You may have heard or noticed that apples are coated with wax. Before you decide that’s an “ew” factor, read on to understand just why putting a gloss on apples is a nearly universal practice.
First, Mother Nature has endowed apples with their own wax. Just as our hair follicles produce natural oils for a variety of reasons, so apples produce wax to cover their skin. Some varieties produce more of it than others.
We usually remove most of an apple’s natural wax during the washing process, which is necessary to ensure the apples are clean and safe. After all, they’re grown outdoors.
Then we must re-apply a food-grade wax. The same type of wax, in fact, that’s applied to candy bars and shiny chocolate candies.
In produce, food-grade wax has more than a cosmetic use. It also works to hold moisture inside the apple – not unlike how we use hand or skin cream to retain moisture and keep our hands from chapping and drying out.
Retaining moisture in fruit makes a big difference between biting into a crispy apple or one that’s crumbly and less satisfying.
An ultra-thin coat of food grade wax is very good for the apple, and ensures it can tolerate the rigors of trucking and store conditions.
NOTE: When you wash your apples before eating (a recommended practice), using hot water may cause the skin of the apple to turn white. Sometimes people assume, incorrectly, that this is pesticide residue. In fact, hot water can turn food-grade wax from clear to opaque white, causing the fruit to look less appetizing although still fully delicious.
Better to rinse apples in cold water, and store in a refrigerator until consuming.