Can You Eat Fruit That Has Fallen on the Ground? (Debunked)

can you eat fruit that has fallen on the ground

Fruit trees drop fruit for plenty of different reasons and when they do, you may feel as though you are wasting a lot of the fruit by letting it sit on the ground. So, instead of letting the fruit go to waste, perhaps you are considering eating the fruit. But, will this make you sick? 

You can eat fruit that has fallen on the ground depending on the condition of the fruit. Fruit that has started to spoil and shows signs of bruising, bug tracks and mold, shouldn’t be eaten. Fruit that looks like it is still in good condition may be okay to eat, depending on some factors. 

When it comes to eating fruit off the ground, you need to consider your health first since one can get very sick if they eat spoiled fruit.

To help you with your decision-making skills, we will inform you of what to look out for in your fruit to avoid getting sick and what you can do with fruit that might not be able to be consumed. 

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Thankfully, not all fruit that is on the ground has to go to waste! If it is in good enough condition, you can gather the fruit to make an array of goods such as jams, sauces, and pies.

Using a nut gatherer is a great tool to pick up all your fruit so you don’t have to injure your back from bending over.

Here are some of our favorites from Amazon:

1. Garden Weasel Large Nut Gatherer – Perfect size if you have one or two trees

2. Bag-a-Nut Picker Upper – An industrial fruit gatherer if you have plenty of fruit trees

Deciding If you Can Eat Fruit That Has Fallen on The Ground

When it comes to deciding if you can eat fruit that has fallen on the ground, your main tool will be your eyes. We will let you know what you need to look out for that indicates the fruit should not be eaten.

Can You Eat Fruit That Has Fallen on the Ground?

Whether or not you can eat fruit that has fallen on the ground depends on how rotten the fruit is. If the fruit looks freshly fallen, a good rinse should make it okay to eat. But, if the fruit looks bad, you shouldn’t eat it.

Sometimes the fruit falls off a tree a little too early. This can be caused by an extra windy day or fruit falling while someone was picking other fruit off the tree

Thus, freshly fallen fruit is safe to eat as long as you give the fruit a good rinse to eliminate any possible pesticide that may have stuck to the fruit while it was on the ground.

However, fruit that looks like it has been on the ground for a while should not be consumed.

When the fruit appears mushy, moldy, or full of bugs, this is a good indication that it has spent too much time on the ground and is unsafe to eat. 

Is It Safe to Eat Fruit That Fell on the Ground Outside?

The safety of the fruit that fell on the ground outside depends on the status of the fruit, where it fell, and what may have possibly come into contact with the fruit after it fell. Use your best judgment before deciding to eat fruit off the ground.

To help you decide if it is safe to eat fruit that has fallen from the ground, consider these points:

  • The ripeness of the fruit- Does the fruit still look in good condition or has it become mushy and moldy? If the fruit is still in good condition, it might be good to eat. If the fruit has started to go bad, you should avoid it as it will cause stomach issues.
  • Where the fruit fell – Inspect the area where the fruit has fallen. Is there a lot of moldy fruit around or possible dog waste? It’s likely that this bacteria has affected your potential fruit and you should leave it on the ground.
  • What is around the fruit – Do you know if a lot of local animals visit the area where the fruit is? Dogs? Raccoons? This can be hard to know but if you suspect there’s a lot of wildlife around, then you should leave the fruit alone as these animals can spread bacteria. 

You might also enjoy our post on Killing Maggots With Bleach in 5 Easy Steps

What Will Happen If You Eat Fruit off The Ground

Whether or not you get sick from eating fruit off the ground, depends on how spoiled the fruit is and how sensitive you are.

We will now outline what may happen if you eat spoiled fruit, the signs and symptoms to look out for, and how you can treat yourself if you do get sick.

Can You Get Sick From Eating Fruit off the Ground?

The possibility of getting sick from eating fruit off the ground becomes pretty high when the fruit is exceptionally bad, specifically moldy. But, if the fruit appears to be in good shape, you won’t necessarily get sick.

Of course, it all depends on how bad the fruit is. Suppose you eat moldy fruit, which can be seen as white or green spores on the fruit.

In that case, you may experience gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, depending on how sensitive your stomach is.

But, fruit with bugs on it, such as fruit flies or worms, are actually safe to eat as long as you give the fruit a good rinse in vinegar or lemon juice, and if the fruit is still in good condition.

However, always eat at your own risk as some bugs can carry harmful bacterias.

Can Fruit Go Bad and Make You Sick?

Fruit can indeed go bad and make you sick. Fruit that is past its prime can lose nutritional value and harbor mold and dangerous bacteria that can lead to foodborne illness. 

