"For each of us there is some mission in life if we but find it. All have some definite thing to do, something for which they have been created; and only the doing of this thing will justify their existence here on earth. If we come into the world and occupy space and time without giving back for this privilege, we have not justified ourselves, and our lives in the end are barren." ~ Hay

Saturday, January 21, 2012

All Week Long The Apple Sat.....

On January 4, 2012 I purchased a bunch of organic Honey Crisp Apples from Whole Foods.  The sticker said they were Organic #93283, stamped with the USDA sticker and made in the USA.  The following day one of the apples was cut in half and left on the counter.  A few hours later, I noticed that the apple was not turning brown.  I thought it was really strange especially since that childhood memory of having to eat an apple really fast for fear of it turning brown was still in the forefront of my mind.  The apple of yesteryear would turn brown very quickly at room temperature unless doused with lemon juice.  So…I got out my camera and took a picture and decided to observe the apple (left out at room temperature) over a period of time to see when it would brown.

Picture taken on the evening of 1/5/12 - 8 hours after the apple was cut

What has happened to our foods!  In the good-old-days, apples used to oxidize.  My brother-in-law suggested that maybe something was on the knife and that is why it wasn’t turning brown.  He suggested I get a clean knife and cut the other side and continue to watch to see if it turns brown.  So I did….
Apple picture taken on 1/9/12, after five days of sitting out at room temperature

Fresh cut on back of apple - 1/9/12

Now it’s time for me to play detective.  According to Scienceray.com, once an apple is cut into it should quickly turn brown.  A process called oxidation which is caused by a specific enzyme called polyphenol oxidase.  This enzyme exists INSIDE the cell of the apple.  When the cell is broken, (i.e. when it is cut) it releases the enzyme which then reacts to the oxygen in the air causing the apple to turn brown.  The other piece of evidence I need to consider is the meaning of the USDA stamp.  According to the government’s website, the USDA stamp assures that the apple was not grown with any antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation or bioengineering.
"Sherlock Christine"
What I can deduce from the above mentioned evidence is that the cellular structure of the apple has somehow changed significantly from the apple of 30 years ago.  Will our bodies recognize this apple as food?  How scary!  Michael Pollen has a food rule that states “Do not eat any food that does not rot.”  In a million years, would I ever guess that statement could include an apple! 

Apple picture taken on 1/16/12, 11 days of sitting out at room temperature

Fresh cut of apple, sitting out at room temperature for 7 days

 I hate to pick on Whole Foods, because that is where I shop and I am very grateful for all they have done in the health food movement, but I cannot overlook the fact that they may need better quality controls.  Let this serve as a warning to them to be careful of the product they bring into their stores. 
Needless to say, I won’t be purchasing these apples anymore.  In fact, I put the rest of them in a bag and will return them to the store with this blog post.  Hopefully, they will look into it and offer some type of explanation…..

All week on the table the apple sat.
I had placed it upon my ruffled mat.
It was given to me my cousin Max.
But it never turned brown because it was made out of wax! ~ L.R.


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Anonymous said...

I bet it was irradiated, Christine even though it is grown without pesticides. They do not have to inform you on labeling.
It kills all of the enzymes that are naturally in the fruit so the fruit does not have anything/very little to break it down!

Brian said...

If the apple isn't producing polyphenol oxidase (enzyme), there could be several explanations. The disruption of the enzyme can be caused by a genetic mutation in the gene(s) that code for the production of the enzyme. The mutation could be caused by environmental insults, man-made chemicals, or through a purely random event. It could also have been a product of pollination if pollen with a recessive gene for inhibiting the enzyme was mated with a flower with the same recessive gene. If it was caused by a chemical insult, then you should look into which ones could inhibit the apple's oxidase production.