Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – How to store cut apples and prevent browning

Fall weather is all about hoodies, fuzzy socks and stone fruits and apples. I love serving a tray of sliced apples with assorted dips and cheeses. Find out today how you can cut your apples and prevent them from browning!

Tight up the street from me is a little farmer’s market that sells their own apples from the orchards right behind them. They must have 15-20 varieties to choose from all as delicious as ever. Typically I visit there 2-3 times a month in the Fall as, while everyone is pumpkin-everything crazy, I’m all about apples. Like pumpkin, apples go be either savory or sweet dependent on the recipe. Apples are awesome in pies, Duh Lor we knew that but did you know that apples also pair amazingly delicious with onions. Yes, onions. Onions, when they cook they caramelize thus becoming sweeter. A crisp, more tart apple paired with caramelized onions is one of my favorite additions to roasted pork.

With us becoming a more health conscious society, we are eating more fruits and veggies (yeah!). Into the lunch or gym bag goes the apple but what about for the little kids? We tend to want to slice up their foods or if you’re like me – I can’t bite into an apple. Even though I haven’t had braces for a million years I still have that fear if I bite into an apple that I’ll jack up my teeth. Yeah I know, I’m weird but having braces sucks!  I had them as an adult and I was miserable for 18 months. I had more cuts in my mouth, my cheeks, my lips and let’s not even talk about those damn little rubber bands you had to use. I think in total I swallowed about 4 packs of them things!  So for me I’ll cut my apples TYVM.

But let’s talk about what happens when you cut apples.

When we cut apples we’re exposing the flesh to air. Apples contain iron. When iron meets oxygen (i.e., you cutting it) it causes an oxidation process to happen; i.e., browning. Think about it when you have a gorgeous copper pot. Over time it will start to patina or oxidize. Since I’m a nerd I had to google the science behind this. Apples are rich in phenolic compounds called polyphenols. These compounds are contained with the cells of the apple. Also present, but never touching as it’s located in the plants structure (plastics) is the polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme. When you break that cell structure (biting into the apple or slicing it) you’re essentially exposing the compounds to oxygen. The introduction of oxygen to the enzyme gives it almost ‘super powers’ as begins to rapidly speed up the browning. The enzymes attach the compounds, over take them and thus you get a browned-flesh apple.

</end nerd talk>

Anyway, one day while I was at that little farm stand I heard them talking about ways to prevent the apple from browning once you cut it. Some swore by using vinegar or salt water mixture (GROSS!) others (including my mother) swore by lemon water but there this one elderly lady that said “honey, use honey”. She said she’s been using a few tablespoons mixed in water for decades and that’s her secret to why she can cut an apple in the morning, set it out on the table all day cut and it will never brown. She said that’s what they used to do at the one restaurant she worked at while she was younger.

So I came home, basket of apples in my arms and a determination to try her trick. A couple of tablespoons of honey in a cup of water poured over the sliced apples, soaked it for a minute, strain and set out on the plate. 15 minutes into it, no browning. 30 minutes, still no browning. I waited 3 hours and still no browning. I would have gone longer but Mr. Fantabulous came into the kitchen and ate them. LOL But I can tell you this, when I have parties and want to put apples on the plate I’ll do this trick a few hours ahead of time and they are perfect for the party!

Now me being me, I had to find out why. Apparently honey contains a peptid compound that prevents the browning process. For more details check out this video from America’s Test Kitchen.

Remember:

  1. 2 Tbl of honey with 1 cup of water per sliced apple (or really any stone fruit or potatoes).
  2. Soak for 30-45 seconds
  3. Drain, plate and enjoy your fresh cut fruit for up to 8 hours without browning.

Things I use to cut or slice my apples:

This is PERFECT for cutting apple rings or slicing apples! I have it and LOVE it!

I LOVE this for cutting my apple into sections!

5 Responses to “Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – How to store cut apples and prevent browning”

  • Patty says:

    Wow! Have to try this out on hubby’s lunches! The next thought was do you think it would work on avacados? Love your posts’!!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Patty!

      I personally will put the pit into the smashed avocado or slices in a bowl. I’ll also seal it super tight (double wrap) as you do not want air to hit it.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

      • Patty says:

        Thank you for responding! I have sliced my avacados hours before serving and put them in a bowl with water and ice to cover and they were good till serving but got mushy overnite. I just removed from water before needed and dried on paper towels.

  • Monica says:

    My new favorite apple is Jazz for slicing and eating. I buy them by the flat at Costco and cut them all up at one time in a bowl, douse with straight lemon juice, drain, store in big Rubbermaid container. I’m going to try the honey though, thanks.

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