Fruits produce natural biochemical gases and enzymes that encourage the ripening of the fruit. But, when the fruit does not get eaten while it is ripe, the gases and enzymes send the fruit to a point where they begin to grow bacteria. 

This bacteria is not tolerated by humans and when ingested, a human will reject it by getting sick. If you eat spoiled fruit, you can experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, depending on how sensitive your stomach is. 

What Happens if You Eat Fruit That Fell on the Ground?

Depending on how spoiled the fruit was, if at all, will determine if you get sick or not. Fruit that has gone bad may be harboring harmful bacteria and mold that will cause some gastrointestinal upset.

But, the good news is, if the fruit was still in good shape, meaning no obvious bruising or mold, you may not get sick, depending on what the fruit touched while it was on the ground.

Keep in mind, you should always rinse fruit if you get it off the ground, whether or not it looks in good shape. 

What Happens if You Eat Bacteria?

Certain bacteria are okay to ingest but bacteria that grows on spoiled fruit is harmful to your health. You will likely experience food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and possible fever.

When you eat bacteria, the bacteria continue to grow in your digestive tract. This growth can lead to an infection. Your body will react by trying to get rid of it by inducing vomiting and diarrhea. 

Can Rotten Fruit Make You Sick?

Eating rotten fruit has the possibility of giving you food poisoning since you are ingesting harmful bacteria and mold. It all depends on how much of the rotten fruit you eat and how sensitive your stomach is. 

In general, it is not wise to eat rotten fruit. If you see the fruit is clearly rotten, that’s a warning sign to not eat it.

Ingesting too much bacteria and mold, and often, can cause a lot of gastrointestinal distress that can lead to more serious issues such as dehydration.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

Food poisoning symptoms can present as mild to very serious depending on what you ate and how sensitive you are. The most common symptoms are upset stomach, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

These symptoms can present anywhere from a couple of hours after ingestion to a few days. Once the symptoms begin, they usually last a few hours to two days. 

While you are sick, try to drink as many fluids as you can to prevent dehydration. If you can’t keep any liquids down, you may have to visit a hospital to receive intravenous fluids to revive and maintain your hydration. 

Can You Have Food Poisoning Without Vomiting?

You can have food poisoning without vomiting. If you are not vomiting, you will likely be experiencing diarrhea. You may also experience stomach cramps, nausea, a fever, and dizziness.

Everyone is unique and will react to food poisoning differently. But, most everyone will experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, dizziness, and stomach cramps. These are the main symptoms that indicate food poisoning. 

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If I Ate Something Bad Should I Throw It Up?

You shouldn’t induce vomiting, even if you ate something bad. Your body will naturally recognize that you ingested something bad and will rid of it naturally. 

Inducing vomiting is a bad habit to start and can actually increase your sensitivity to vomiting, causing you to vomit even more leading to more problems.

If you ate something bad, your body will naturally get rid of it either through vomiting or diarrhea. 

What to Do After Eating Spoiled Food?

If you realized that you ate spoiled food, unfortunately, there is not much you can do except prepare for the worst. Stock up on a lot of liquids and make sure you have a lot of bland foods to eat while you are sick.

If you get sick, you will want to ensure that you do not end up getting dehydrated. Drink as much as you can, without further upsetting your stomach.

Also, eat a bland diet including things like bread, rice, applesauce, toast, and bananas. 

To Keep The Fruit on The Ground or To Pick It Up

Now that we have determined when it is safe to eat fruit off the ground and when it is not, we have to think of what to do with all the fruit. Should you pick it up or just leave it?

Should You Pick up Fallen Fruit?

You can absolutely pick up fallen fruit if it looks like it is still in good condition. But, if the fruit appears as if it is browning, bruising, or molding, then you should either leave it on the ground or pick it up to discard it.

Fallen fruit on the ground can either still be good to eat or should be discarded. Usually, your common sense will kick in when looking at the fruit that is starting to spoil and you won’t feel much desire to eat it. 

If you have a lot of fallen, spoiled fruit on the ground, you should consider picking it up and making use of it either as compost or donating it to a farm.

Leaving fallen fruit on the ground can attract a lot of bugs and animals and also encourage the bacteria to spread. 

Should You Leave Fallen Apples on the Ground?

It is actually a better idea to clean up fallen apples from the ground to prevent a certain type of fungus from spreading. Apples that are left on the ground can begin to rot and then produce this fungus which is harmful to trees.

This widespread fungal disease, monilinia fruitigena, which is basically brown rot, can spread through the rotting apples and then eventually infect the apple tree. 

To avoid this, you should always clean up your fallen apples. If they are not able to be re-used, you can simply compost them to then use them as fertilizer. 

How Do You Clean up Fallen Fruit?

