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I used to peel off the thin wax layer that covers red apples. Is this necessary?

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Are you sure you aren't eating the table decorations? ;-) – Tim Gilbert Aug 4 '10 at 19:02
Um seriously, if your apples are coming with enough wax that you can actually peel it off... shop elsewhere. – daniel Aug 5 '10 at 7:42
up vote 13 down vote accepted

The food-grade wax applied to apples after being washed post-harvesting (which removes their naturally produced waxy outer coating) is safe.

From the U.S. Apple Association:

Waxes have been used on fruits and vegetables since the 1920s. They are all made from natural ingredients, and are certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be safe to eat. They come from natural sources including carnauba wax, from the leaves of a Brazilian palm; candellia wax, derived from reed-like desert plants of the genus Euphorbia; and food-grade shellac, which comes from a secretion of the lac bug found in India and Pakistan.

That said, if the layer of wax is so thick that you can peel it off, it wouldn't hurt to brush it off under warm water; wax isn't digestible. (I use a speck of Dawn or a spritz of enzymatic vegetable/fruit spray to clean my apples because I hate the added wax.)

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If you're eating red delicious apples coated in thick wax, you are really missing out on the wonder of dense, sweet, crisp, tart apples. Red delicious have an unnaturally thick skin, mealy flesh, and little apple flavor. I highly, highly recommend some Gala, McIntosh, or other smaller, rounder, really delicious apples.

Also, it's at least a good idea to rinse with a light soap/vegetable wash since the wax can pick up dirt and bacteria.

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Poster only said red. Anyhow you should look much farther than Gala for apple variety. – Erik Olson Sep 6 '11 at 2:29

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