Have you ever noticed how quickly apple slices can start to turn brown? That’s called oxidation. But worry no more! Here are 10 different ways to keep your apples from browning with simple kitchen items.
If you’ve tried packing apples for your kids’ lunch, you probably know what it’s like to cut them up in the cutest shapes possible, only to see them brown right in front of your eyes.
Or, maybe you’ve arranged apple slices in a beautiful fruit platter or salad, only to witness them start to brown even before your guests could take a bite of your delicious masterpiece.
What’s the point of trying to make a pretty presentation if your apples will just ruin the entire look, right?
Well, worry not, because today, I will share with you 11 effective ways to keep your apple slices from browning!
Why Do Apples Start to Brown After Cutting Them?
But first, what is causing the discoloration, anyway? You see, apples contain a lot of iron. When you slice into an apple, you damage its cells, exposing its enzymes to air.
The interaction among oxygen, iron, and another enzyme called polyphenol creates iron oxide. In short, air exposure causes the iron to rust. It’s not harmful at all, but it sure doesn’t look nice.
So, as a solution, we have to prevent the oxygen from coming in contact with the apples, or reverse or delay the oxidation process.
Now, while there is no one way to stop apples from turning brown for all eternity, these techniques can add a few more hours to your apples before they start discoloration. Follow any of these methods and the lunch box will forever be safe from brown, discolored apples.
Let’s begin with the simplest method: submerge your apple slices in water. The idea is, you want to minimize the fruit’s exposure to air. So, if it’s soaked in water, it removes all contact with air. Thus, preventing the oxidation process.
Now, you know those apple slices will bob up the water surface, so just cover the bowl with a clean paper towel. Don’t worry, even if the paper towel gets wet, it will still do a good job of keeping the apples submerged under water.
Water and Salt
Aside from pure water, here’s another technique that will ensure beautiful-looking apple slices: salt. Just stir 1/8 teaspoon of salt into a cup of water until it dissolves. Submerge the apples into the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes and drain.
If you’re afraid that this technique might change the taste of your apples, don’t be! If anything, the salt will enhance your apple’s flavor. Just be careful about adding too much salt – 1/8 teaspoon is more than enough.
But, if you’re worried about the briny taste, it’s nothing a good rinse can’t solve.
Water and Honey
Honey contains a compound that halts the enzyme in apples that activates oxidation. To use, just mix in two tablespoons of honey into a cup of water. Submerge your apple slices in it for 30 seconds.
Not only is it effective, but it will also give your apples a sweeter flavor. Yum!
This is probably the most well-known trick among this list. Just brush your apples in lemon juice, or soak them in a lemon-water mixture.
This trick also works with other citrus juices such as lemon juice, lemonade, orange juice, and even apple juice. The citric acid in the fruits will halt the enzymatic reaction that causes the browning.
Following the same idea as above, pineapple juice also works against browning thanks to its citric acid content. You can either soak the apple slices in a pineapple juice and water mixture or just drench them in pure pineapple juice.
Place half a cup of apple cider and a quarter cup of lemon juice and place them into a bowl. Give it a little mix and drench your apple slices in them.
If you’re concerned about altering the taste of apples, this is a great method for you. As a by-product of apples, the cider will only enhance the flavor.
Whether it’s Sprite, 7-Up, or Ginger Ale, any carbonated soda that contains citric acid should work for this method. Just let your apple slices soak in the soda for 2 to 3 minutes. What I love about this is since soda is sweet, it doesn’t alter the flavor of the apples.
Ascorbic Acid Powder
Just dissolve a pack of Ascorbic acid powder in water and soak your apple slices in the mixture. Ascorbic acid is just vitamin C, and it’s available in any health food store or pharmacy.
A chewable vitamin C tablet works too! Just dissolve it in a cup of water and dunk your apples in it.
Alternatively, you can also buy a product called “Fruit Fresh” instead. You can also get this ascorbic-acid based powder in any grocery store. Just mix one teaspoon of the powder into a cup of water and you’re all set.
This technique is handy if you want to pack a whole apple with you. Secure the slices with a rubber band so they’re all packed together like a whole apple. That way, the pieces protect each other from air exposure. Neat, right?
Store in an Air-Tight Container
Here’s my final tip: no matter what method you choose, the key to preventing apples from browning is to store them in an air-tight container. In doing so, you prevent the apple slices from being exposed to air. So, place your sliced apples in either in a Ziploc bag or a Tupperware, then refrigerate.
Oh and if you’re using Ziploc bags, be sure to press out as much air as you can before sealing the bag!