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This question comes from someone who's interested in preparing and selling food items with strawberries as a main ingredient. In a scenario where many strawberries are being used at once, would each strawberry need to be inspected for insects or residue and or washed before use?

  • Major supermarkets may well put their strawberries through some kind of industrial washing process first but you should still go through the process of inspection yourself as new bugs can come in. See answers below. – CashCow May 5 '15 at 16:09
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The OU has the following guidelines for strawberries.

STRAWBERRY

Type of insect: Aphids, thrips or mites

Location of insect: Under the green leaf or on the surface of the berry

Method of Inspection: Green tops must be removed. Alternatively, strawberries may be brushed between the leaf and the berry. Soak in soapy solution, then rinse or rub each berry individually under running water.

As there seems to be some disagreement amongst certifying agencies how strawberries have to be inspected, most likely one who is planning on selling a product which uses strawberries will have to follow the agencies guidelines that they choose to use as a certifier.

  • The last paragraph implies what an agency wants as its standard for business owners using their supervision, not necessarily, what a consumer buying fresh produce needs to do. I can't access the link, now, but benefit of the doubt, I assume that this article is geared to the home consumer, as well? Since there are various opinions by different places, I guess, one has room to be lenient. My Dinonline answer does not come from any kashrut agency, FWIW to make an opinion. In that sense, it's "unbiased". not to state that it's better or worse than any other opinion. It's just its viewpoint. – DanF May 5 '15 at 14:43
  • @DanF: The last paragraph is my own add on. The OU clearly indicates that all strawberries should be soaked in a soapy solution, then each individual berry should be rubbed and rinsed under running water. – Gershon Gold May 5 '15 at 15:23
  • Got it. Makes sense, now. – DanF May 5 '15 at 15:27
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See this article. I'm assuming that you mean fresh (raw, unfrozen) strawberries.

If one wants to eat the strawberries whole:

Peel off the entire outer layer of the berry (including deep cracks and the place where the leaf is attached). Rinse well after peeling

From the phrasing as well as the illustration, it seems that this needs to be done individually.

If one wants to cook or grind the strawberries:

Cut off the leaf at the top of the strawberry along with a thin slice (about 1 mm = 1/25 inch) of the fruit that’s touching it. Remove any cracks, deep clefts, or damaged areas. Soak for three minutes in water mixed with a little dishwashing liquid, rub lightly with your fingers or agitate the strawberries with your hand in circular motions in the water, and rinse well under running water in such a way that the water reaches every part of the berry — a handful at a time (Illustrations 430-437). After this process, the berries may be cooked or blended. It is praiseworthy to soak the strawberries in soapy water three times and rinse well after each soaking before grinding them.

From the phrasing and the illustration in this paragraph, it needs to be individually cut, obviously, but rinsing can be done with a batch of them together.

I am uncertain why there is this difference. I guess there's some leniency when cooking?

  • That's interesting this article by the Chicago Rabbinical Council only mentions cutting the top off of fresh strawberries then rinsing them. No peeling or removal of cracks involved. How do I judge which one to follow? – Echad-Ani-Yodeya May 4 '15 at 22:49
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    @Echad-Ani-Yodeya Hmmm ... This is why you want to ask a Rav. Personally, I am more lenient and use CRC's method, but the Dinonline does have some merit to the peeling. Admittedly, though, I have never found any bugs in any strawberries I bought from the store. Fresh picked ones from the bush are a whole other story. More work, but you can't beat the taste! – DanF May 4 '15 at 23:03

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