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How to Tell if Apples Have Gone Bad (with photos!)

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Apples are a wonderful, sweet fruit that's popular year-round. They're great when eaten fresh or added to baked goods. Here's how to tell if apples are spoiled or have gone bad.

I'll outline the telltale signs from changes in color, bruised spots, and unpleasant odors.

It's important to know how to tell if an apple has gone bad and if it should be discarded. Not all spots on apples mean they are unsafe to eat, so we'll tell you how to know the difference! Old, rotten apples don't taste good and aren't safe to eat.

Fresh apples should be firm and have a sweet, fruity smell. They come in several colors (green, red, pink, and variations in between) but any apple with dark spots and large brown spots is getting old.

An apple with a large bruise spot being held in a hand.
An apple with a large bruise and shriveled skin.
A halved apple with a large bruise spot.
An apple with a large area of discoloration.

Signs of Rot in Apples

Look for these signs to see if your apples have gone bad.

  1. Discoloration and spots - dull, pale apples are usually older and may have lost some fresh flavor. If there isn't any mold or large bruised areas, the apple is still likely okay to eat. If the apple has large brown areas that are oozing, you should discard the apple as it will no longer taste good.
  2. Texture Issues - rotten apples may have mushy spots or shriveled skin. Fresh apples shouldn't 'give' or be mushy when you squeeze them. If the apple is oozing any liquid it should be discarded. If you cut an apple open and it has a grainy texture, it is likely older and won't taste as good. It can still be eaten but will not be as sweet.
  3. Mold - if there are furry spots or molding areas (can be blue, black, or green spots) the apples should be discarded and not eaten.
  4. Smell - if the apples have a strong smell that's acrid or vinegar-like, they are past their prime and shouldn't be eaten. They won't taste good, and they may make you sick.

The Best Way to Store Apples

Apples is best when kept in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer. They can usually last for up to 4 to 6 weeks.

Cut apples should also be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag or in an airtight container. They will last for up to 3 days.

Whole apples can be kept at room temperature but they won't last as long as they do in the fridge.

Apple FAQs

How long do apples keep in the fridge?

A whole apple, when stored properly, will keep for 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Cut apples will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator.

Can you cut the moldy spots off an apple?

If there are bruises they can be cut off of an apple, but mold should not be cut off. Moldy apples should be discarded.

Do you need to store apples in the fridge?

Apples last longer in the refrigerator but don't have to be stored in the fridge. They will often last 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature but will last at least an extra week or two in the fridge.

Are apples with a bad smell okay to eat?

Apples with an acrid or sour smell should not be eaten. Apples should smell sweet and fruity. If they smell like vinegar they are rotting and will not taste good.

More Guides on Fruit & Vegetables