If you’ve ever examined lemons in a grocery store, you may have noticed that they have a waxy sheen to them. This makes them look appealing at a glance, but can make them undesirable for eating purposes.
But if you’re able to find unwaxed lemons, you might discover something troubling about them. Generally, unwaxed lemons are more expensive.
This is a little confusing. It must take more effort to put the wax on lemons, so waxed lemons seem like they should cost more – not the other way around.
It turns out, there’s a reason for the increased price of waxed lemons. Read on to find out what it is.
Quick Answer: Why are Unwaxed Lemons More Expensive?
To determine why unwaxed lemons are more expensive, you need only to look at the reasons behind the wax. The wax helps preserve them.
That means unwaxed lemons have a shorter shelf life than waxed ones. A shorter shelf life equates to lemons needing to be sold quicker, or thrown out when they don’t sell in time. Because they need to be continuously restocked, unwaxed lemons will naturally cost more.
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Why are Lemons Waxed?
So why exactly are lemons waxed? A lemon wouldn’t last very long on a shelf without that wax. The wax preserves them so grocery stores can keep them longer.
Additionally, the wax makes the lemons look more appealing. It gives them a glossy, healthy look that makes people more likely to buy them.
Wax also protects the lemons while they’re being transported. They can be bumped and bruised in transit, so the wax functions as a sort of invisible shield.
While all these reasons are perfectly fine, there’s an inherent problem with the wax: depending on what it’s made from, it’s not vegan.
Some wax types are made from polyethylene, which is a kind of plastic. Other waxes are made from beeswax or shellac, neither of which are vegan sources.
Where Can You Find Unwaxed Lemons?
Given that you can’t guarantee a waxed lemon uses wax from vegan sources, you’re probably wondering where you can find an unwaxed one.
Your best bet is to go with organic lemons. These don’t use wax. You can also check your local farmer’s market for lemons.
There are occasionally non-organic lemons that don’t use wax, but this isn’t as common.
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Lemons are waxed to make them look tastier, protect them in transport, and keep them shelf stable. The issue with this wax is it isn’t always vegan.
The alternative, unwaxed lemons, are often more expensive because they have a shorter shelf life. If you’d like to purchase unwaxed lemons, though, your best option is to go with organic ones.