If there’s any foolproof way to make fruits and vegetables unappetizing, it would be the presence of fruit flies. These little critters can certainly make you think twice about eating or cooking the produce, even if you just bought it from the store or spent a lot because it’s exotic and organic. TIME magazine reporter Markham Heid sought to explain how fruit flies take over fruits and vegetables.
Fruit fly moms lay their eggs on everything, from just-starting-to-ripen fruit—like the kind you recently brought home from the market—to the small bits of old produce rotting in your kitchen garbage can, according to the University of Michigan.
That’s gross. Fortunately, if your fruit isn’t overripe or rotting, the fruit fly larvae and their proud parents haven’t yet burrowed their way deep inside your apples or pears, explains Dr. Gregory Courtney, an entomologist at Iowa State University. They’re just hanging out around the surface of your produce, waiting for the juices inside to start fermenting. (If the risk of pesticides or dirt never inspired you to wash your fruit, maybe the possible presence of fruit fly eggs will do the trick: washing produce rinses away the eggs before they’ve hatched, as long as the fruit is ripe and fresh.)
If you want to rid your produce of fruit fly eggs, you might be wondering how to wash fruits and vegetables effectively. The conventional way of doing it is simply giving it a rinse on the sink, but will water from the tap really be enough?
The FDA recommends washing all produce with clean running water before preparing (e.g. slicing, peeling, or cooking) and eating them. Firm fruits and vegetables like cucumbers or watermelons can also be scrubbed with a produce brush. Pre-washed items labelled ready-to-eat can be safe to eat immediately as long as there’s no cross-contamination.
However, if you spot fruit flies, or if the produce has been left in the open for a long time, you may need a more thorough cleaner, such as an organic fruit and vegetable wash like iGOZEN. Fruit fly eggs and other microbes (not to mention residual pesticides) may have proliferated on the surface of these fresh goods. The innovative wash thoroughly strips these harmful elements away, so you can enjoy your juicy fruits and leafy greens without a worry.
(Source: You Asked: Do Fruit Flies Come From Inside Fruit?, TIME, October 15, 2014)