Do apples go bad? (+5 ways to tell)

In this article, we will answer the question “Do apples go bad?”, and how to safely store apples to extend their shelf-life?

Do apples go bad?

Yes, apples do go bad. The shelf life of apples depends on when they were harvested. Depending on this, they can last from a few weeks to a few months. When they do go bad/expire, harmful compounds known as mycotoxins are produced. It is best to check for visual signs of spoilage like soft spots, oozing, or bruising before consuming apples you are unsure about.

Before we get into ways you can store these bulk of apples effectively, let’s look at the ways you can tell if the apple has gone bad or not.

How to tell if the apples have gone bad?

There are several ways to identify if an apple has gone bad: 

  • Bruising or soft spots 
  • Wrinkled skin 
  • Brown spots or small black holes caused by worms 
  • Oozing liquid from skin
  • Grainy taste 
  • Mushy appearance and texture

Read on for more signs of spoilage.

Keep track of the expiration date

Check the expiration date. Do not consume apples that have gone past their expiry.

Check for holes 

Inspect an apple for the presence of any insect holes. These holes provide an entry for mold to the flesh inside. Do not buy such an apple because it is highly likely that the apple is molded inside.


An apple should naturally have a firm texture and a fruity fragrance. If the apple develops multiple mushy spots or patches or if the skin is ruptured and the juice is oozing out, throw it away. An apple with wrinkled skin is good to eat but it won’t have the same juiciness. Better grate it and toss it in your salad bowls.

Look for discolored spots

If the apple has discolored spots but they do not continue deep into the flesh, it is fine to eat. If the flesh beneath the discolored area is darkly colored, mushy, and continues deep down, throw it out.


If the apples taste bland or mealy, better throw them away. An apple that’s has a mealy taste and no juice is of no use.

How long do apples last?

The shelf-life of apples largely depends on when it was harvested and how it was handled during storage, transport, and preparation. The bins in which the apples are kept in storage are circulated with a gas known as 1-methyl cyclopropane (1-MCP). 

This gas works antagonistically to the ethylene gas produced by the apples during ripening. Apples will stay fresh for 5-7 days on the counter. 

In the pantryIn the fridgeIn the freezer
Whole apples3 weeks4-6 weeks
Cut applesNot recommended3-5 days 8 months
Applesauce1-2 months(unopened)7-10 days 2 months
Apple pie 1-2 days3-5 days Not recommended

Cut apples often turn brown if they are not stored in the refrigerator. It is because of oxidation carried out by Polyphenol oxidase.

How to safely store apples?

The following practices must be adopted to extend the shelf-life of the apples.

Do not wash beforehand

Apples do not need to be washed to keep in storage. The moisture will provide a very favorable environment for mold growth.

Do not cut

Whole apples last longer than cut apples. If you do not need the apples immediately, better not cut them early to keep them from oxidation and rapid deterioration of quality.

The refrigerator extends the shelf-life

Whole apples can be stored in the pantry. But if you want to keep them around for longer, put them in the crisper drawer.

Use lemon to cover the exposed surface

Never store the cut apples as is. Apply some lemon or lime juice to the exposed flesh of the fruit. Wrap it tightly in a plastic sheet and put it in the fridge. The acid slows down the enzyme activity and prevents browning.

Wrap the apples

Wrapping the apples individually using a paper bag or plastic wraps will ensure an extended shelf-life to protect them from the respiration activity of the surrounding activity. 

Make applesauce

If you have plenty of apples but you ran out of space in the fridge. You can turn them into applesauce. It will last months in the freezer.

Keep away from ethylene producing fruits

Do not keep your apples near bananas, oranges, avocados, and potatoes as the ethylene released by these fruits and vegetables will speed up the ripening of the apples.

Keep away from smelly food

Apples should not be kept near fruits that have a strong smell or foods with a pungent aroma. Because apples pick up undesirable odors rapidly.

What happens if I ate spoiled apples?

Eating a moldy apple can lead to food poisoning. Apples are often infected by the mycotoxin patulin produced by the Penicillium expansum species. When ingested, patulin can cause nausea, bleeding ulcers, and can even cause cancer.

Mycotoxins target the gut bacteria, reducing their efficiency which makes the person susceptible to other deadly diseases. This fungus also commonly infects pears and grapes.

Other FAQs about Apples which you may be interested in.

Are apples citrus? (+3 apple facts)

How long do apples last in the fridge?

Can cows eat apples?


In this article, we answered the question “Do apples go bad?”, and how to safely store apples to extend their shelf-life?