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ON COOKING: An apple a day…

Selecting and storing apples correctly is easy as pie
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by Chef Dez/Special to Black Press Media

We’ve all encountered the disappointment of biting into a once-promising apple, only to be met with a mushy, unappetizing surprise. Rotten apples can be quite frustrating, especially when you were looking forward to enjoying a crisp and juicy bite. Rotten apples are a result of various factors, primarily centered around improper storage conditions and the natural processes of decay.

Here are some key reasons why apples go bad:

Moisture: Excess moisture can lead to mold growth, causing apples to rot from the inside out. If you are washing them prior to putting them in the refrigerator, make sure they are completely dry before doing so.

Bruises and damage: Apples with bruises or cuts are more susceptible to rotting, as these areas provide entry points for bacteria and fungi. Make sure you are inspecting apples thoroughly when buying them. Although this may be a bit difficult if they are in pre-weighed bags with printed advertising, do your best to turn the bag around a few times to examine more thoroughly. You can also try gently squeezing the apples to see if any give way to your touch as this may be a sign of spoilage. Also look for apples that still have their stem intact. Apples with no stems could be a sign of maturity, as well as an opportunity for moisture to gather and an advanced opportunity for deterioration to start.

Air exposure: Apples exposed to air, especially if the skin is punctured, tend to deteriorate faster due to oxidation. This is the same idea as a cut slice of apple going brown.

Temperature: Warm temperatures can accelerate the decay process, making it essential to store apples in cool environments.

Consuming rotten apples is not advisable, as they may contain harmful bacteria and mold that can lead to foodborne illnesses. Eating a rotten apple can cause digestive issues, such as upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea. To ensure your health and well-being, it’s best to avoid consuming any part of a rotten apple.

The best way to prevent rotting apples is through proper storage. Store apples in a cool, dry place, ideally in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. This slows down the ripening process and helps prevent moisture buildup. Make sure you are also inspecting the apples before storing them. Examine apples for bruises, cuts, or signs of damage before storing them. Remove any damaged apples to prevent the spread of spoilage and keep them separate from the ones you want to have on hand as snacks. You can also separate apples from other fruits and berries in your refrigerator. Apples release ethylene gas, which can speed up the ripening of other fruits nearby. Keep them separate to extend their freshness.

If you notice slightly soft or bruised apples, consider using them in recipes like applesauce, smoothies, or baked goods to prevent waste.

While rotten apples can be disappointing, understanding the causes and effects of spoilage can help you make informed decisions about consuming or discarding them.

By taking proper storage precautions and being mindful of their condition, you can enjoy the full potential of fresh, crisp, and delicious apples. So, the next time you reach for an apple, remember these tips to ensure that each bite is a delightful and wholesome experience.



– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at Send questions to or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4


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