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?”
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.
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.
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!
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Want a dessert or snack made with real ingredients that can be made quickly?
This Peanut Butter Pudding only has three ingredients and comes together in 5 minutes. That’s right, in five minutes you have a creamy pudding that is high in protein, calcium, healthy fats and low in sugar!
At my local grocery store, I’m fortunate to have a nut butter grinding station; each week, I push the little green button on their machine and within seconds, I am watching whole roasted peanuts turn into peanut butter. It’s amazing.
If you don’t have such a machine (or don’t feel like making your own nut butter at home), use the best, “natural peanut butter” your budget will allow. Mix it with plain, whole milk yogurt (which will have few additives than reduced fat versions) and a simple banana, and your work is done. For a little added crunch, you can top it with peanuts or even a few extra slices of fresh banana.
Or … if no one is looking, it’s good to eat right out of the blender –not that I know anything about that!
*Depending on the thickness of your peanut butter, you may need to add 1-3 teaspoons of water as you blend the yogurt and peanut butter. Add it a teaspoon at a time to avoid it becoming too runny.