This herb tends to be very infested with numerous types of insects. Therefore, training and familiarity in insect recognition is an absolute must for anyone placed in a position of responsibility for checking herbs.
Aphids, thrips, leaf miners
» Can be found in the curls and/or on top of the leaves.
Steps for cleaning basil
» For cleaning and checking basil, the thrip / mesh cloth method.
Thrip / Mesh Cloth Method:
1. 2 Large containers
2. 2 Colanders
3. Vegetable Wash or any Other Soapy Solution
4. Special Mesh Material (Call Vaad Office to Obtain Material)
5. Light box
6. Spray Bottle
8. Loupe to Confirm Insect’s Prese
STEP 1: Pre-checking the produce
- Separate the bunches of herbs/florets/leaves; proceed with the following steps:
- Firmly hold each bunch/floret/leaf and forcefully hit it against the light box (if produce is noticeably wet it should be dried in a vegetable spinner prior to this step).
- Inspect the light box for insects after hitting each bunch/ floret/leaf (do not wait to inspect the light box until after hitting all the bunches/florets/leaves).
- If, after inspecting the light box, 3 insects of any type (aphids, thrips, mites) are found, the product should not be used.
- If there are fewer than 3 insects, then proceed with Step 2:
STEP 2: Washing the produce
- Fill one container with soapy solution and cold water, using enough solution to make the water feel slippery without causing an excessive amount of suds.
- Place the totally separated produce into the container; leave it for five minutes. Then thoroughly move around the produce. Be sure not to overload the container, leaving ample room to soak and move around the produce.
- Remove the produce from the container; rinse the produce very thoroughly under a strong stream of water. Proceed with Step 3.
STEP 3: Final preparation for checking produce
- Place produce into second clean container; repeat Steps 2a and 2b.
- Line one colander with the mesh cloth and place the second colander into the lined colander so that they fit closely together. Drain the soapy water from the container through the colanders, ensuring that all the contents (including sudsy film adhering to the container walls) are washed out of the container and drained through the mesh cloth.
- Remove mesh cloth from between the colanders and place on light box.
PLEASE NOTE: You are checking the contents that were in the water
STEP 4: Checking thrip / mesh cloth
- Use the spray bottle to dissipate suds for easier inspection.
- Use the toothpick and the spray bottle to assist in separating all debris until completely separated.
- Carefully inspect mesh cloth for the presence of insects (aphids, thrips, mites).
- If even one insect is found, this can indicate that there are more insects in the actual product, and the entire process (Steps 2, 3, 4) should be repeated. This process should not be repeated more than once
- If no insects are found, the product may be used. If insects are found after the second repetition, discard the produce.
If checking is too difficult and onerous, there is a much easier alternative when herbs will be cooked. Follow Step 2 a-c (above), and then place produce in insect filter bag before cooking it.
Herbs Used for Pesto
Pesto is a very popular item made from large quantities of basil. Follow all the steps detailed in the thrip / mesh cloth method including the confirmation for leaf miner presence; continue by placing the basil in a blender and blend until the consistency is an authentic puree.