What Are Those Little Spots On Apples Anyways?

Apples come in all kinds of stunning colors. From light yellow and bright green to all shades of red, the skin of apples can be beautiful. The many varieties are wonderful for snacking on, for making pies, topping salads, or even adding to other savory dishes. However, if you have never taken a moment to really inspect the skin of an apple, you've been missing something rather remarkable right under your nose.

And if you have examined an apple up close, then chances are you noticed these tiny black or brown spots the size of a needle tip that have a small yellowish rim around them, too. These incredibly small dots are not minuscule bruises or bad places on the fruit; they're actually very important to the survival of the fruit. In reality, these tiny dots are really tiny holes known as "lenticels," according to Mental Floss. You can almost think of them as the airways of the tree fruit.

What those tiny spots on apples are for

As Mental Floss explains, lenticels are very small holes on the skin of apples and other kinds of produce that allow them to "breathe." Through these holes, the produce can absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Other kinds of produce that use this same incredible technique include potatoes and pears, per The Daily Garden.

While lenticels are without a doubt a necessary feature of apples to help them grow and live, the minute holes are also a downfall for the fruit, too. These respiratory spots are the perfect place for things like infection, bacteria, or small organisms to enter the fruit and cause it to develop bad places or even rot (via Michigan State University). But there's no need to worry about getting a bad apple from your grocery store, given the high cosmetic standards they hold for produce. Just keep in mind that you might want to slice apples open that you've picked from an orchard before taking a big bite.