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Are there any vegetables or fruit you can't eat after an infestation?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 7
Location: Coxyde, Belgium
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Just wondering, people are making a fuss about a lot of insects or MO who eat from your fruit / vegetables.
When they only eat a little, or only leave whites spots, such as in thrips with leaks, does it makes the plant inedible?
So, are there certain rules wether to eat the fruit / vegetable or not (beside the obvious ones ;-) )
Thanks, this information could give a whole new direction to so called 'pests', and hopefully we'll be more inclined to share our food a little bit.
 
pioneer
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Posts: 1236
Location: Middle Tennessee
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I think for the most part it does not render the vegetable or fruit inedible. Tomatoes that I missed that are clearly rotting with necrotic black flesh and white foam oozing from them and such, I'll give to the chickens or toss in the compost pile. To me, that's not good eats. I don't mind spots or blemishes and happily eat ugly produce. If I pick some leeks from the garden that have onion maggots in them, they're generally only in the outer couple layers, and I'll peel those off and have a smaller but perfectly fine looking leek. If some critter has burrowed into the bottom of one of my watermelons or cantaloupes, I'll cut the top off and eat that as the worms and ants have only gotten into the bottom portion, which goes to the chickens again and they absolutely love the living garnish.

At the beginning, my wife thought it was gross, but is coming around to it and is more comfortable with my produce selection habits. We're both Americans, and grew up with grocery stores and a false impression that only "perfect" fruits and veggies are good to eat. I've shed that notion and my wife has largely accepted blemished produce, but I'll go a little further with it than she will. I wish grocery stores would offer, for example, bruised apples in a separate bin for a fraction of the price, I'd buy those all day.
 
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I think the concern is more aesthetic than anything--folks just don't like eating pre-nibbled food--though there is a certain 'ick' factor that I assume is a combination of normal human aversion to food that has been tampered with and social conditioning for perfect supermarket produce.  For myself--and, I imagine, for most people who grow plants of some sort--I'm perfectly content eating things that have been slightly nibbled.  That's just the nature of food grown without poisons.  But for those things that have been heavily nibbled--like kale after a cabbage worm infestation--I'll just remove the offending parts and drop them there.  Sure, they'd make fine human food, but they make good soil food too.

As farmers who grow things on a small commercial scale, a lot of what we eat is the non-salable bits, and sometimes we treat ourselves by eating only the best, even if this means discarding things that are perfectly edible.  There's no real 'waste,' anyway.  Dust to dust.

I think we could probably apply this topic to animals as well.  A few years ago I went out after dark to shut up the chicken coop.  A couple had been roosting on top, and one lay headless a few feet away, the victim of an owl attack.  I picked it up and realized it was still warm, then concluded there was no great difference between a chicken rendered headless by an owl and a chicken rendered headless by a hatchet.  So I plucked it, and it was dinner the next night.  On the one hand it had seemed tarnished, but rationally it really wasn't.  Heck, some people even actively hunt small game with the aid of a falcon.  I just did it passively, with an owl.
 
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I have noticed that for veggies like bell peppers and cucumbers if you put the squishy parts under running water and sort of massage away the ooze you will be able to remove all the soft bits and then just lightly trim the edges to get a serviceable chunk.  I admit I only feel 100% comfortable doing this with smallish soft spots on veg that will be cooked but have never had a problem.
 
pollinator
Posts: 389
Location: SF Bay Area
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In my experience, it's mostly a matter of whether or not it's still going to taste good. With a heavy aphid infestation, even if you can get most of the aphids off, the produce is just bland and dried out.

And of course, you can't eat the part the pest removed. Ha, ha. So, if there is not much left, I don't bother.
 
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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whether or not it's still going to taste good



That's the perfect guideline

...maybe even 'taste and texture' both?

I love to eat cherry tomatoes off the vine while I'm working in the garden and have noticed when there has been some damage by stink bugs that I can taste it.  I think the smell/taste is there even if they've just been hanging out on a tomato. 
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