Back in the early days of this blog I wrote a post about how to make your own Apple Dippers. This was a copycat idea of an item on the McDonald’s menu called Apple Dippers (a little bag of sliced apples with dip) and I shared a quick tip to keep cut apple slices fresh by soaking them in 7-up. But since that time some things have slightly changed.
I don’t keep big bottles of 7-up soda pop around the house anymore, I seldom go to McDonald’s anymore, and they don’t call their sliced apples “Apple Dippers” anymore either!
BUT, I have been trying to eat apples more often as a morning snack at work, and I’m much more likely to do that if I slice the apples first before I leave home. So I decided to once again look into ways to keep apple slices from turning brown after they’ve been cut so I can pack them in the morning, but still have them look appetizing when I eat them a couple hours later.
Here are five things I tried, and the one I decided was my favorite quick method that I plan to keep using.
How Do You Keep Cut Apples From Turning Brown?
The problem with cutting apples ahead of time is that once the flesh is exposed to the air, enzymes and oxidation go to work and the fruit starts to get brownish spots. The strategies to prevent browning work to slow down that oxidation by finding ways to block the oxygen from the surface of the fruit or to change the PH of the surface with something more acidic, usually by soaking the slices in a mixture to bring this about.
So all the methods I tried were variations of soaking solutions, and the apple slices were soaked for 5 minutes. Let’s take a look:
#1: 1 cup water + 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice – This worked very well and did not affect the taste of the apples (in my opinion). This is my new favorite method that I plan to keep using.
#2: 7-up or other lemon lime soda – This method still works but if you don’t like the ingredients in soda pop, you might not want to go with this choice.
#3: Club Soda – This was a random idea that popped into my head and it worked quite well! I often have this in the house because club soda makes a good natural glass and window cleaner.
#4: 1 cup water + 1 Tablespoon Honey – This method worked OK and had the benefit of the sweetness of honey in the soaking solution. I also tried it with 2 tablespoons of honey and it seemed to work a little better. However honey is an expensive ingredient and it also took a little longer to get it measured out and mixed into the water.
#5 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon Fruit Fresh – Fruit Fresh is a product you can buy that’s labeled as a “produce protector”. I used the portions listed on their bottle for canning which are 1 teaspoon in a cup of liquid. This worked a little bit but didn’t seem to last quite as long as the other methods. However the bottle also has instructions for mixing 2 teaspoons with only 3 tablespoons of water and then tossing with 4 cups of produce. Perhaps that could have been a better method than the soaking method.
My New Choice To Keep Apple Slices Fresh For A Snack
After spending a week testing what liquid will keep apples from turning brown, I’ve decided my new favorite is the water + lemon juice method. Here’s what I do:
1 – CUT: I cut an apple using my apple slicing tool. This handy tool to cut an apple into 8 equal wedges really does make the process faster!
2 – MIX: I put a cup of water in a small bowl and add the tablespoon of lemon juice. I’m just using the bottled lemon juice and I’ve gotten more comfortable with not even measuring the tablespoon anymore. I’ve been just opening the lemon juice bottle and doing a quick small pour into the bowl of water.
3 – SOAK: I put the apple slices in my bowl of water/lemon juice. I try to keep the slices facing down, with the cut flesh of the apple in the water. I soak the slices for about 5 minutes.
4 – PACK: After the slices are done soaking, I pick them out of the water, give them a little shake to get off any excess drips, and then pack them in a baggie to take with me to work or on my other travels.
These methods for soaking your apple slices to pack in a homemade lunch are all money savers too! You can buy pre-packaged apple slices at the store but you’ll pay close to the same price for a few little bags of those slices as you would for an entire 3 lb bag of apples that will yield double (or maybe even triple!) the amount of slices.
Once again, it pays to Make Your Own!