With the approach of Rosh Hashana, when many of us will be enjoying fresh fruits and other traditional foodstuffs, STAR-K reminds you that some of these items need to be checked carefully prior to use.
Checking instructions for all Rosh Hashana Simanim appear here and also as a downloadable PDF below. For your convenience, we are also including links to the 5783 Yoshon Quick Reference Guide, updated Baltimore Establishments Yoshon/Pas Yisroel chart, Insect Checking chart and What Do Bugs Look Like chart.
ROSH HASHANA SIMANIM CHECKING INSTRUCTIONS
DATES*: Open a few dates in each container and visually inspect. If no insects can be seen, the rest may be eaten without further checking.
FIGS*: Open each one and check carefully for infestation (typically wasps, beetles or worms). NOTE: Figs are particularly difficult to check.
* Checking instructions for dates and figs apply even if they have a hechsher, due to the possibility of improper storage.
BLACK EYED PEAS:
- Dried Peas should first be boiled in water. After they have been fully cooked, allow the peas to soak in the water for 2-3 hours. The peas will then swell and the peel will become translucent. Then check as instructed below.
- Canned or Frozen Peas may be checked straight out of the can/bag; there is no need to boil or soak.
- Take the peas and inspect for holes or dark-colored stains, as this may indicate an insect beneath the thin peel.
- If there is a dark spot on the peel, remove the thin skin and check if there is a cavity with a bug in it.
NOTE: The black “eye” spot is not a sign of infestation. Similarly, orange colored stains on the surface are not signs of infestation; only dark or black stains are of concern.
LEEKS: Examine the outside for any leaf miner trails. Check in between the leaves for thrips or other insects.
Fresh Cabbage: Separate all leaves and wash well. Then check using the thrip cloth method.
Stuffed Cabbage: After freezing the head, defrost and separate all leaves and wash them well. Then check using the thrip cloth method.
THRIP CLOTH METHOD:
- Prepare a basin with water and non-bleach/non-toxic dishwasher detergent solution. The water should feel slippery.
- Agitate the produce in the solution for 15 seconds.
- Remove the produce from the basin and shake off excess water over the basin.
- Pour water through the thrip cloth over another basin. Check the thrip cloth over a light box for any insects.**
- If insects are found, wash the produce again and recheck, repeating steps 1-4.
- This can be repeated up to 3 times. If insects are still found on the third try, the produce should not be used.
** If one does not have a thrip cloth, the cabbage leaves may be checked carefully using a lightbox or under good lighting.
HONEY: Pure honey does not need a hechsher (Clover, Wildflower, Blossom, Orange, etc., are types of honey, not flavors). Flavored honey needs a hechsher.