Oh, the sadness… when you pack apple slices in a lunch only to pull out limp, brown slices hours later. All it takes is about 10 minutes and some super-common household ingredients to stop crisp, white apples from turning gross and brown. You can pack apple slices for snacking or diced apples to throw into salads for school, work or on road trips. Let these easy methods show you the way to a better sliced-apple experience (and one that’s way cheaper than buying those prepackaged apple slices at the grocery store).
More: Lunch ideas so easy your kids can make them — and they should
1. Citrus or pineapple juice
The high acidity of lemon and lime juice or pineapple juice keeps apple slices from oxidizing and turning brown. You can soak the apple slices in a bowl of cold water with the juice of a lemon or lime squeezed into it, or simply soak them in a bowl of pineapple juice. The slices will maintain a little bit of the flavor of whatever you soak them in, but not so much as to be overpowering.
Mix 2 tablespoons of honey into 1 cup of water, then toss your sliced apples with the mixture. Honey contains a compound that will prevent the apples from browning.
It’s not the healthiest option (I mean, it’s soda), but soaking your apple slices in Sprite or another lemon-lime soda for about three minutes can prevent browning. Drain and store in an airtight container after soaking.
4. Cider vinegar
Add 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to 1 cup of water. Soak your apple slices in the solution for about five minutes, then drain and store in an airtight container.
5. Salt water
Submerge your cut apple slices in salt water, using a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per 1 cup of water. Let them soak for about 10 minutes, then drain and store them in an airtight container. The salty flavor is pretty mild, but you can rinse off the slices if you find the flavor unpalatable.
6. Fruit-Fresh or citric acid powder
Use 1 teaspoon of Fruit-Fresh (a product used for canning fruits and veggies) or citric acid powder mixed with 1 cup of water to soak your apple slices. Soak for five minutes, then drain and store in an airtight container.
7. Plain water
Store your sliced apples in a container of water or a zip-top bag full of water with the extra air squeezed out of the bag before closing. If the surface of the apples don’t come into contact with air, they won’t brown.