Did you already find apple slices brown and left untouched when opening your kid’s lunch box back from school? You are not alone. This is actually one of the most common questions we receive every school year, year-round: how can we prevent lovely slices of apple from turning brown and going to waste?
You can find many solutions online that request more or less preparation. Some tricks can also alter the taste of the apples, which can be an issue when you have young kids who would not eat an apple tasting something else. We made for you a selection of our favorite solutions to keep apples fresh in the lunchbox until lunchtime and beyond. We kept in mind simplicity and efficiency to make it accessible to everyone.
Why Do Apples Turn Brown?
Any apple cut into pieces will naturally turn brown over time when exposed to oxygen. This unappetizing phenomenon is caused by a chain of biochemical reactions named “enzymatic browning”. It won’t affect all the variety of apples at the same rate (Red Delicious apples brown the most), and it’s not unique to apples. You’ll notice that pears or bananas quickly turn brown if cut into pieces.
How To Keep Apples From Turning Brown?
The most important thing you can do to avoid browning is to reduce the apple’s exposure to air. Here are four solutions to keep an apple cut in pieces fresh that we love:
- Keep your apple slices in an airtight container. The easiest way. That’s what we use the most.
- You can squeeze a little bit of citrus or pineapple juice. The citric acid will slow the chemical reaction and prevents browning. This may alter the taste a little bit. Have your kids try it before sending it in a bento.
- If you are up for solutions that you can make ahead, the easiest way is to soak the cut apples in a saltwater solution (half a teaspoon of kosher salt per cup of water) for 10 minutes before storing them in your fridge in an airtight bag or an airtight container. The salt won’t alter the taste and can always be rinsed before serving or packing.
- Another smart hack popular in the community on Teuko.com is to disguise the browning by sprinkling a little cinnamon on the apple slices or dice. The flavor of the cinnamon pair well with the taste of the apple. Cinnamon is also an antioxidant itself that will help slow further browning.
ProTip: Make sure to use a clean and high-quality knife when cutting your apples. It’s important in helping to slow down the oxidation process when a corroded/old knife may speed up the oxidation process
How useful was this article to you? Any other easy trick that you like even better to keep your apple slices fresh in the kids’ bento box? Another resource you may like is our article about how to stop the browning of avocados before it even starts. The struggle with browning avocados is real. Just like apples, bananas, and potatoes, avocado turns brown when it’s exposed to oxygen in the air.
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