How to pack fruit so it doesn’t get totally smushed
I am a huge fan of stone fruit, bananas and strawberries, but it is always such a hassle to carry them in my lunch bag. And it's hard for kids too. When they come back home with uneaten fruit in their lunchboxes (argh!) it’s usually because they don’t want to eat it. It's more likely because by lunchtime, that fruit is a gooey mess. Bananas turn super-brown in a matter of hours, strawberries become mushy and whole apples are always bruised.
Luckily for you, we have the perfect tricks so your fruits won’t get mushed and squashed in transport. We even threw in some tricks that will help prevent browning. Try out these tricks and you and your kids will come home with empty lunchboxes every afternoon.
Trick No. 1: Wrap fruit in cloth
You can take stone fruit or any round fruit like apples, peaches or pears and wrap them in a dry cloth. Make sure to tie the top of the cloth with a knot so your fruit does not go rolling around in your lunch bag and you’re all set. When lunchtime rolls around, you’ll have unbruised and delicious fruit.
Trick No. 2: Save your bananas from premature browning
I love bananas, but taking them to work is always a pain. By the time lunchtime swings around and I go in my bag for my banana, it is way browner than it was when I originally left the house. A way to save your bananas is to add plastic wrap to the stem. This will prevent it from getting ripe way too quickly. Throw it in your or your kid's lunchbox and go on about your day. You can also cut bananas in half (with the skin on) freeze them and put the in an airtight dish before you leave the house.
Trick No. 3: Keep apple slices crisp
I like apple slices with almond butter, and it's so much easier to cut them at home with a real knife than the plastic ones at work. But the problem with cutting apples beforehand is that they end up getting brown and gross. Here's what to do: Soak your slices in a solution of two cups of cold water and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt for five minutes. Then drain and pack in an airtight container and you’re good to go. Now you’ll have fresh, crisp fruit for lunch or an afternoon snack.
Trick No. 4: Freeze your fruit in an airtight bag
Grab a few apricots, peaches or stone fruits that are a few days from being ripe, slice and freeze. It makes packing fruit so much easier. Just place five or six slices in a zip-close bag, being careful to press out all the extra air before freezing overnight. By the time you're ready to eat your fruit the next day, it won’t be mush and it’ll have the perfect texture.
Trick No. 5: Keep strawberries fresh
Ever put your cut strawberries into a Tupperware container and by the time you're ready to eat them, they're all mushy? It’s happened to the best of us. The best way to transport strawberries is to leave them washed and whole. This way, the strawberry can stay fresh longer.