Kitchen hack: How to prevent fruit from turning brown

Jan 17, 2020
Keep your favourite fruits fresh for longer. Source: Getty

We’ve all been there. You cut into an avocado or pear to use in a recipe only to have it turn brown and mushy minutes later. The questions is, why does freshly cut fruit turn brown?

It’s essentially due to a process called oxidation, which occurs when oxygen in the air reacts with the exposed surface of the fruit. Basically the fruit is ‘rusting’ and that’s why it appears brown. There are some tips and tricks, however, that you can use to prevent sliced fruit from turning brown.

Apples

To keep your apple slices from browning, soak them in salt water for 10 minutes — the salt interferes with the oxidation process and prevents discolouration. Just remember to give the slices a quick rinse with tap water before serving, so your fruit doesn’t taste salty.

In addition to salt water, lemon juice can also prevent browning — lemons contain ascorbic acid which helps reverse the oxidation process. Simply soak the apple slices in a bowl of cold water and lemon juice for three to five minutes, before draining and rinsing. Lime juice is another good option.

Avocados

Next time you cut an avocado, place the leftover half in an airtight container with a cut-up onion and store in the fridge. Storing an avocado with an onion as soon as you cut it will slow down the ripening process and keep your avocado fresh.

The best part is, it also works for guacamole. Scattering some chopped onion (used in the recipe) over the top will keep your delicious dip fresher for longer. Just make sure to stir in the onion before serving.

Pears

Did you know that honey can keep sliced fruit from turning brown? Soak your pear slices for 30 seconds in a mixture of two tablespoons of honey and one cup of water — it’s that easy! Lemon juice also keeps pear slices from turning brown.

Bananas

Wrapping your bananas in cling wrap as soon as you get home will slow down the ripening process and keep them fresh for longer. Like many other fruits, bananas naturally produce gases while they ripen. Left naturally, the gas spreads to the fruit, helping it ripen faster. By using cling wrap, you’re trapping the gas so it can’t reach the other pieces of fruit and thus slowing down the ripening process.

If you’ve sliced up the banana, whether it’s to put it in the fridge for later or to make a tasty fruit salad, to avoid bruising and browning, cover the banana chunks in a bit of lemon, pineapple juice or vinegar.

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