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What Causes Mealy Apples?

By Dan Taylor ; Updated March 16, 2018

An apple may look good on the outside, but under the surface can be grainy and nasty. A mealy apple is an unpleasant surprise that may leave you wondering how a perfectly good-looking apple could get this way. The answer is a biological process that goes right down to the cellular level.

Cells Separate

Apples taste delicious when their cells are intact and holding on to each other. When they aren't, they break apart into individual cells as soon as you bite into the apple. This makes the apple taste grainy.

Apple Dries Out

Water is what holds the cells together, and it is therefore the essential ingredient of a good apple. A fresh apple is juicy as soon as you bite into it. The reason why mealy apples taste so unpleasant is because they dry out on the inside.

Goes Bad Eventually

An apple will become mealy if it is kept in storage too long. If you buy apples out of season, they're more likely to be mealy as they've been kept in a storehouse for weeks or months. You can find out if an apple is mealy by tapping it. Mealy apples will sound dense; good ones sound hollow. If you do buy apples that are fresh and in-season, use them within a week or so or they may begin to go bad. Keep them refrigerated so they will stay fresh as long as possible.

Using Mealy Apples

It is still possible to enjoy a mealy apple by cooking it. Cooking breaks down the cells and releases the liquid they store. Turn your mealy apples into a batch of applesauce, or bake them into crispy chips that you can put in a bag and take with you on a hike. Try baking whole apples and stuff them with brown sugar or nuts. Use the apples to make a sweet and savory sauce for marinating pork or for baking muffins.

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