Skip to Content

How to Tell if an Apple Is Bad

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

Apples are a popular fruit, but you’ve got to eat them while they’re still good. As an apple matures, its flavor and texture shifts. Riper apples become sweeter, but they also tend to lose some of their crispness. Eventually, the apple moves from very ripe to rotten.

How do you know when an apple has gone too far and is now bad to eat?

In general, anytime an apple is black or has what looks like mold growing inside it, you should throw it out. Additionally, rotten apples typically smell very foul, which helps you spot when to discard them.

One rotten apple in group of fresh green apples on the table

Of course, wormholes are always a concern when you’re eating or buying apples. Worms are trying to get into apples for food, whether in a commercial orchard or your apple tree in the backyard.

Knowing how to tell if an apple is bad can help you avoid eating rotten apples. It will also save you money by ensuring you only buy fresh apples that are ready to eat. Without wasting any more time, let’s dive in!

What Happens if You Eat a Rotten Apple?

Very few people give their apples thorough inspections before taking a bite. Usually, you grab an apple from the fruit basket or the fridge, give it a rinse, and take a chomp out of it while you’re on your way to work or school.

Slices of rotten apple on the table

However, not every apple in your fruit basket or refrigerator is in perfect condition, suitable for eating. From time to time, you’ll come across an apple that’s rotten.

So, if you’ve taken a bite and swallowed it, it’s normal to be worried about what might happen.

Typically, eating a rotten apple is no big deal, especially if you only eat some of it. However, there’s no reason to keep eating an apple that smells rancid or doesn’t taste good after you may have taken a bite. You might, at worst, get a stomachache or experience some light nausea.

If a child or dog eats a rotten apple, you’ll want to watch them closely and take them to the hospital if they begin experiencing any severe adverse symptoms.

A rotten apple can give you food poisoning, which is sometimes enough to knock you out of commission for a few days.

Rotten apples in the basket on the table

What Does a Bad Apple Look Like?

A bad apple usually has apparent signs of rot. You’ll see dark brown or black marks on the skin. If you cut it open, you can see rot eating through the core or in other parts of the flesh.

In addition, you should check to see whether there are any wormholes on the exterior before you bite into an apple.

How do I know if my apple has worms?

It’s very rare to come across apples with worms in them, but wormholes are a sign that worms have been in your apple, so you’ll want to skip it and pick another piece of fruit.

A bad apple will also have a strange sour smell that is a dead giveaway that it’s past the point you want to eat it.

Shriveling skin is another sign that an apple is bad. It tells you that the apple has been sitting around too long and is now dehydrated. When too much water leaves the apple, the skin begins to shrivel and shrinks.

Whole and Slices of an old apple on white background

Is It OK to Eat an Apple that Is Brown Inside?

It’s hard to answer whether eating a brown apple is safe definitively. What do brown spots inside an apple mean? When apple flesh is exposed to air, it oxidizes, which makes it turn brown. Usually, it’s perfectly safe to eat a brown apple.

However, the apple starts to go bad when things get too brown. The flesh becomes soft and unappealing.

Some people mind eating brown apples more than others. It’s typically a personal preference. For example, a lot of children will shy away from eating apples with any brown on them.

However, the parent who purchased the apple is much more tolerant of eating ripe fruit because they don’t want to waste it!

If you want to stop your apple from going bad, douse it in some lemon or lime juice after you slice it. The citrus slows the oxidization process, so it’s much harder for the apple to turn brown. It’s a great trick for packing school lunches or when you want to serve apple slices at a party.

Fresh apples from paper bag on a wooden table

How Long Does It Take for Apples to Go Bad?

How long an apple lasts depends on where you keep it, when you buy it, and several other factors. For example, an apple left on the kitchen counter usually lasts around a week, while cooked apples can last multiple weeks.

If you want to keep your apples fresh for longer, you should stick them in the fridge. In the refrigerator, an apple can last for multiple months. If your fridge has a compartment with moisture control, it is even better!

Freezing apples is an excellent option if you want your apples to last longer. For instance, people with limited access to apples in season will freeze apples when they aren’t as easy to buy.

Likewise, you can turn your apples into apple sauce or bake them into something you can freeze for months at a time.

Why Is My Apple Grey Inside?

Grey apple flesh is usually a sign of mold in your apple, and you should discard it. However, coming across a grey colored apple is relatively rare, so you can eat most apples without worrying about mold.

Fresh sliced apple and whole ripe red apples in a basket on a wooden table

How Can You Tell if an Apple Is Good?

A good apple will be free of wormholes or any other major blemishes. Eating a bruised apple or an apple with some brown inside is fine. However, anything that turns you off or smells bad could be a sign your apple is no longer good to eat. So, discard it.

A fresh apple has a welcoming sweet smell and should still have some crispness to it. Some people don’t mind eating mushy apples, but mushy textures are a sign that the apple is further along in the ripening process.

Ultimately, you should only eat apples that look, feel, smell, and taste fresh and good!