With apple season starting and back to packing school lunches I have had some questions about how to pack an apple in a school lunch without it turning brown. I decided to put all of the tried and tested ideas together in one post for easy reference.
Why Does an Apple Turn Brown after Cutting?
Apples, as well as potatoes, pears and bananas, have an enzyme in their flesh that reacts to the oxygen in the air that causes the cut flesh to turn brown. To manage the browning we need to prevent the flesh from being exposed to oxygen, interfere with the reaction or cover-up the reaction.
I have provided different options to try with your child to use to help make those apples appletizing (get it?) and enjoyed in school lunches.
Cold Water + Salt (What I Do)
I fill a cereal bowl with cold water and add a pinch of salt and place sliced apple pieces in the bowl, pack the rest of the lunch, rinse the apple slices and pack them in their container. This works best for us because we always have cold water and salt on hand and not always citrus juices.
Slice your apple and toss the pieces in a citrus juice like orange juice, lemon juice or pineapple juice. Sally Kuzemchak RD at Real Mom Nutrition likes a combination of orange juice and lemon juice.
To disguise the browning try tossing the apple in cinnamon another idea shared by Sally Kuzemchak RD.
Cut the apple into wedges and then piece back together like a puzzle and and use an elastic band to secure it all together.
Citrus Juice, Citric Acid, Club Soda and Cold Water
For a comparison of the overall appearance, flavour and texture when using lemon juice, citric acid, Club Soda or soda water and cold water check out this post shared by Super Healthy Kids.