apples pile on cutting board

According to Food Network, some of the most popular types of apples can be found from July to November, but the best time to eat them might be whenever the mood strikes. The great thing about these beautiful fruits is that there are so many different types to choose from. Parlee Farms states there are over 2,500 varieties of apples in the United States, and the grower shares the fun fact that apples are 25% air. So one could think of a newly picked apple as a breath of fresh air.

Per Statista, people in the U.S. love apples enough to eat a little more than 16 pounds of them. The data site notes that apples and bananas are the fruits we are stuffing our faces with the most. Whether you enjoy eating them whole, in a homemade apple pie, puréed into applesauce, or in some of your favorite dishes and recipes, apples are a nutritious addition to our diet. In fact, Food Network notes a medium apple packs just 72 calories in its skin and flesh, along with 3 grams of fiber and plenty of vitamin C. However, when you go shopping at your favorite supermarket, you may have noticed some of your favorite apples are covered in wax and wondered if that should be included in your diet as well. Do you need to wash the coating off?

The wax is food-grade

Apples being washed in colander

According to McGill Office for Science and Society, apples naturally have a wax that is washed away after the fruits are picked and cleaned to get rid of dirt and anything they may have been sprayed with. The site goes on to explain that when the wax of an apple is washed away, it begins to lose moisture. Per USApple, apples are between 80% and 95% water. Without the protective coating, their crispiness decreases, and their shelf life is lessned. For this reason, apples are sprayed with wax before they go to market.

Does the wax need to be removed before you eat the apple? USApple notes these waxes are edible and made with "food-grade ingredients" approved by the FDA. Among the possible sources are Brazilian palm leaves, which are used to make carnauba ax. These same waxy ingredients can also be found in some candies and pastries. McGill further echoes this sentiment, noting the wax doesn’t cause any harm and will go "right through the digestive system." However, the education site cautions that while the wax is not harmful, you still need to wash your apples before you eat them due to possible exposure to bacteria.