To keep up with the national demand for apples, apple trees are not grown from apple seeds, but rather, spliced together from different sources onto a dwarf “rootstock”. This enables increased production of more uniform apples, but unfortunately also decreases genetic diversity among apple trees. Vulnerability to any one disease could decimate the entire apple industry. To combat this, apple breeders at Cornell and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working on introducing genetically different rootstocks resistant to a wide variety of diseases. Moving from the orchard to the kitchen, it is generally wise to wash apples before eating them, but a 2015 study by the USDA showed that rinsing with just tap water may not be enough. Some pesticides remain on the peel, making removal by rinsing simple. Other pesticides penetrate into the peel, and so a physical wash is not enough. A study by researchers at UMass Amherst’s Department of Food and Science found that washing fruits with a baking soda wash can help remove the pesticides that persist after rinsing in tap water.
Baking Soda Washes Pesticides from Apples – Chemical & Engineering News
How New Roots Are Driving an Apple Renaissance – NPR: The Salt