My friend Tracey recently posted a video on Facebook titled "So Apparently, We've Been Eating Apples All Wrong." I was intrigued, so I clicked on it. In the video, Foodbeast's Elie Ayrouth first demonstrates the way most of us eat an apple — by eating around the core. Then, he does something that freaks out just about everyone who watches the video, which you can see above.
He makes the crazy move of rotating his next apple a little bit and biting the bottom of the apple first! As he eats it from the bottom up, do you know what happens? The core basically disappears. (And please remember: If you're going to eat the whole apple, please make sure the whole apple is clean and has no mold or problem spots.)
Tracey and I decided to try it. She started from the bottom up. I started from the top down. I ate the entire apple — seeds and all. My apple was small and the seeds were very tiny. (Yes, I know that apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and may be dangerous if crushed and eaten in very large amounts.)
Tracey said she made it about 3/4 of the way through before she got to a large section with seeds, then she started eating around them. She then turned it to the top and ate her way down to the seeds. Although she didn't eat the whole thing, she ate significantly more of the apple than she normally would have eaten.
I shared the video and the fact that I had tried it and it worked on my Facebook feed, and I asked friends to comment. Many of them were amazed. They made comments like "that blew my mind," "that changed my life," "so incredible," and many commented that they'd be eating apples like that from now on.
One asked, "Why does this freak me out? It really shouldn't. Why does it?"
I don't have the answer to that question. It freaked me out, too. I'm sure it has something to do with having such a basic belief about such an ingrained habit destroyed so quickly. All our lives we've believed that apples have cores and you have to eat around the core. "If this isn't true," we wonder, "What else isn’t true?"
I was also surprised by how many people said they knew someone who ate apples this way. MNN Lifestyle blogger Starre commented that her grandmother ate apples the "right" way and gave her a hard time about it her entire childhood.
"Having lived through the Great Depression, she knew about not wasting food!" she said, "And she told me everyone used to eat apples 'her' way. Wonder how it changed?"
If you're wondering just how much we actually waste by eating around the core, Ayrouth did the math.
The traditional method of eating around 'the core' seemed to create a sizable amount of waste. In fact, after doing a mass and volume test, we concluded we were seemingly throwing away anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of every apple. If you live by the 'apple a day' motto, then apples priced at $1.30/lb. will set you back $137 year, with a waste of $42.
An extra benefit
When you eat an entire apple, not only are you getting extra fiber and nutrients, you're also swallowing about 10 times the bacteria as your friends who are eating around the core.
And, surprisingly, that might be a good thing, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Microbiology.
Researchers from Graz University of Technology in Austria analyzed store-bought and organic apples, comparing the bacteria in the stem, peel, flesh, seeds and calyx (the bottom where the flower used to be). They found that both apple types had about the same amount of bacteria, but most of it was found in the seeds. So if you don't eat the core, you don't get most of the bacteria.
One type of bacteria called Lactobacillus — a component of probiotics — was found in organic apples, meaning eating the core might be beneficial for gut health. In general, the research showed that organic apples had a more diverse and balanced bacterial community.
So, if you can get over the weirdness factor of eating the whole apple, you may get a beneficial health boost. Grab an organic apple and give it a try.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was published in November 2013.