If you are planning to compost your fallen fruit, you should simply rake the fruit into a pile and then place it into a garbage bin to then compost it. But, if you are looking to use the fruit for recipes then there are some awesome tools you can use to make your life easier. 

Here are some of our favorite fruit harvesting tools:

Although these tools are specifically made for nuts, they work great for fruit as well, especially pears, apples, avocados, and peaches. 

Do Fallen Apples Attract Rats?

As unexpected as it may seem, apples do, in fact, attract rats. So, to keep rats away from your yard, you should make a habit of cleaning up fallen apples from the ground. 

Thanks to rats’ diverse palate, your fallen apples are like creme brulee to them. Unfortunately, rats can carry a lot of diseases along with them so you’re going to want to keep them away from your yard. Cleaning up your fallen apples is the best way to do this. 

Can You Eat Fruit Bitten by Birds?

It is not safe to eat fruit bitten by birds since birds can carry dangerous diseases and their beaks can also spread a lot of germs onto the apples. These germs can cause food poisoning in humans.

So, it is not the best idea to eat fruit bitten by birds. Birds can carry many different bacterias that can be harmful to humans, such as bacterias that cause food poisoning.

Food poisoning really puts a damper on your week and can lead to dehydration. 

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What To Do With Fruit That Has Fallen On The Ground

After you have picked up all your fruit, now you have to decide what you’re going to do with it all! Let’s discuss all the different ways you can use fruit that has fallen on the ground, whether it’s good or bad. 

What Do You Do With Fruit That Falls on the Ground?

Fruit that falls on the ground can thankfully be used towards many good things. One of the most popular things to do is ride over the fruit with a lawnmower and use the shredded-up fruit as fertilizer. 

You can also collect the fruit and donate it to local farms. Farm animals such as pigs and cows love eating older fruit and the farmers will appreciate your generosity. 

Additionally, if the fruit is past its prime but still free of mold and bruising, you can use the fruit to make jams, sauces, or juice- whatever you are craving!

What Can You Do With Fallen Fruit?

If your fallen fruit is looking like something you don’t want to eat just as is, there is still plenty you can do with it so it doesn’t go to waste. One of the best things to do is compost your fruit so you can use it as fertilizer.

Additionally, you can use the fruits to make jams, sauces, and juices. Just ensure you give the fruit a good rinse in vinegar or lemon juice to completely rid of all potential bacteria or bugs that may be on them. 

What Can I Do With Fallen Apples?

There are plenty of things you can do with fallen apples, especially if they are still in good condition. You can either use them in recipes, donate them to farms, or compost them to use as fertilizer. 

Here are a few culinary ideas to get you inspired:

  • Apple jams and jellies
  • Apply chutneys
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Apple pie or crumble 
  • Apple butter
  • Dried apple slices

Can You Eat Fallen Pears?

You can eat fallen pears if they have recently fallen and are not yet ripe. But, if the fallen pears appear as though they have been on the ground for a while and look spoiled, you shouldn’t eat them. 

If your pears are not yet ripe and are still in good condition, you can place them on your counter and they should be ripe in a few days and ready to eat.

You can then eat the pears as is or choose to make them into a pear sauce or add them into applesauce!

Can I Compost Fallen Apples?

You can absolutely compost fallen apples. That is a great way to avoid wasting your apples and re-using them for good since composted apples work great as a natural fertilizer. 

However, you should not compost apples that are infested and or moldy. Having these apples in compost with other apples will spread the bacteria and create a dangerous mess that you will have to throw out. 

Related Questions

Why Do Ripe Fruits Fall to the Ground?

Ripe fruits can fall to the ground for several different reasons. Some fruit, usually the ones that fall first, are not pollinated and fall off before they even mature. 

A lack of pollination can occur because of the lack of honeybees or cold or wet weather during the bloom period. Also, if there is an unexpected freeze during the bloom period, a lot of the fruit may drop. 

Why Is My Fruit Falling Off?

One of the most common reasons trees drop their fruit is due to a lack of water. If a tree starts growing fruit then experiences a lack of water, it will drop the fruit in order to survive. 

If you believe this is your case, you should focus on giving your tree more water especially during times that are extra dry. 

Your fruit tree also may not be receiving enough nutrients. Sometimes soil and water is not enough and your tree may need some extra nutrients that you can supply in the form of fertilizers. 

Final Thoughts

By now you should have a clear idea of what to look out for when it comes to eating fruit that has fallen on the ground and all the great things you can do with it if you can’t eat it. 

The most important thing to remember is to try and clean up as much fruit as you can off your ground to avoid the spread of bacteria and unwanted animals in your area.

This can lead to your fruit trees getting infected, as well as other vegetation around. 

And, if you do end up eating spoiled fruit, remember to stay hydrated!

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