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:
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.
#2 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!