Have you ever been so anxious to eat those yummy, gorgeous, fresh grapes right in the cart on your trip through the grocery store? I have to admit, I LOVE grapes and they always look so yummy that I want to just rip open the container and eat a handful while waiting in the checkout line.
And at home, I’ll walk past the fridge and sneak a peek for a snack calling my name, and those little sweet morsels are just begging for me to pinch off a couple and eat them. But if I do this, which I have (both in the store and at home) I sometimes wonder about that nasty little white film on them.
Is it healthy? Am I eating some type of preservative or chemical? YIKES!
This question plagued me for quite some time, and for some reason I just never bothered to research this and find out what the heck it is. I’m an obsessive label reader and food tracker, so I searched the labels for anything, but always came up with nothing. I even wondered; is the food industry just turning a blind eye to this?
I mean, I’ve studied a LOT of nutrition labels and researched a ton of items that we find in our food sources. It’s not surprising to me that the FDA has a pretty broad approach to what they allow in our foods. You should really take a much closer look at some of the things you eat. You’ll be quite surprised at what’s allowed that is harmful and unhealthy!
However, in this particular instance, there is nothing to be alarmed by, and no talking dirty about the FDA.
The white film you find on fresh grapes, and some other fresh fruits like blueberries, is 100% natural and part of the plant’s own growth cycle and defense mechanism. The white substance is called “bloom” and it is a type of yeast that develops naturally on the flesh of fresh fruits as it ripens. This film is a natural protectant for the fruit against pests, sun damage, loss of moisture, and a host of other things the plant finds harmful for it.
So other than an unpleasant taste and chalky texture in the mouth, this bloom is perfectly healthy and natural, and can be ingested without fear.
But, there are a couple things to consider. This bloom is somewhat tacky, and therefore during the packing and shipping process, dust and airborne particles can stick to the grapes quite easily, making its way into your fridge and into your digestive system if the fruit goes unwashed.
Additionally, simply because this white film is natural and can be safely ingested, this doesn’t mean your fresh fruits haven’t potentially been subjected to other “approved” chemical sprays and pesticides during the growth and packaging process. These are all perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the FDA regulations and seemingly do not cause any harm to us when eaten. However, I’m still not 100% convinced of their safety, after years of research and data on many food additives and preservatives the government has approved as healthy.
So how do I eat my fresh fruits?
First, I don’t go out and buy some “fruit cleaner” sold in stores that is nothing more than another chemical being sold to unsuspecting consumers. Nope, just plain old tap water, right from my faucet and a good splash around my bowl.
I’ve heard some people say they’ve used a bit of lemon juice to give a little extra “scrub” to the washing process, but honestly, I don’t see it as necessary. I consume a ton of water, right from my faucet each day, and that seems to be healthy enough for me. So washing my fruit in water and a light paper towel drying, and my fruit is ready to eat.
Now, lastly, I do make it a habit of washing off a lot of my fruits. They are sold “ready to eat” and the government says they are healthy right from the container, but especially with the world, post-Covid, I just feel a bit safer by running water over my fruits and washing away any dirt, stems and leaves, and potentially any bugs or debris I simply don’t care to ingest. I’m not obsessive with this, but it does make me feel a little better knowing I’ve washed them off. Not to mention, the fresh water on cool fruit makes them feel fresh and tasty to me.
Don’t stress over your fruit right from the store. If you are hungry and need a quick little bite on the way home from the Trader Joe’s, then by all means, the bloom on those grapes won’t hurt you. So enjoy!