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What are they coating apples with these days???

ZenSojourner Nov 7, 2010 11:09 AM

I bought a bag of apples the other day, and I don't know what they coated these babies with, but it practically takes a paint scraper to get it off!

It feels tacky, oily, and waxy all at the same time. Washing - even with Dawn dish soap - does NOT even come close to taking it off. I've had to hang a piece of flour sack cloth next to the apples and use it to sort of scrub this stuff off.

It's weird . . .

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  1. f
    funniduck RE: ZenSojourner Nov 7, 2010 12:08 PM

    Is it the clay? I've seen that on organic apple farms. I think you're suppose to soak the apples and then scrub.

    1. t
      teemo RE: ZenSojourner Nov 7, 2010 12:10 PM

      I know what you mean. The honeycrisp apples I bought last week felt sticky after I ran them under the water, and they made my hands greasy??? Weird.

      1 Reply
      1. re: teemo
        ZenSojourner RE: teemo Nov 7, 2010 05:54 PM

        Yes! That's exactly the same thing that happened to me! I had the devil of a time getting whatever it was off my hands!

      2. p
        piano boy RE: ZenSojourner Nov 7, 2010 01:36 PM

        I buy some things organic, apples are one of them. Compare the coating between a normal one and an organic one. It's actually kind of scary...

        14 Replies
        1. re: piano boy
          Val RE: piano boy Nov 7, 2010 03:30 PM

          I'm with Piano Boy on this...apples are one fruit that you would want to buy *organic* definitely, if you can. See the "dirty list" if you are not sure...apples are on it.

          1. re: Val
            Chowrin RE: Val Nov 7, 2010 04:34 PM

            don't buy organic apples unless you know what you're doing!
            Many apple diseases are HIGHLY carcinogenic... much more than the pesticides!
            [if you're at a farmer's market, I'm sure they'll be able to tell you more about what apple scab looks like, among other diseases].

            1. re: Chowrin
              visciole RE: Chowrin Nov 7, 2010 05:17 PM

              Can you please provide some evidence of this? I have been eating and growing organic apples for years and have never heard anything like this.

              1. re: Chowrin
                toodie jane RE: Chowrin Nov 7, 2010 05:31 PM

                @ chowrin

                I think what you are referring to are naturally occuring chemical compounds found in fruits and vegetables, not in diseases which affect the plants. Almost impossible to injest enough to be harmful.

                Please, can you explain your comment more thoroughly?

                1. re: toodie jane
                  Chowrin RE: toodie jane Nov 8, 2010 07:28 AM

                  no, def. the diseases. other compounds in stuff like basil, sure, but not apples as far as I know.

                  1. re: Chowrin
                    ZenSojourner RE: Chowrin Nov 8, 2010 12:58 PM

                    There are compounds in all fruits and vegetables which are antioxidants. Specifically, in apples, there is caffeic acid. This is also found in many other fruits and vegetables. In very very large quantities, caffeic acid (and just about any other substance we normally ingest) can have carcinogenic properties. In normal quantities (as found in fresh fruits and vegetables), it has beneficial qualities as an antioxidant.

                    However this has nothing to do with diseases of apple trees that would cause carcinogens to be concentrated in the apples.

                    Everybody gets up in arms about this or that substance being carcinogenic. Those saccharin studies that purported to prove saccharin to be a carcinogen? In order to get the dose of saccharin they were feeding those mice (or rats, I forget which they were using now) you would have had to drink 800 cokes a day for 2 years. You would have DROWNED the very first day from trying to ingest that much! In those quantities, ANYTHING is a carcinogen.

                    So what diseases in apples are supposed to leave carcinogenic substances? I haven't been able to find any information on this.

                    Not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to understand what we're talking about.

                2. re: Chowrin
                  ZenSojourner RE: Chowrin Nov 7, 2010 05:50 PM

                  Maybe to the apples! Besides, apples that badly infected or affected by disease aren't going to look very good and are unlikely to show up on the vendor's table.

                  And I've raised apples, I KNOW what apple scab looks like. Nowhere near as bad as corn smut, and people will still eat that. Scab is a cosmetic problem. Cut it off and eat the apple anyway. It's just a surface blemish.

                  And btw, last time I bought apples (a couple of weeks ago) it turns out the "regular" apples, sprayed with who knows what and coated with something else unidentifiable, cost as much as the organic produce. I probably WILL buy organic next time.

                  1. re: ZenSojourner
                    Veggo RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 05:22 AM

                    "Nowhere near as bad as corn smut, and people will still eat that."
                    Hey! Ease up on my huitlacoche! It's a delicacy, and is $12 a pound wholesale!

                    1. re: Veggo
                      ZenSojourner RE: Veggo Nov 8, 2010 01:01 PM

                      Aaaack! *guh guh guh*

                      I support your right to eat whatever you want. Please, just don't . . . . TALK about it?

