There may be some truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are not only flavorful, they are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium, and provide you with plenty of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. The flesh of apples begins to oxidize when air hits it, turning the fruit brown. Whether you plan to add apple chunks to a fruit salad or want to serve slices of fresh apple with a baked brie, there are steps you can take to preserve the fruit’s color.
Mix the citrus juice or ascorbic acid in 1 cup of water. Lemon juice is preferable, as its taste helps to add tartness to the apples, but any orange or pineapple juice will work as well.
Dip the apples slices in the juice-and-water mixture, and shake off any excess.
Store the slices in the refrigerator in an air-tight container if not using them immediately.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests balancing delicate fruits, like apples and bananas, with plenty of citrus fruits, like oranges and pineapples, when making a fruit salad to prevent them from browning.
Use the lemon solution on apples that tend to be sweeter, such as the Gala, Fuji or Rome varieties, as the lemon juice adds a bit of tartness. Use the ascorbic acid mixture on tart apple varieties, such as Granny Smith, Winesap or McIntosh varieties.
Dr. Evelyn Crayton of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System says that citric acid, if used in the proper ratio, also prevents apples from browning, but it has a tendency to mask some of the flavor of the fruit.