as soon as the packet is opened, even before any of the flour has been sieved.
    o  One may either find tiny brown insects in the folds at the top of the packet and one can notice them scuttling to safety as the top is undone and their hiding place is suddenly exposed. These insects are tiny, brown creatures that are no more than 1mm long.
    o  Alternatively, one might find webbing and strands on the inner walls of the packet. This in turn is a product of the larva of one of the moths that attack flour.
  • In most cases, sifting is the only way to detect infestation.
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    3.27.1 WHITE FLOUR

    Equipment required: a 420 (or less) micron sieve

    1. Make sure the sieve is in good condition. This means that
      1. There is no damage (holes, tears, etc).
      2. The mesh is not clogged. (It should be washed regularly and left out of use long enough to dry)
    2. The entire bag of flour must be sifted through the sieve.
    3. Make sure to sift until all the flour has passed through the sieve.
    4. Very carefully examine what remains in the sieve to try to detect signs of infestation.
    5. If any sign of infestation is noticed, the entire bag must be returned to the supplier. Also, send a written report to the Beth Din, recording the date, the name of the mill, the type of flour, the size of the bag and if possible the number on the ticket sewn on to the bag.

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    3.27.2 BROWN FLOUR

    Equipment required: a 420 (or less) micron sieve

    1. Make sure the sieve is in good condition. This means that
      1. There is no damage (holes, tears, etc).
      2. The mesh is not clogged. (It should be washed regularly and left out of use long enough to dry)
    2. The entire bag of flour must be sifted through the sieve.
    3. Make sure to sift until all the fine flour has passed through the sieve.
    4. Take whatever remains in the sieve and spread it finely over a white area (e.g. a large white plate). Carefully examine it looking out for any signs of infestation (e.g. weevils, webbing)
    5. If any sign of infestation is noticed, the entire bag must be rejected. We suggest you return it to the supplier.

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    3.27.3 STORAGE OF FLOUR

    Before sifting
    All flour should be stored in a cool, dry place.

    After sifting

  • Flour must be used within 24 hours of sifting / testing! If the time has lapsed, repeat the process before use.
  • Flour may be stored in a fridge for a period of up to 1 month after sifting without having to resift.
  • Flour may be stored indefinitely in a freezer without having to resift.
  • NB: All equipment used for flour (bins, scoops, all parts of the sieve, mixers, etc) must be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis. This may involve emptying the remaining flour.

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    3.28 GUAVAS
    1. Cut each guava into quarters or slice into four slices
    2. Spread out the pieces and watch for movement for 1 minute.
    3. In particular, look out for small, light coloured worms.

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    3.29 HERBS

    Many FRESH herbs should not be used as they are highly infested and cannot be properly cleaned.

    These include:

  • Asian greens
  • Chives
  • Curly leafed parsley
  • Curry leaves
  • Dill
  • Marjoram
  • Oreganum
  • Rocquette
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • However, if the individual leaves are large enough, you may use this method:

    Equipment required: soft very soapy sponge

    1. Remove the leaves that you want to use from the stalks.
    2. Rub each leaf on both sides with a soft very soapy sponge. Take care to wipe into all the folds. Discard any parts which you can't reach with the sponge.
    3. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf under a stream of cold water.
    4. Visually check 10% of the leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, visually check it all. If no tunneling was found in the 10%, the herb may now be used.
    5. If you find any tunneling, remove the entire leaf.

    Industrially dried herb flakes do not need checking.

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    3.30 LEEK

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl

    1. Cut off the roots from the end of the white bulb.
    2. Cut at least way through the length of the leek.
    3. Separate all the leaves.
    4. Soak them in very soapy water for 3 minutes.
    5. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf under a stream of cold water. Make sure to run the water through the ridge of fine leaf tissue, which is found on the inner surface of the outer leaves.

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    3.31 LEMON GRASS

    Equipment required: nylon brush

    1. Visually check all the green leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, do not use the green of that individual shoot at all.
    2. Separate all the stalks.
    3. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water whilst brushing with the nylon brush along all surfaces - both inside and out.

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    3.32 LEMONS - see "Citrus Fruits"

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    3.33 LETTUCE

    NB: NO curly-leafed lettuce may be used at establishments except from Eitan Vaal.

