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How to Prevent Sliced Fruit From Turning Brown

Brown fruit is just not appealing.  Even though it might not taste any different, we eat with our eyes.  Children especially eat with their eyes. If they are on the edge about eating a piece of fruit, if it is brown then there is no way they will want to eat it! And how many times have you seen a really cute fruit dish that you would love to make for a party but then thought the fruit would go brown and so opted to not make it?  The great thing is there are a lot of different solutions to prevent sliced fruit from browning, but I wanted to know which one actually works the best.  

I chose apples as my sliced fruit because they are commonly used and definitely go brown fast.  The methods I used could definitely be used for any fruit though.  

I used 4 different solutions to test the effectiveness. 

1) Lemon Juice.   To make a lemon juice solution you will mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per 1 cup of water.

2) Citric Acid.  This is usually found by the canning supplies and is used to prevent browning in your canned goods or increase the acidity of certain foods when canning.  You will dissolve 3 tsp of citric acid in 1 cup of water. 

3) Salt Water.   To make this solution, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 4 cups of water.

4) Plain Cold Water.   No mixing here.  Just use cold water! 

The fruit was soaked for 5 minutes only.  These are the visual results.  The after are pictures of the apples being in the fridge for about an hour and then out on the counter for about an hour.  




The criteria I used to determine which method was best was:

1) Appearance

2) Flavor

3) Texture

The top winners were definitely the salt water and the lemon juice.  Salt water actually beat lemon juice in appearance, flavor and texture, but not nutritionally.  I just don't feel as good about soaking my fruit in salt water as I do lemon juice.  The only problem with the lemon juice solution is that it definitely is tart and tastes like lemon!  For me I actually like the tart flavor, but for a picky eater they might not like it so much.  The next day these apples still looked great!  They also were super crunchy and hadn't gone mushy at all.  

Best Fruit-Browning Prevention Solutions

#1 Salt Water.  Pros: These apples maintained their white color, had no other flavor other than sweet apple and were super crunchy.  The only con is the added sodium.

#Lemon Juice.  Pros: These apples also maintained their white color, and were super crunchy.  The only con was that the lemon juice flavor was still strong even though it was diluted in water.

#3 Citric Acid.    Pros: There was no other flavor other than apple and they also were super crunchy.  Cons:  These apples did turn slightly brown.  Also, citric acid isn't super cheap and you typically don't have it around the house.  

#4 Plain Water.  The pros are that you always have cold water, and it is free!  The cons are that these apples did turn brown (not as brown as adding nothing), and they didn't maintain a super crunchy texture. They did still have a great flavor though. 



You can use these solutions for fruit of all kinds - bananas, pears, nectarines, peaches, and any other fruit that tends to brown after being sliced!  

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Lindsey David
06/21/2013 8:35am
How long do the apples need to soak in the lemon water before you drain it?
06/21/2013 10:05am
We soaked for 5 minutes, and then drained it!
06/21/2013 9:04am
So do you leave the fruit soaking in the solution? Or dip and then can bag it...
06/21/2013 10:05am
Soak for 5, drain than bag!
08/13/2014 5:40am
Do you cut the apples first and then place in a bowl with the solution you choose?
06/21/2013 10:19pm
If the salt water solution is half a teaspoon of salt in four cups of water, I'd say the increased sodium is probably negligible and not worth worrying about.
Saranya Surendran
06/22/2013 3:21am
Will the apples stay just as good for 2 hrs if put in a box and non refrigerated?
06/22/2013 5:35am
Good morning! Just wanted to pass along a solution I discovered to stop apples from browning. A friend told me to soak them in 100% apple juice. I was skeptical, as that sounds like soaking them in what they are already contain, but it works amazingly! No browning at all, and it actually crisps up the apples!
06/23/2013 10:30am
I soak my apples in Soda Water (Club Soda) for 5 minutes and they are good for up to 24 hours. No added taste.
06/26/2013 12:50pm
I've always used lemon and although you can taste the lemon I've never found it to be too overpowering.
07/27/2013 8:27pm
You can also cut apple into wedges, then reassemble as a whole apple, then put an elastic band around apple to hold it together, stays fresh n crispy.
Lynette Hershberger
08/11/2014 1:35pm
I like to use sprite or 7up - even after it's gone flat it's still good for this!
08/11/2014 1:38pm
I always use club soda like Allison! I soak 4-5 apples or more in a big bowl after slicing & then drain and bag. They've stayed crispy without browning for 3-4 days this way. No added taste whatsoever.
08/11/2014 2:01pm
I'm surprised to see you didn't use sprite or club soda as that works as well.
08/11/2014 2:13pm
I have used the salt solution and used a couple of dashes of sat and it worked. I am glad know my son doesn't want his apples cut and he isn't picky on the brown anymore either.
08/11/2014 2:50pm
We use honey! It changes the flavor, but I've never heard anyone complain! :)
08/11/2014 3:18pm
I read you can also just add lemon juice to the water so they do not taste too much like lemon. It worked good for me. I'll also try the apple juice one.
08/11/2014 3:31pm
When u use the lemon juice use orange juice mixed it will make it tart and kids love it!!! ;)
08/12/2014 7:28pm
I pour pineapple juice over my apple slices. They taste better too.
Emily Alexander
08/13/2014 11:56am
Sprite works too

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