Strawberry Bugs




Take a picture of a typical, everyday, store-bought, home-washed strawberry, using a microscope.  Focus in on the seed.  You may get something like the image on the right.  As expected, it is a picture of a strawberry seed.  The surprise?  There’s a bug, lying under it.

That’s right: Strawberries — and many other fruits and vegetables — come replete with very tiny, almost microscopic insects.  In the case of the strawberry, it’s an incredibly small — about one millimeter in length — white insect which hides around seeds and other white parts of the berry.  You can see one such insect in the picture, right, which was taken using a digital microscope by Star-K, an organization which certifies food as kosher.

Are they safe to eat?  It seems so.  Star-K outlines why one should check food for bugs, but the explanation focuses on the rules of kashruit (the Jewish laws regulating whether a food is kosher) and not necessarily on health and safety aspects. Nevertheless, if you want to rid your strawberries of these tiny critters, here’s how.


Bonus factAccording to the International Ice Cream Association, strawberry ice cream is tied for the third most popular flavor (5.3%), after vanilla (29%) and chocolate (8.9%), as of summer 2008.  Also ringing in at 5.3% is butter pecan (!).  Neapolitan — which is one part chocolate, one part vanilla, and one part strawberry — rounds out the top five.

From the Archives: Pineberries: White strawberries which taste like pineapple, apparently.

RelatedHow to Keep Kosher: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Jewish Dietary Laws by Lisë Stern — because you are probably more likely to keep kosher than to buy a strawberry right now.