                      *scrubbing tongue and trying to FORGET!*


                    2. re: ZenSojourner
                      Chowrin RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 07:29 AM

                      apple scab is NOTHING you want to eat. which is why I say, know what you're doing.

                      and yup, the apple's still fine... which is also why I say know what you're doing. I'd be upset with a farmer throwing out produce that's still edible (discounting on the other hand...)

                    3. re: Chowrin
                      Caroline1 RE: Chowrin Nov 8, 2010 02:39 AM

                      Oh my god! And people have been eating apples since Eve! Are you telling us that that's where all the cancer came from? Eve was such a witch!

                      1. re: Caroline1
                        chowser RE: Caroline1 Nov 8, 2010 04:34 AM

                        See, God knew what he was talking about!;-) We should be crucifying Johnny Appleseed, not revering him.

                      2. re: Chowrin
                        visciole RE: Chowrin Nov 8, 2010 02:10 PM

                        Chowrin, I am genuinely interested in hearing about this, but my own (admittedly not very thorough) research has yielded nothing to substantiate it.

                        Can you point me to any research showing this to be true?

                        1. re: visciole
                          Chowrin RE: visciole Nov 11, 2010 06:20 AM

                          guy i heard it from is ten years dead, at least. try e-mailing purdue or cornell? they're the folks in the research business, from what I understand.

                  2. mnosyne RE: ZenSojourner Nov 7, 2010 03:27 PM

                    Opinions vary between silicone and Krytonite!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mnosyne
                      ZenSojourner RE: mnosyne Nov 7, 2010 04:00 PM

                      LOL! Best answer so far!

                    2. Caroline1 RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 02:36 AM

                      Some apples exude their nectar through their skin with a result similar to what you describe. It's a sign of their ripeness and sweetness. I don't know whether the apples you bought are one of those varieties, but you might try licking a spot to check whether it tastes sweet and nectary. Or there's always the peeling option...

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1
                        ZenSojourner RE: Caroline1 Nov 8, 2010 04:09 AM

                        Oh no, this is something not normal. I know they coat fruit and vegetables with oil or wax or something, but this is worse than the average coating. It's been awhile since I bought fresh apples so this may have snuck in when I wasn't looking in the past 5 or 10 years, but it's definitely not anything natural.

                        1. re: ZenSojourner
                          morwen RE: ZenSojourner Nov 10, 2010 09:43 AM

                          I agree with Caroline 1. I picked about 8 bushels of apples this fall from an 85 year old orchard that's been abandoned the last dozen years. When the apples were picked there was of course nothing on them. In the month since I picked them those not wrapped for long term storage have developed a waxy coating on them similar to what you describe. It'ss difficult to remove and leaves my hands feeling coated as well. Nothing wrong with the apples themselves, they're still firm and crispy. I think the fruit produces a sort of natural protective coating that helps keep it from shriveling and drying.

                          BTW that clay coat mentioned upthread is a product called "Surround". We use it and a number of our local organic truck farmers use it. It's great not only for protecting apples and pears but for protecting winter squash plants from borers and squash bugs ( :-( which we found out after the fact). It's harmless, just rinse your fruit well to wash it off.

                          1. re: morwen
                            ZenSojourner RE: morwen Nov 10, 2010 03:50 PM

                            We had a small orchard, with three kinds of apple trees. My grandmother had one as well. I think she had 5 or 6 varieties. I've never, in 50 years, felt this kind of coating on an apple, no matter how long it had been in storage. This is the first time I've come across it even in a grocery store apple.

                            That's all I can tell you.

                            1. re: ZenSojourner
                              morwen RE: ZenSojourner Nov 10, 2010 08:21 PM

                              It's a mystery. I absolutely know the orchard hadn't been worked in any way and the apples I picked weren't treated with anything at all. Maybe it's an odd result of the type of summer we had here.

                              1. re: morwen
                                ZenSojourner RE: morwen Nov 10, 2010 09:27 PM

                                Maybe some varietal peculiarity?

                                There is a different "feel" to long stored apples, but it's not like this. I think other posters further down are right, it's some kind of wax. I'm not sure what food grade shellac would feel like, LOL!

                                1. re: ZenSojourner
                                  morwen RE: ZenSojourner Nov 11, 2010 05:00 AM

                                  I picked Staymens, Cortlands, Black Arkansas, Romes, and several varieties I couldn't identify. Went out yesterday and randomly checked some of the wrapped apples and they're starting to "wax" too but not as much as the unwrapped ones. But it is on all the apples I picked. Doesn't seem to be hurting them.

                                  I agree it's unusual whatever it is. Feels a little sticky though not like the wax on storebought apples. But yeah, I'm using a flour sack towel to get it all off. It definitely interferes with caramel sticking to dipped apples.