    Lettuce is commonly infested with three types of insects:

    1. Greenfly/Aphid: this insect attaches itself to the leaf by burrowing its mouth deeply into the leaf tissue. The Greenfly is the same colour as the leaf.
    2. Thrip: a tiny black or light green insect (approximately 1mm long), which, to the naked eye, looks like a tiny particle of fibre or something similar.
    3. Worms / caterpillars.
    Methods of Inspection:
    Method 1 - Cleaning

    Equipment required: soft sponge

    1. Separate ALL the leaves.
    2. Rub each leaf on both sides with a soft very soapy sponge. Take care to wipe into all the folds. Discard any parts which you can't reach with the sponge.
    3. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf under a stream of cold water.

    You do not need to visually check the leaves once this method has been used.

    Alternative Method - Checking

    Equipment required: bowl, salt, light box

    1. Separate ALL the leaves.
    2. Thoroughly rinse all the leaves.
    3. Soak the leaves in a weak salt-water solution (one teaspoon salt - not more - to every litre of water) for five minutes.
    4. Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the leaves individually under a stream of cold water.
    5. Check every leaf very carefully on both sides (by holding it up to a good source of light so that it shines through the leaf). Take special care to inspect the folds in the leaves. Remove and discard any insects or suspicious looking particles.

    NB: Oak leaf lettuce can only be used if it's not curly.

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    3.34 MARJORAM - see "Herbs"

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    3.35 MIELIES - see "Corn"

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    3.36 MINEOLAS- see "Citrus Fruits"

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    3.37 MINT - see "Herbs"

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    3.38 MULBERRIES

    Mulberries (both fresh and frozen) should not be used.

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    3.39 NAARTJIES - see "Citrus Fruits"

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    3.40 NUTS
    1. Check the whole cluster for worms and/or cobwebs.
    2. If you notice any such infestation, discard the whole batch.

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    3.41 ORANGES - also see "Citrus Fruits"

    NB: Do not buy freshly squeezed orange juice (unless with a Hechsher), as the scale insect often is dislodged from the skin during the squeezing and falls into the juice. Industrially squeezed orange juice contains no scale insects.

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    3.42 ONIONS

    Contrary to popular belief, onions are often infested with thrip, which is black or light green and only 1mm long! These can be found in the gaps inside the onion. They can't survive without oxygen so wherever the layers are tightly packed there is no chance of infestation.

    1. Select firm onions.
    2. After peeling the onions, cut off the top 1 centimetre.
    3. If there are gaps between the layers, these gaps must be cut open. Also, remove any green from inside the onions.
    4. Rinse the onions under a stream of cold water.

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    3.43 OREGANUM - see "Herbs"

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    3.44 PARSLEY

    Curly leafed parsley should not be used, as it's usually far too highly infested and impractical to clean.

    Flat leafed / Italian parsley may be used in the following way:

    Equipment required: light box, detergent, bowl

    1. Shake the parsley over the light box. To do this, make up a bunch of approximately 15 branches, and hold it tightly in one hand and thump the base of the wrist of that hand onto the fist of the other. The violent shake will dislodge most infestation. Also, run your fingers through the leaves to dislodge any remaining infestation.
    2. Examine the paper or cloth very carefully, using a magnifying glass to identify any particles which may or may not be infestation.
    3. Look out carefully for any movement. Some insects (e.g. red spider mites) are tiny and will only be identified by their movement.
    4. How many insects (dead or alive) did you find?
      1. 3 or more - the bunch cannot be used.
      2. 1 or 2 - clear the white surface and repeat steps 1 - 3. If you now have a total of 3 insects, the bunch cannot be used. Otherwise, go to the next step.
      3. None - go to the next step.
    5. Soak the parsley for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    6. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water, making sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    7. Visually check 10% of the leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, visually check it all. If no tunneling was found in the 10%, the parsley may now be used.
    8. If you find any tunneling, remove the entire leaf together with the stalk it's attached to.

    Industrially dried parsley flakes do not need checking.

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    3.45 PEPPERS (GREEN, RED or any other colour)

    Either

    1. Halve
    2. Remove the plug
    3. Rinse thoroughly, especially around the area where the plug was

    Or

    1. Slice off the top circle, i.e. the plug together with some pepper around it
    2. Rinse very thoroughly
    3. Check inside for worms.

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    3.46 RASPBERRIES

    Raspberries (both fresh and frozen) should not be used.

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    3.47 RICE

    Equipment required: a glass bowl

    Even good quality rice is prone to infestation during storage.

    1. Fill the bowl with double as much water as rice.
    2. Add 4 tablespoons of salt per litre of water.
    3. Pour the rice into the water, immediately agitate the rice in the water, and then carefully scrutinize whatever floats on the surface of the water.
    4. If infestation is noticed, reject all the rice. Otherwise, it may be used.

