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Help! There are Worms in My Blackberries – Ewwwww!!

Blackberries

I learned something new about blackberries this year. They have worms. Teeny tiny, creepy crawly, little white worms. Not always of course, but often enough that ‘worms in blackberries’ is a common Google search. Ok, so they’re not worms, exactly. They’re actually fruit fly larvae. And, while completely harmless, they’re just not that appetizing. Blackberry scone with a side of fruit fly larvae anyone? No? Well, me either…

So, what to do about these little buggers? First of all, they’re small (about 1/4 inch long), so they’re hard to see. Also, they like to burrow into all the little nooks and crannies of the berries, so picking them all off by hand isn’t very practical. You could cut the berries in half, but that’s time consuming and will likely leave you with a pile of smushed up fruit. The best method for removing them is to fill a large bowl with cold water, dump in about a half cup of salt (I’ve seen anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1 cup salt per gallon of water recommended), stir to dissolve, add the berries, and let soak for 30 minutes or so. Some of the worms will float to the top of the water as they die. Just skim them off. Gently lift out the berries. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if desired, but the vast majority of the worms are usually gone after the first go round.

Side Note: If you’re on a low-sodium diet (or love someone who is), a soak in vinegar water (1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar or plain white vinegar per 1 gallon of water) works just as well.

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