Should I can wormy looking apples?

Asked September 12, 2013, 11:38 AM EDT

My apples look pretty good at first, but if you look closely you can see very small dots. It seems like a very tiny bug has tunneled through every apple on the tree. Inside the apple has browning and some yellowing areas. They taste good, but I want to can them?????

Benton County Oregon

3 Responses

You have apple maggots. Just cut the damaged spots and the worms and go ahead an can them or make them into apple sauce. It is very common if you don't spray your trees.

Thanks for using Ask an Expert

Nellie Oehler


The entire apple is full of brown tunnels, all the apples on all the trees.

It sounds like you have a great infestation of apple maggots in your apples. I would suggest you take a sample of the apples to the Benton County Extension Office and have the Master Gardeners identify it for sure. The apple maggots lay their eggs just under the skin. Then they hatch and migrate to the center of the fruit making tunnels. The fruit rots quickly where the flesh is damaged.

If you can cut out the rot you can safely eat the apples. If there is a lot of rot I would suggest you freeze the sauce or apples rather than canning since you have a higher bacteria and mold count and it may result in spoilage during storage when canned.

Good luck and next year you need to do some preventative sprays so you will get a good crop.

Nellie Oehler