Nova Scotia Apples - Waxing
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Consumers are becoming more health conscious, and as a result, a new awareness of fresh fruits and vegetables has developed. This has created an increased demand for, and consumption of, fresh produce. In order to ensure that consumers are receiving the best possible product, the industry is continually trying to improve their products to ensure the longest shelf life and best nutrition possible. The use of protective coatings on apples is one method used in this effort.

The Chinese were using waxing processes on fruits as early as the twelfth century, but it wasn't until 1922 that waxing was introduced for widespread use. A thin, wax-type coating is applied to apples as a means of protection.

As fruits and vegetables ripen in the field, most develop a natural wax-like protective layer called a cuticle for protection from the sun's rays. After harvesting, many produce items (including apples) are washed to remove any dirt or dust. Unfortunately, this washing process also removes the waxy cuticle.

Apples are 80-90% water by weight. If they are left without the cuticle, the water quickly begins to evaporate, resulting in a poor product in a relatively short period of time. To maintain freshness and appearance, wax-type coatings may be used. The amount of protective coating is very small. For example: four litres of coating is all that is required to protect five tons of apples - that is approximately 30,000 medium-sized apples.

Naturally, the industry's foremost concern is consumer safety, including the safety of substances used as protective coatings. These coatings may be evaluated by Health Canada to ensure the safety of the product. If, however, you are still concerned about protective coatings, washing in warm water will remove most of the coating and peeling the fruit will completely remove any coating used.