How to Pick Apples at the Grocery Stores

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Have you ever taken a bite out of an apple only to find it bruised and unpleasant? We certainly have, and it’s so gross. This is why choosing the highest quality fruit is so important! This may make you wonder:

How to pick apples at the grocery stores:

When choosing good apples, you need to consider what type you want and what you use them for. The outside should be firm and shiny with no marks or bruises.

Fresh produce can be expensive, so buying the highest quality apples is essential to get your money’s worth. In this article, we are going to give you the criteria for judging apples and show you some quality tests you can try to make sure they are as fresh as possible.

Read on to find out more.

What are Apples?

Before figuring out how to best buy apples, we need to know what they are. This will help us decide what a high-quality or low-quality apple is.

Apples are edible fruit, originated in Central Asia, but they are now grown worldwide.[*]

The apple’s outer appearance should be firm, with glossy skin and a small stalk at the top. The flesh is pale, juicy, and crunchy, with a seedy core at the center that should not be eaten.

Apples can be green, red, pink, or yellow, depending on the species. 

There are 7500 types of apples that are all best for different purposes. Some common varieties include: [*]

  • Golden Delicious
  • Pink Lady
  • Granny Smith
  • Red Delicious
  • McIntosh
  • Fuji
  • Braeburn
  • Gala
  • Honeycrisp
  • Crab
  • Ambrosia

We know this saying may be tired and something your mom would say but there is a reason that people say: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Apples are high in dietary fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, which help boost the immune system so they actually might help you avoid that doctors office!

Right, now that we know what apples are, let’s figure out how to buy them.

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How to Pick Apples at the Grocery Stores

To pick good apples at the stores, we look for fresh apples with a firm texture and shiny skin. There should be no blemishes or bruises present.

We know entering the grocery store can be overwhelming, especially when buying apples! There are so many choices and pile upon piles of apples, so how on earth are you supposed to choose? 

On top of that, figuring out whether they are good enough quality can be challenging.

There are a few things to take into consideration when buying apples:

  • Quality- Obviously, this is your number one concern when buying apples. No one wants to get home and find their apples soft and bruised.
  • Type of apple- Every shop will have a different range, which will change depending on where you live. I like to try to pick local apples if possible.
  • What you’re using them for- Certain apples are better suited for different purposes, so it’s crucial that you pick the right apple for the job. For example, Granny Smith apples are great for pies, while McIntosh apples are perfect for apple sauce. 

As mentioned above, apple quality is crucial because you always want to use the highest quality produce, no matter what you make. Luckily there are a few simple ways to tell if they are worth buying.

While you’re doing these tests, please be gentle! It would be pretty embarrassing to get spotted testing an apple for quality and end up bruising it!

Here are three easy tests you can try to see if an apple is fresh:

Test for Firm texture 

Gently feel the apple, you don’t want to squeeze too hard, or you could damage the apple.

The apple should feel firm and not soft or spongey. 

Check For Blemished Skin

Look at the apple on all sides and inspect it for any skin scarring, holes, and breakages.

The skin should be glossy and blemish free.


Apples come in various sizes, so choose the size that suits your preference. Keep in mind that larger apples may have a slightly lower flavor intensity compared to smaller ones.

Make Sure There is No Bruising

Sometimes the skin may be unbroken, but the apple is still bruised beneath it. These areas will taste bad and have an offputting texture.

While inspecting for blemishes, check for any indentations or soft spots on the apple. This means the apple has been damaged.


A good apple should feel heavy for its size. This can indicate that it is juicy and fresh.


Different apple varieties have distinct flavors and textures. If you have a preference, choose the variety you enjoy. Popular varieties include Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady, among others.

Faint Scent

This test is simple; just give it a smell!

Apples should give off a very faint, sweet scent. If they smell too strong, it is a sign that they are going off.

Organic vs. Conventional:

Decide if you prefer organic or conventionally grown apples. Organic apples are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, while conventional apples may have been treated with these substances.

So now that you’re home with some nice fresh apples, you want to keep them fresh for as long as possible. Let’s find out how.

How To Properly Store Apples

Once you’ve picked some good apples from the grocery store, you need to store them so they last for as long as possible.

Apples last best in cool temperatures like cellars or refrigerators, so we recommend storing them in the crisper drawer to keep them fresh.


We like to avoid keeping apples anywhere near bananas. Those pesky yellow fruits give off ethylene gas, which will make fruit go off more quickly.
Apples respond very quickly to that effect, so keep them in the fridge to keep them safe.

Learn more: Store Apples


How can you tell if an apple is fresh?

A fresh apple will have a firm texture and shiny, blemish-free skin. When you smell it, it will smell very faintly fruity. 

How do supermarkets keep apples fresh?

Fruit storage is very interesting because it varies from fruit to fruit. Apples are a special kind of fruit that can stay fresh for a long time in the right conditions.

Apples can last for up to 12 months in a ‘Controlled Atmosphere’ or six months in refrigerated storage. [*] That is why you can find apples on the shelves all year round. 

The apples are regularly replaced from the refrigerated storage and stored in open fridges or at room temperature temporarily before they are bought. 

Are green apples just unripe?

While most apples start off their life green, by the time they reach full maturity, they will be the color determined by their species. Fully-grown green apples are a specific type of apple and not the unripe version of a red apple.


So, after reading all of that, what have we learned about how to pick apples at the grocery stores?

  • Decide what kind of apples you want based on what you’re using them for.
  • Apples should be firm and blemish free.
  • Store fresh apples in the crisper drawer.

We hope this leaves you feeling prepared the next time you go buy yourself some fresh apples.

Up next: Does Apple Juice Go Bad and Expire? How Long Does Can Last?

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