How To Keep Apples From Browning in the Lunchbox {Video}

Wondering How To Keep Apples From Browning in the Lunchbox? Look no further – here are three ways to keep sliced apples fresh!

Apples are a favorite school lunch addition for many children and moms love their year-round availability and budget friendly prices.  But, one question we often get when we share school lunch menus is “How do you keep the apples from browning?”

How To Keep Apples From Browning

Fortunately, there are several options for preserving fresh apples, keeping them as crisp and white as the moment you cut them.  AND, these methods will let you cut and store sliced apples for the entire week, saving you time as you pack lunches for your children.  Who doesn’t love that idea?

The main ingredient to preserving apples and keeping them from oxidizing is simple: citric acid.  In its very basic, natural form it is found in lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple and other citrus fruits.  It is also dehydrated and crystalized for a shelf-stable preservative and, in a variety of forms, is perfect for keeping sliced apples ready for lunch or an easy snack!

Here is just one method that I use to pack apples for the week and make fruit cups for school.

Three Ways To Keep Apples From Browning

1) Citrus Fruit Juice: lemon juice is our family’s favorite as we love the flavor combo of tart lemon and sweet apple.  But, if your children don’t like lemons, any fresh citrus fruit juice will work.  Pineapple juice is yummy on apples!


Simply squeeze the juice of one lemon (or other citrus, if desired) into a bowl of sliced apples.  Toss lightly to coat and then store the apples in a sealed container within your refrigerator.  With this method, apples stay ready for 4-5 days worth of use.

2) Fruit-Fresh: this powdered, natural preservative is made from citric acid and is most often used by home-cooks when canning fruits and vegetables.  It can also be used on fresh produce to halt the oxidation process.


If using it on a few sliced apples, simply sprinkle it lightly on the fruit.  To preserve up to two cups of sliced apples, mix two teaspoons of Fruit-Fresh with two tablespoons of water, and then toss the sliced fruit with the liquid.  Store in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.

3) Eat Cleaner: an all-natural, tasteless and odorless produce and food cleaner that was created by a family dedicated to creating a safe product that would remove wax and residue from the items sold at our grocery stores.  Because it has citric acid in it, it also keeps produce and fruit from browning! This is a 2 in 1 product: you can clean your produce from nasty pesticides, waxes and dirt (even organic!) and use it to keep the food fresh. Win win.


There are a variety of wipes and products in the Eat Cleaner family; follow the package guidelines for spraying and keeping your apples fresh.

Yeah, you say it all works but how about some proof?



In the interest of science (of course), our family tried out the three afore-mentioned methods for keeping apples fresh.  After six hours of sitting on the kitchen tables, the treated apples were all brighter and whiter than the apples that had been left untreated.  I now cut my apples on Sunday night, treat them and then I have easy “grab-n-go” apples for the duration of the week!

Regardless of which method works for your family and budget, you will find each to work perfectly at saving your apples from turning brown!


  1. Margo says

    If I use the eat cleaner product , do you spray on cut apple insides and then rinse? Or can you spray and send like that? Thanks

    • says

      I spray and send like that. The product is 100% natural and edible. Check their website for more. If you buy the liquid, you can just soak the apples in a water + concentrate bowl (about 1/2 lid cap + 2 cups water) for about 5 minutes then pack.

  2. Becca Odom says

    I don’t know how that works for you! The untreated apple looks wonderful to me… Our apples brown within minutes of slicing! If we left them out for 6 hours, they’d be a slimy, brown mess!

      • Debra says

        I believe some of the comments are questioning the 6 hr untreated apples looking so good. I agree with other comments, the apples I leave untreated turn brown within minutes.

        • Tamara says

          I thought the untreated apple looked grat at 6hrs too. Ours definitely do not look this good. I am going to give the citrus a try as my kids wont eat the apples one they start to turn brown which is much before lunchtime. If I can slice up and store apples for the week I would be A SUPER HAPPY MOMMY!
          Off to browse the rest of your posts :D

  3. Marisa says

    My kids do not like lemon on their apples, so I soak them in orange juice and then dry them with a paper towel before packing. Then I use the leftover (apple enfuzed ;) ) OJ for smoothies.

  4. Kim says

    My mother-in-law taught me this one, works better than lemon juice and my kids never complain about brown apples. Sprinkle a dash or 1tsp salt in a medium bowl if cold water, soak foa few minutes, drain and dry, then pack. We always have salt on hand, it works, and the small amount doesn’t leave a salty taste.

  5. Carson says

    We usually use apple or orange juice (anything with vitamin c). Alternatively, you can just sprinkle apples with cinnamon and then not worry because then they are SUPPOSED to be brown. My kids like them that way, too.

  6. Natalie Benham says

    we take the lemon juice and put it in ice water and cut up all of our apples. This makes the lemon taste less noticeable. I will have to try all of the other options.

  7. says

    Will lemon (or – hopefully – lime) juice keep sliced avocado from turning brown?

    These are all great tips! Thank you!!

  8. Glendeen says

    When I send apples to school for my daughter I put them in a small container with orange slices and they don’t turn brown :)

    • Faith's Daddy says

      Yup, because nothing says “healthy snack” like taking perfectly good fruit and soaking it in soda.

      • GonnaTry7Up says

        I don’t recall the title of the article people are replying to having said anything about “How to make a healthy snack”. The title I saw said “How to keep an apple from browning”. What makes you the judge and jury of anything I give my children?

  9. Jackie says

    I have a jar of pectin in my cupboard that I use for blending my own gf flour. Is that the same as powdered citric acid?

  10. becky says

    My daughter wont eat the apples if I soak them in lemon. She says they taste funny. Do any other other options have a less noticeable taste?

  11. Joyful_2010 says

    Another tip is to buy smaller apples. You can slice them, put them back together and place a rubber band around each one. This works well for older children and adults that can eat a larger portion.

  12. Sue R. says

    I use a small can of pineapple juice in a gallon sized zip bag of apple slices and we are good for the week! The small cans come in a six pack so they last me awhile.

  13. says

    These are all such great tricks! i usually have lemons laying around that would likely keep my daughter’s apples from looking so brown. And I no longer have an excuse not to make apple slices for my own snacks!

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