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.
Trouble is, apples (and pears) oxidize and turn brown quickly after they're sliced. 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 some to choose from, depending on which ingredients you have on hand.
How to keep apple and pear slices from browning.
1. Soak them in a bowl of cold salt water for 3-5 minutes. Not too much salt, or it effects the taste of the fruit. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 1 quart (4 cups) of water.
2. Soak them in a bowl of cold lemon water for 3-5 minutes. 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.
3. Soak them in a bowl of Sprite, 7-Up, or a similar lemon-lime, carbonated soda for 3-5 minutes. I don't know if there's really citrus in these sodas, and I don't know why this works; but it does.
4. Sprinkle them with Fruit Fresh. This is a citric acid powder that most stores have with their canning supplies.
I'm more likely to use the salt water or lemon water methods, because I have those ingredients on hand. A quick soak, and your apple or pear slices are ready to store in the fridge.
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.
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 my Pumpkin Pie Dip, Caramel, or Peanut Butter Dips.
You know what they say about "An Apple A Day . . . ." Keep these nutritious fruit slices on hand so you can . . .
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