                      2. j
                        janniecooks RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 02:40 AM

                        I always assumed it was the same coating that is applied to cucumbers - some kind of wax to keep the moisture in and extend the shelf life. Do you think the apple coating is something different than that waxy stuff on the cukes?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: janniecooks
                          ZenSojourner RE: janniecooks Nov 8, 2010 04:10 AM

                          I don't know. I never buy cucumbers. I do know it's different than any coating they were using the last time I bought apples though.

                          Yucky, oily, greasy, waxy, tacky - a veritable symphony of unpleasant tactile experiences, LOL!

                          1. re: ZenSojourner
                            Uncle Bob RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 04:20 AM

                            Maybe a problem with the waxing process/equipment? Try running hot tap water over the apples...Should help!


                        2. Uncle Bob RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 03:41 AM

                          Unless it's been changed recently, it's a Food grade paraffin (wax) Commonly used on fruits and vegetables to retard moisture loss,,,also in/on some candies ~~~ "Grandma" used it to seal jellies and jams....A very small percentage of the population may be allergic to it...otherwise it is perfectly safe to consume..

                          1. s
                            Shann RE: ZenSojourner Nov 8, 2010 04:34 AM

                            According to Alton Brown (I think it was him when he was doing a candy\carmel apple show but anyway on a food network show) its food grade carnauba wax. He was dipping the apples in hot water for a few seconds to get the wax off before dunking them in the carmel mix.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Shann
                              ZenSojourner RE: Shann Nov 8, 2010 05:26 AM

                              Figures. It's car wax on my apples, LOL!

                              1. re: Shann
                                kmcarr RE: Shann Nov 8, 2010 07:49 AM

                                Yes, I saw Alton's show too and it was carnauba wax. According to the Food Network recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...) you should dip the apples in boiling water for 20 seconds.

                                1. re: kmcarr
                                  ZenSojourner RE: kmcarr Nov 8, 2010 01:02 PM

                                  OM gawd! I have to boil my apples before I can eat them? I think I'll stick with scrubbing it off with the flour sack cloth! LOL!

                                  1. re: ZenSojourner
                                    Shann RE: ZenSojourner Nov 10, 2010 04:08 AM

                                    He was actually dipping them to get the wax off so that the coatings, caramel or candy, would adhere to the apple. He didn't say you had to do anything if you were just eating it.

                                    1. re: Shann
                                      ZenSojourner RE: Shann Nov 10, 2010 04:16 AM

                                      Maybe this batch just had a really thick coating of whatever it is, but there is NO WAY I want to put that in my mouth. It feels yucky enough just touching it!

                                      Scrubbing it off with a cloth seems to work and it's a lot less trouble than boiling a pot of water to dip the apple in, when all you want is to eat a single apple. It strikes me as very odd to have to do that - even if it's just for a few seconds. I have to ask if I really need an apple to have that much shelf life, but it's not about what I (as a customer) need, but what the grocery store needs. They need the apples to stay pretty until somebody buys them.

                              2. j
                                jasonq RE: ZenSojourner Nov 9, 2010 12:23 PM

                                Just to chime in here...typically it's carnauba wax or candellia wax (both produced from natural sources) or a food-grade shellac. Apples also have a natural waxy coating on them. From what I've read using detergent on apples is recommended against because the skin is porous.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jasonq
                                  ZenSojourner RE: jasonq Nov 9, 2010 05:59 PM

                                  This is definitely not any sort of "natural waxy coating". Something foreign for sure. Take it from someone who has harvested and preserved a ton of apples over the years.

                                  Detergent didn't touch the stuff, no worries about it getting to the skin of the apple.

                                  Shellacking apples - there's a thought!


                                2. n
                                  nooyawka RE: ZenSojourner Nov 10, 2010 07:05 AM

                                  Have you tried something more abrasive, like fine sandpaper? I haven't tried it yet, but would be curious to know.

                                  I like to eat apples with the peel and I've had the same concern for years. I've also found the soap/detergent solution not to work. Someone suggested rubbing salt on it and that didn't work either. I figured you would need something abrasive and sandpaper was the most logical solution.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: nooyawka
                                    ZenSojourner RE: nooyawka Nov 10, 2010 07:14 AM

                                    Actually I've been using one of my flour sack cloths to scrub the stuff off and that seems to work pretty well. I think it's like butter muslin or tightly woven cheesecloth. I use it when I make paneer, among other things. It's not like "regular" cheesecloth, the stuff that looks like gauze, it's a much tighter weave than that.

                                    Although the way it feels when I touch the apples make me feel like taking sandpaper to it, LOL!

                                  2. ZenSojourner RE: ZenSojourner Nov 16, 2010 02:20 AM

                                    I bought another bunch of apples last week. These don't have the weird sticky feeling from whatever was on the last batch. Very strange, but these seem about normal, for grocery store apples that have been coated with something or other, LOL!

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