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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bad Apples

Bad Apples

We’ve all heard the saying “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” and have probably seen instances where it does apply to people, but does it actually happen with fruit?

Yes. As they ripen, some fruits, like apples and pears, produce a gaseous hormone called ethylene, which is, among other things, a ripening agent. When you store fruits together, the ethylene each piece emits prods the others around them to ripen further, and vice versa. (Fun tip: Want to quickly ripen an avocado? Stick it in a paper bag with an apple overnight.)

The riper a piece of fruit is, the more ethylene it produces, and overripe fruit gives off even more ethylene, eventually leading to a concentration of the gas that’s enough to overripen all the fruit. Given the right conditions and enough time, one apple can push all the fruit around it to ripen—and eventually rot.

Additionally, an apple that is infested with mold will contaminate other fruit it’s stored with as the mold seeks additional food sources and spreads. In both cases, it actually does take just one single apple to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the bunch.

Read the full text here:  –brought to you by mental_floss!

I usually eat an apple a day. Fuji apples are my favorite. When I buy a nice big bag, I check to make sure none of the apples inside have bruises on them. When I get my nice bag of fragrant, crisp apples home, I open the bag and put the apples into my fruit basket. Once in a while, one apple with a mushy spot will sneak in. The trick is to remove it quickly and wash the rest of the apples that it touched. The longer you leave the bad apple in with the rest, the more likely you will end up with an entire spoiled batch.
The bad apple analogy has spread into psychology and organizational psychology.
How one bad apple can create a toxic team
Even if you have an entire bag of beautiful, crisp, fragrant, ripe apples, if there is one rotten apple in the bunch, it will infect the good apples. It doesn’t matter if you put the bag in a nice environment, like a cool refrigerator. The bad apple is the determiner of how the rest of the apples will end up. I can be the happiest, most productive apple in the bunch, but if that bad apple’s gasses touch me day after day…well, you know the rest. 
Give apples a chance.

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