What The Little Dots On An Apple Actually Are

Cooler weather and leaves changing color signal cider mill season. Whether you pick apples from the trees yourself, select them from a basket, or simply grab a few from the grocery store, you probably follow the same thought process: Pick the prettiest. The shiniest. The roundest. Avoid soft spots, discoloration, any blemishes (and any worms).

But if you've looked at apple varieties like Gala, Fuji, or Granny Smith, you have likely noticed that they are covered in little speckles. To be clear, these tiny dots are different from blister spots, black rot, and fly specks, which the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says commonly afflict all types of apples.

No, these cute little apple freckles (usually white on red apple varieties) are perfectly normal and safe to eat. So, what are these dots are called and what purpose they serve? Turns out, it's a very important one...

Apples have pores, too

Those dots on your shiny red Gala apple are called lenticels, and they serve as pores, according to The Daily Garden. Yup, lenticels aid in plant respiration, which is the exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water. Long story short, it's an extremely important part of photosynthesis, and critical to helping your apple grow. It's also important to note that the dots change color from white to brown the more ripe the apple is.

With that in mind, it may not surprise you to learn that apples aren't the only fruit to have lenticels. The Daily Meal reports that pears, mangoes, avocados, and potatoes also have these special pores. Lenticels and their starry sky appearance are actually how Washington's Cosmic Crisp apple variety got its name.

So the next time you're looking at apples, or any lenticel-bearing fruit/veggie for that matter, don't let the dots scare you off. Just like your own freckles, lenticels give apples some personality and individualism. They may not look like much, but they're super important.