You’ve heard it before: one bad apple spoils the bunch. It’s used by parents to make their children cognizant of the company they keep. But can one bad apple really can spoil the bunch—like actual apples, that is?
As it turns out, yes, a bad apple will, in fact, spoil a bunch.
It can take a few days to weeks for mold to grow on our produce. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hundreds of thousands of species of mold live on plant and animal matter, which spreads through the air, water, and insects. Therefore, mold can easily travel from one piece of fruit or vegetable to another if it’s touching it. It’s recommended to throw away any moldy produce and inspect any produce near it.
Rubbermaid 6-Piece Produce Saver Containers
Keep produce fresher longer.
“If you see mold, feel mushy skin, or see discoloration, this produce must also be discarded,” Tamika Sims, senior director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council, told HuffPost.
However, throwing away every bit of produce is unnecessary if you spot a bit of mold on one. If there’s no mold on a piece of fruit or vegetable that’s been hanging out next to a rotting one, it’s safe to eat. Make sure to rinse it with running tap water first though, per the USDA’s recommendation.
Finally, don’t forget to clean out and wipe down the fridge regularly, especially if moldy items have surfaced, and use proper storage solutions to extend the life of your fruits and veggies.