Waxy – even Organic – Apples
My 86-year-old mother is an apple lover. She can tell you happy stories of buying herself fresh apples with her first paychecks as a teenager. Red Delicious are probably her favorite. When I visited her last year, she showed me how she had resigned to not just washing, but scraping her apples and rinsing with hot water, before eating. This is to remove the food grade wax that is so common, and likely creating the bitter taste on the tongue for some of us.
I thought my habit of buying organic apples would prevent my exposure to wax, but not true. I’m now scraping my apples, as well. Here’s a photo of today’s organic apple before its hot water rinse.
According to the FDA website, there’s “only a drop or two of wax” on my apple. Sure seems like more. Here’s what else the FDA says:
Why are wax coatings used on fruits and vegetables?
Many vegetables and fruits make their own natural waxy coating. After harvest, fresh produce may be washed to clean off dirt and soil - but such washing also removes the natural wax. Therefore, waxes are applied to some produce to replace the natural waxes that are lost.
Wax coatings help retain moisture to maintain quality from farm to table including:
Waxes also help inhibit mold growth, protect produce from bruising, prevent other physical damage and disease, and enhance appearance.
How are waxes applied?
Waxes are used only in tiny amounts to provide a microscopic coating surrounding the entire product. Each piece of waxed produce has only a drop or two of wax.
Coatings used on fruits and vegetables must meet FDA food additive regulations for safety. Produce shippers and supermarkets in the United States are required by federal law to label fresh fruits and vegetables that have been waxed so you will know whether the produce you buy is coated. Watch for signs that say: “Coated with food-grade vegetable-, petroleum-, beeswax-, or shellac- based wax or resin, to maintain freshness.”