The Easiest Ways To Keep Apple Slices Fresh In Packed School Lunches

Whether you prepare sandwiches or bento boxes, apples usually make the lunch box cut. Unfortunately, apple slices have the tendency to turn brown quickly. Regardless of how fresh they may be in the morning, they're soggy and have brown spots by lunchtime. According to Scientific American, when an apple is sliced, the fruit's tissue comes in contact with oxygen. This causes the apple's enzymes to oxidize and react with other molecules within the fruit. This reaction causes the apple to turn brown. But, while brown fruits don't look very tasty, they are still safe to eat in most cases (via Decoding Delicious).

Luckily, here are several methods for preventing apple slices from becoming brown. Some are effective, while others, like lemon, stop the browning but also affect the fruit's flavor negatively (via At Home With Real Food). 

Consider the following fruit hacks to keep apple slices fresh in your child's school lunch.

Keep apple slices fresh with salt and water

Don't waste money on store-bought, pre-sliced apples. Those slices have been sprayed with a chemical solution, lessening the integrity of the apple (via Mashed). That perfect-looking fruit comes with a cost.

According to My Kitchen Escapades, water and salt help keep apple slices fresh for four to five days in the fridge. The site recommends dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in four cups of water. Then, add four to five cored, sliced apples to the water. Soak, drain, and pack the apples in an airtight container. My Kitchen Escapades claims that the taste of salt is undetectable in this fruit hack and Serious Eats adds that the browning risk is reduced, even after rinsing.

The outlet also says you can scale this recipe down if you don't need that many apples. Instead of four apples, scale it back to one and reduce the amount of salt and water. Ensure you store the slices in an airtight container in the fridge, and mark it with the date. Labeling ensures you know how long the apples have been in the fridge and helps prevent foodborne illness (via Public Health MDC).

Keep apple slices fresh with a rubber band

Prevent sliced apples from browning by trying the rubber band trick. Sofa B Food recommends this simple hack for keeping apple slices fresh until lunchtime. Slice the apple with an apple slicer or knife; Avoid cutting it all the way through. Remove the apple slicer and pull the slices back up, so the apple is "whole" again. Secure the apple with a rubber band to hold the pieces together. Ta-da! This apple trick produces little to no browning by lunchtime.

Time recommends slicing the apple in a "tic-tac-toe" fashion, creating nine pieces from one apple. Then, gather all the pieces together, and secure the apple in the middle with a rubber band. Time says this method is easier and faster than your original way of cutting apples, plus it keeps the slices fresh and brown-free.

 Apples contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, and they compliment any healthy diet (via Healthline).