6 Easy Ways to Keep Apples From Turning Brown (2024)

Environmental factors (like the ambient temperature and oxygen level) also play a role in how quickly a sliced apple will turn brown. The more oxygen exposure, the faster an apple slice will brown. The lower the temperature, the slower the reaction, according to Watkins.

The 6 best ways to prevent apples from browning:

If you’re baking apples into a pie or a crisp, the browning doesn’t matter so much—after all, they’ll just brown more in the oven. But if it’s picture-perfect slices you’re after—say, for a charcuterie board, an apple tart, or the kids’ lunch boxes—try one of the below methods to slow the oxidation process.

Note that these tricks to keep apple slices white and crisp work only in the short-term: All sliced apples will brown over time (that is, unless you get the genetically engineered kind). It’s the cycle of life. Embrace it. Browned apple slices might not be the prettiest, but they’re still perfectly fine to eat. “Browning does not change the flavor of the apple or suggest deterioration,” says Fitzgerald.

1. Choose a slow-to-brown apple.

First things first: Choose the right apple. Watkins advises selecting a low-browning susceptible apple, like Pink Lady, Empire, Cortland, RubyFrost, Ambrosia, Ginger Gold, or EverCrisp.

2. Soak in water.

The easiest step you can take to avoid browning is to reduce the sliced apple’s exposure to air. There are a few ways to do this (one popular technique is to hold the apple slices together with a rubber band), but our favorite method requires no dexterity or special equipment. It’s simple: Submerge your apple slices in plain water. “Water has two effects—it washes the damaged cells, but more importantly reduces the oxygen levels around the slices,” says Watkins.

Fill a medium-size bowl with cold water, then place your apple slices in the bowl. Since the slices will float to the top of the water, place a clean paper towel on the water’s surface. Once the paper towel is wet, it will push the apples under the surface.

3. Soak in saltwater.

Since salt is a preservative, adding a pinch of kosher or table salt to the soaking water can keep the apple slices looking fresh. Dissolve ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt in 1 cup water. Add the apple slices, let them soak for 1–3 minutes (be careful not to let the apple slices soak too long, or they’ll absorb the salty flavor), then drain them in a colander. Rinse the slices with fresh water.

4. Soak in honey water.

“There is a compound in honey that stops the enzyme responsible for oxidation,” writes Epi contributor Sheela Prakash on why honey can be an effective antidote to browning. Whisk 2 tablespoons honey into 1 cup water and soak your apple slices in the mixture for 1–3 minutes. Drain and give them a quick rinse with fresh water (or skip the rinse if you don’t mind the honey flavor).

6 Easy Ways to Keep Apples From Turning Brown (2024)
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