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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Remove Wax From Apples & Other Produce

Our favorite Honeycrisp apples, beaming with
a wax coating. Photo courtesy


Those shiny, tempting apples are wearing make-up: a layer of wax. Waxing apples (and other fruits and vegetables) not only makes them look better, but it also helps them last longer.

All-natural waxes—such as carnauba wax, derived from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree, and candellia wax, made from a small desert shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, are certified as edible by the USDA and have been used on fruits and vegetables since the 1920s.

After harvest and before the apples are packed and shipped, they undergo several washings to remove dirt. The extensive washing removes the natural wax that many fruits and vegetables make to help retain moisture.

Replacing the wax also helps inhibit mold growth and protect fruits and vegetables from bruising. The amount of wax used is minuscule: Each apple (or other waxed produce) is coated with only a drop or two.


You don’t want to peel the apple to remove the wax: Most of the nutrition is in the skin and the seeds. (But don’t swallow too many seeds for the nutrients—they have minute amounts of cyanide that build up in quantity.)

How To Remove Wax From Apples

We don’t have a problem with the wax—although we are wary that it can cover pesticides that aren’t fully removed during the washing cycle.

But we do miss the apple aroma we enjoy when picking apples at orchards. Removing the wax releases the lovely apple scent and completes the organoleptic* experience.

Take your pick of these wax-removal techniques:

  • Lemon Juice Technique. Use a vegetable brush and a lemon juice or vinegar bath (one tablespoon in a bowl of water, along with a tablespoon of baking soda). Scrub, then rinse well.
  • Boiling Water Technique. Immerse the apples in boiling water for 10 seconds and immediately wipe with a kitchen towel.
  • Commercial Wash Technique. Use a vegetable wash spray.
    Buying organic isn’t the solution: Organic apples may also be waxed. But you can find unwaxed apples at some supermarkets and farmers markets.

    Wax may turn white on the surface of fruits or vegetables that have been subjected to excessive heat and/or moisture. This whitening does not impact the flavor or the healthfulness.

    Thanks to Rainier Fruit Company for much of this information.

    *Organoleptic: Relating to qualities that stimulate the senses: appearance, aroma, color, feel and taste.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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