Tu B’Shvat

Buying Dried Fruit for Tu-Beshvat? Keep an Eye Out for These 4 Things!

All you wanted to know about buying (dried) fruit.

| 09.02.17 | 17:30
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In Honor of Tu Beshvat which considered the New Year for trees, the Kashrut Division of the Israel Rabbinate calls people buying dried fruit to look out for these 4 things.

1. Buy from a vendor that has kashrut certification for Orlah (fruit before the fourth year of a tree), Terumot and Maasrot (tithing): A person should be careful to buy only from a vendor that is certified Kosher for the above items.

2. Kashrut of oil spread on fruit: dried fruit often has oil spread on it and you should make sure those oils are kosher.

3. Look for up to date certification: In supervised stores you should make sure that all merchandise is stamped with kashrut certification as required by law and that delivery receipts are signed by a Kashrut supervisor.

4. Checking for Bugs: Many fresh and dried fruits can be infested and must be checked according to the methods publicized by kashrut

It’s important to understand that the kosher certification on a fruit doesn’t exempt you from checking for bugs. Rabbi Moshe Vaye Author of the book ‘Checking Food According to Halacha’ explains how to check various fruit:


Walnuts:  If you find many crumbs or signs of nibbling it’s a sign of being infested. Strings are a sign of moth worm infestation and you should not use them. Sift with a coarse sifter and look at both sides of the nut. If you see signs of infestation do not use them.

Cashews:  You must split them in half to check them. A nibble trail mark is a sign of infestation. If you see a few brown crumbs between halves of the cashew they are normally part of the peel and not bugs or a sign of infestation.

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Usually are clean.

Hazel Nuts: Look at all of them from the outside and open a few as a sample. If they’re infested you must check all of them.  (The middle of the nut has a stain which is not an infestation)

Pistachio nut: Break them in half and check them.

Peanuts: Investigate them from outside after shelling them and open a few as a sample. If you see signs of infestation you must open them all. You must exercise more caution in the summer and if they were stored for over a year it’s worthwhile to open all of them.

Ground Peanuts: Spread them out and check or sift them. Don’t use if infested.

Granola: A very problematic product made with many things that need to be checked like raisins, oats, wheat germ, etc. Spread out and check between pieces. Since checking is difficult it’s better to prepare homemade granola with items you personally pre-checked.

Pumpkin Seeds: Generally are clean.

Sunflower Seeds: Each seed needs to be checked. Shelled sunflower seeds are also often infested.


Israeli grown sour cherries are assumed to be clean.

Israeli grown sweet cherries should be sample checked.

Sour Cherries from outside of Israel should be sample checked.

Sweet cherries from outside of Israel should be individually checked.

Sugared cherries should be individually checked.

Dried cherries should be sample checked by soaking some in boiling water for 2 hours. If infested each one must be checked.

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is assumed to be infested.


Fresh apricots: Cut in half remove pit and check inside. Dots on the outside are not scales. If they are too soft you should peel the outside and check the flesh of the fruit.

Dried Apricot: When sold halved rinse in warm water and check. When sold closed open and and check opposite light from both sides.

Apricot leather: It’s worthwhile to hold the whole sheet up to the light in case a fly got stuck to it.

Nuts in general: Peanuts and other nuts are picked once a year and can be stored for more than a year. Therefore they should be checked.

1. Peel and check from outside.

2. Open a few for a sample check.

3. If you find bore holes strings or infestation inside each one must be opened and checked.

Raisins: Are stored long term and are liable to be infested.

California golden raisins: are generally clean and easy to check.  You spread them in the palm of your hand look on one side and flip them to look at the other side.

Israeli grown golden raisins and brown raisins should be checked by soaking them in warm water a few minutes and stirring them up. If they’re infested you’ll see the bugs floating on the water. If infested don’t use since they’re liable to be infested inside with no way to check them.

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Commercially grown pomegranates are normally clean. Privately grown pomegranates are often infested. A large hole or brown area is a sign of infestation. Sometimes there is a small stain which is not an infestation it’s just a flawed fruit.

Dried Prunes: Generally clean. Rinse outside cut in half and check or rinse inside.

Almonds:  Shelled, check all of them externally and sample check a few by slitting them open. If you find infestation you must check all of them from the inside. A rubbed out mark on the outside is not infestation.

Figs: Very infested. It’s very hard to detect infestation as the bugs look like the hairy fibers inside the fruit.

Fresh figs:

1. You cut and peel open the fig and inspect from the inside.

2. You place the fig in a glass of water with the opening facing downwards. If it’s infested you will see small worms swimming in the water and after 2 minutes they sink to the bottom of the glass. In such a case don’t eat the fig as there may be more worms inside that didn’t come out.

Dried figs: More problematic since the worms that were white died and turned brown and are much harder to detect.
Figs are best bought soft and juicy and not hard and dry.

Checking dried figs:

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Rinse well around and by the stem.

2. Look for a hole on the outside besides the hole of the stem.

3. Cut the fig in half and inspect in the light. To assist in checking you can stretch the fruit to make it thinner and more transparent to inspect opposite the light.

It’s worthwhile to remove some of the seeds to make the fig more transparent and easier to inspect.

If the figs are very dry it’s worthwhile to rinse them on the inside too.

Black spots in a fig are generally a sign of infestation.


1. The best fruit to get are smooth and straight and not “twins” or creased in the middle.

2. Cut off the green leaves on top with a bit of the fruit touching it and any creases or folds should be cut.

3. Soak in soapy water for 3 minutes.

4. Taking a few at a time and rinse them under a strong stream of water on all sides.

5. If a crack reaches the inside of the fruit you should split open a few berries as a sample and check them from the inside.

Dates: Cut open and check from both sides opposite the light.
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