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This Food-Stylist Trick for Keeping Sliced Apples from Browning Is a Lunch Prep Dream

updated Sep 2, 2020
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As a father of two girls — one of whom now brings her lunch to school each day, and one who will be leaving the haven of her daycare’s lunch program all too soon — my weekend meal prep sessions are increasingly centered around my kids’ lunches as much as my own.

And a big part of prepping a kid’s lunch is, of course, healthy snacks. While I may be happy with crunchy grain salads, roasted leftover veggies, or plain hard-boiled eggs, I need to make sure my third-grader has something fun to eat in her lunch box, or I’m liable to be tossing it into the trash at the end of the day.

I keep a long list of foods that work, but right now (especially as they’re in season) one of the most surefire snacks I have up my sleeve is a small box of sliced apples and a little container of almond butter fruit dip. If I put that in her lunch box, the container is likely to come back licked clean.

The only problem: I’d like to slice up a bevy of apples at the beginning of the week, but they turn too brown. Now, you may think: Just use lemon juice. That works okay — although not great. And my daughter doesn’t always like the way the apples taste. “Too sour,” she’ll tell me, making a face.

But the other day I was digging through our archives and I stumbled across an anti-apple-browning technique relayed from a food stylist. It keeps apples looking fresh for days, and leaves them no more tart than they were before: a salt water brine.

Credit: Christopher Michel/Kitchn

A Salt Water Brine Keeps Apples Unbrowned for Days

The instructions for this method couldn’t be simpler: Mix 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into 1 cup of water and stir until it’s clear. Then simply soak apple slices in the brine for 10 minutes, shake them dry, and put them in airtight containers in the fridge. The apples will look like the moment they were cut, even four or five days later.

Now, the article does note that there will be “a slightly salty flavor” that can “enhance the taste, like salt on watermelon.” I did notice a hint of salt when I ate one straight. But I packed my daughter’s lunch with them, and both the apples and dip were gone when she got home. “How were the apples?” I casually asked.

“They were great! Really tasty,” she replied. That’s all I needed to know.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. And we decided to start sharing some of our absolute favorites with you. Here’s a peek into what we’re cooking and eating in our own kitchens.