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I had several apples stored in a plastic container for several days. Two apples spoiled and had to be thrown away, the rest still looks fresh and firm.

I rinsed the remaining apples under cold water, then dried them and placed them in a cupboard.

I tasted one a day later and despite looking perfect inside, it has a moldy, unpleasant taste.

Is there anything I can do to save those apples, or do I have to throw them away?

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Apples often spoil due to fungal or bacterial infections. The microorganisms responsible can produce a range of metabolites as they break down the tissues in the apple, including alcohols, acids, and gases — all of which can impart off odors (and therefore flavors) to nearby, healthy fruits.

Some fungi produce mycotoxins (toxic compounds that can be harmful if ingested and potentially affect the quality of adjacent produce).

Apples (and other fruits) also emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can affect flavor and aroma. As an apple spoils, the profile of these compounds changes, and these changes can impact the sensory qualities of nearby fruits.

If you have apples that have been affected by some rotten apples, washing them as you did is a good first step. You may need to peel the skins and also perhaps cut away some of the affected areas. You'll have to go by sight and taste to determine how much has been affected. Some of the compounds created can be unhealthful, so I don't recommend eating the apples if they smell or taste bad.

You know what they say about one bad apple....

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Apples should be stored in the fridge in the crisper drawer set to low humidity, in a bag. Storing in the cupboard at room temperature will invite mold/rot and will make the apples lose their crispness and become mealy.

I've noticed a lot of times the moldy taste can come from invisible mold being on the skin itself. "cold water rinse" isn't really enough. Wash the outside of the apple well and quickly with warm sudsy water and a cloth. This also helps get rid of the wax and pesticide residue on the skin.

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I admit that I don't know enough about the lifecycle of mold to know whether you're tasting a mold colony inside a nice-looking apple, or just smelling the residue of the other apples' mold.

But here is a practical solution for you: peel the apples. Maybe even give a quick rinse to the peeled slices, under running water, to wash away whatever got transferred through your hands.

If you can no longer taste any mold, I'd assume it was a surface contamination. If even the peeled apple has a moldy taste, then that must come from mold particles inside the apple flesh, so I'd declare that a bad apple.

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