Why You Should Refrigerate Caramel Apples

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 6, 2016 · 0 comments

Fall and candy apples go hand-in-hand. What kid does not delight in munching on a crunchy apple covered in sweet, chewy caramel? Most caramel apples come on a wooden stick which punctures the protective skin of an apple. In 2014 a multistate outbreak of listeriosis was linked to eating caramel-coated apples.

This connection baffled health professionals because neither caramel, which is low in water, nor apples which are acidic are normal breeding grounds for listeria. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Food Research Institute found that when a stick is inserted into the caramel apple it released just enough moisture from the apple to create the right environment to facilitate the growth of listeria monocytogenes.

You don’t have to give up candy apples for fear of illness. The researchers also found that storing the caramel apples in the refrigerator reduced listerial growth for up to a week. If you make caramel apples at home, researchers showed that they can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Just insert the stick before eating.


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