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Pizza and Bugs

Posted by tinako on May 28, 2010

Dinner was Pizza with Marinara, basil, Faux Feta, artichoke hearts, olives, broccoli, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Sailboat Popsicles

I’ve been making popsicles for my kids lately.  I buy 100% fruit juice and freeze it in the popsicle makers.  I went to look for an image in case you don’t know what that is, and came across this.  Isn’t it clever?

Make sure your juice is vegetarian!  My friend mentioned that she accidentally drank something recently and then found that it had cochineal in it.  That would be crushed bugs; they’re added for red color and are also often labeled carmine.  Manufacturers did not want to put anything on the label at all indicating that their product deliberately contained bugs, but some people are allergic to them and they raised a stink.  The manufacturers compromised by putting “carmine” or “cochineal” as a secret code word.  Now you’re in on the cabal.  Look for the bugs in maraschino cherries and fruit cocktail as well.

Speaking of bugs, I bought a new brand of corn meal at the store a month ago and a few weeks later opened it to discover it had bugs in it, specifically Indian Meal Moths.  I am not going to include a picture here below my yummy pizza – you will have to look it up.  Anyway, if you open flour and see larvae or moths, it is probably an Indian Meal Moth.  I used to have them all the time at my old house, probably because I did not know how to store grains.  I am much more careful here, and these corn meal hitchhikers were my first.

Here is a site with even more control info.  They can definitely get into plastic bags with no problem.  The Wiki site says they can get into Tupperware, but that has never happened to me – but I do have a Tupperware that doesn’t close well (never use it for long term storage), so maybe that can be a problem.  Since smartening up, I keep all grains, seeds, legumes, bird seed, and pet food in plastic, ceramic, or glass containers with very tight lids, or in the freezer.  I try to keep the pasta moving, use it up.  I would not trust a big storage tote bin.  Tins may be OK, but too many times I opened tins at my Mom’s house and found bugs in it; they could have already been in the grain when she sealed the cans, but I just don’t trust them.

The bugs will be killed while in the freezer for several days, so if you’re unsure, put the grains in the freezer before storing them in a solid container.  You can put paper sacks of flour right in the freezer, but you probably want to wrap them in a plastic bag.  I store my 50 lb. bags of flour in garbage bags, rather carelessly closed, in the freezer for 6 months.  It doesn’t pick up any smells or anything.  Make sure the flour is in a moisture resistant container (such as a bag or bin) when you first take it out so that condensing water will not wet your flour.

In addition to noticing the larvae and moths themselves, the easiest way to spot an infestation is to look for small webs, little bits of tiny webs that the food sticks to.  Look all over outside the package, and you can open it up and look in the headspace inside.   If I saw nothing I would feel pretty good about using it.  I hope I caught them soon enough, but I will keep my eye out for the small web cocoons on the ceiling.   The Colorado site says to throw away the infested product or use it up.  Hmmm.  Now I’m really glad I’m vegan.  I went back to the store this week, and the brand I had just bought looked OK (and I bought another and it seems fine), but the brand I usually bought had webs on the outside.  I let an employee know they have a problem.

One last topic today.  I accidentally bought some full-salt veggie juice after having weaned myself away to no-salt (by buying no-salt and adding 1/2 t salt per bottle for a half dozen bottles).  I wondered whether I would find it disgustingly salty now, and indeed I do.  I think I’ll give it to my Dad.

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One Response to “Pizza and Bugs”

  1. conradvisionquest said

    thanks for the tips about the moths! i think i will now store my grains in the freezer.

    ~wendy

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