I try very hard to reach for fresh fruit for snacking and avoid the temptation of those chips and cookies that shout out my name when I walk by them. For me, I'm much more likely to grab a healthy snack if it's ready-to-eat.
Apples are one of those things that I like to have sliced and in the fridge--especially now when they're in season. I eat them plain or sprinkle them with cinnamon. When I need a little protein boost, I dip them in peanut, almond, or walnut butter.
The fastest, easiest way to slice an apple.
I use an apple slicer to core and cut an entire apple into slices in one stroke--a great, inexpensive gadget that is available in many stores.
view on Amazon:
Trouble is, apples (and pears) oxidize and turn brown quickly after they're sliced and exposed to air. Even though they still taste good, they're just not very appealing that way. So, I've experimented with some ways to keep them from browning, and there are a number of effective methods. Here are eight different methods to choose from, depending on which ingredients you have on hand.
How to keep apple and pear slices from browning. Soak them in one of these solutions for 5 minutes. Citric acid is the key ingredient in most of these, because it helps prevent oxidization (browning).
1. Soak them in a bowl of cold lemon water. This is better than squeezing the lemon juice directly on the fruit, unless you don't mind the fruit tasting really lemony. Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per 1 cup of water.
2. Soak them in a bowl of cold salt water. Not too much salt, or it affects the taste of the fruit. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 1 quart (4 cups) of water.
3. Soak them in a bowl of Sprite, 7-Up, or a similar lemon-lime, carbonated soda. (Note: Most soft drinks contains artificial ingredients and high-fructose corn syrup, so this isn't the healthiest option...but it works.)
4. Soak them in a bowl with Fruit-Fresh (or citric acid powder) and cold water. Fruit Fresh is sold in stores with canning supplies. Use 1 teaspoon Fruit Fresh per 1 cup of water. view on Amazon: Fruit Fresh powder
UPDATE: SUGGESTIONS FROM READERS. Since writing this post, a number of Yummy Life readers have shared more suggestions in the comments section at the end of this post. Here are the ones I tried out--they all worked for me. (Thanks for the great tips, Yummy friends!)
5. Soak them in a bowl of cold water mixed with a crushed chewable Vitamin C tablet. I used 1 crushed tablet per 1 cup of water. (suggested by FC)
6. Soak them in a bowl of apple cider and lemon juice. I like this idea, because the apple cider enhances the apple flavor while balancing/diluting the lemon juice. Use 1/2 cup apple cider per 1/4 cup lemon juice. (suggested by Julie B)
7. Soak them in pineapple juice or a combo of pineapple and lemon juice. I used 1 tablespoon lemon juice per cup of pineapple juice. (suggested by Karen)
8. Soak them in plain carbonated water. (suggested by Fred)
Store the fruit slices in a ziploc bag.
After soaking my fruit slices, I drain off the liquid and store them in a ziploc bag in the fridge. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it. Amazing how long the apples stay fresh and and crispy this way. Their storage life can vary depending on the type and freshness of the apples. If you're using apples that are in season and fairly freshly picked, they will stay fresh longer than those that have been picked and stored for a long time. I've had them keep for up to a week.
Slice fruit in advance for entertaining.
Sliced apples and pears are great to have on fruit plates for guests. They're good year round, and particularly in the fall. Try sprinkling them with cinnamon for some added flavor. Or, you can serve them with:
You know what they say about "An Apple A Day . . . ." Having these nutritious fruit slices on hand may help keep the doctor away.
Make it a Yummy day!
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This post was updated 10/2013.