    Alternative Method for Checking Rice and Other Grains

    Equipment required: household sieve, light box or sheet of white paper

    1. Visually scan the product and look for obvious signs of infestations (weevils, worms, and/or webbing). If you find signs of infestation, then discard (or return) the product. If no infestation is found, then continue with the next step.
    2. Place the rice/grains in a household sieve and then agitate the sieve while holding it over a light box or sheet of white paper.
    3. Carefully scrutinize the light box or sheet of paper.
    4. If you find any infestation whatsoever, then discard (or return) the product. If there is no infestation, then the product may be used.

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    3.48 ROCQUETTE - see "Herbs"

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    3.49 ROSEMARY

    Equipment required: light box, detergent, bowl

    1. Shake the rosemary over the light box. To do this, make up a bunch of approximately 15 branches, and hold it tightly in one hand and thump the base of the wrist of that hand onto the fist of the other. The violent shake will dislodge most infestation. Also, run your fingers through the leaves to dislodge any remaining infestation.
    2. Examine the paper or cloth very carefully, using a magnifying glass to identify any particles which may or may not be infestation.
    3. Look out carefully for any movement. Some insects (e.g. red spider mites) are tiny and will only be identified by their movement.
    4. How many insects (dead or alive) did you find?
      1. 3 or more - the bunch cannot be used.
      2. 1 or 2 - clear the white surface and repeat steps 1 - 3. If you now have a total of 3 insects, the bunch cannot be used. Otherwise, go to the next step.
      3. None - go to the next step.
    5. Soak the rosemary for two to three minutes in very soapy water.
    6. Thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water, making sure the water runs through all the crevices.

    Industrially dried rosemary flakes do not need checking.

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    3.50 SAGE - see "Herbs"

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    3.51 SAVORY - see "Herbs"

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    3.52 SNAP PEAS

    Equipment required: light box

    1. Look out for signs of tunneling on the surfaces of the pod. Discard if found.
    2. Place on light box and look for internal infestation.

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    3.53 SPINACH

    NB: Regular spinach is most often highly infested with leaf miner, which is extremely difficult to find in these leaves. This vegetable must therefore be avoided entirely.

    Baby spinach is a completely different variety. It is less prone to infestation and much easier to check.

    Method for cleaning & checking baby spinach

    1. Check for signs of inner tunneling. If this is found, discard the entire leaf.
    2. Soak all the leaves for three minutes in very soapy water.
    3. Thoroughly rinse both sides of each leaf individually under a stream of cold water. Make sure the water runs through all the crevices.
    4. Visually check all the leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, do not use that leaf at all.

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    3.54 SPRING ONIONS

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl
    Also possibly required (depending on method): soft very soapy sponge

    Spring onions are frequently highly infested although they may appear to be clean.

    1. Visually check all the green leaves for tunneling. If you find any tunneling, do not use the green of that individual spring onion at all.
    2. Cut off roots and discard.
    3. Cut at least way through the entire length of the spring onion.
    4. Separate all the layers and cut open all junction areas.
    5. Soak everything in very soapy water for 3 minutes.
    6. Either:
      1. Rub each leaf on both sides with a soft very soapy sponge and then thoroughly rinse under a stream of cold water.
      2. Thoroughly rinse each leaf under a tap of cold water, running your fingers up and down both sides.

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    3.55 STRAWBERRIES

    Equipment required: detergent, bowl, soft very soapy sponge

    Strawberries are frequently highly infested with tiny insects although they may appear to be insect-free. The trained eye can find these under the green cap, but will have difficulty noticing them on the outside of the berries.

    1. Cut off (don't pull off!) the green leaf with about 1mm of the fruit.
    2. Cut off any mushy parts as well as deep folds.
    3. Soak the strawberries in very soapy water for 3 minutes.
    4. After the soaking, the strawberries must be agitated.
    5. Carefully wash the entire surface of each strawberry under a stream of cold water.

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    3.56 TARRAGON - see "Herbs"

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    3.57 THYME - see "Herbs"

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    3.58 Halocha of eggs

    All eggs must be cracked and checked one by one for any blood spots prior to use.

    If you see a blood spot, even in the yolk, remove it and the rest of the egg may be eaten.

    When cooking free-range eggs cook an uneven number - but more than 1 (e.g. 3, 5, 7) in one pot. This is so that if some eggs are found to contain blood, the pot need not be Kashered provided that the majority was Kosher.

    Any number of battery eggs may be boiled.

    Eggs cooked in a milk pot cannot be used for meat use and vice versa. It's best is to cook them in a Parev pot.

    Liquid eggs (with the Beth Din Hechsher) may be used without checking.

       
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