Everyone likes to have a bit of healthy colors on their palate. Fruits are undoubtedly considered to be the best amongst healthy diet and food. Even though it is best advised to eat the fruits as soon as they are cut or even pluck from the trees (if at all possible), there may be situations where cut fruits are to be stored at for a longer duration. In such situations one can easily find himself or herself in the appalling situation of finding the fruits turning brown with time. Although there is not much change in the taste of fruits which have browned only over a short period of time but yet we would prefer they did not. The healthy colors we want in our palate do not include brown-turned-white. Amongst everyone, the children specifically don’t like to bite in on the brown part of the fruit. Fruits such as apples, bananas and pears are prone to getting brown due to certain chemical changes.
Why Do Fruits Turn Brown
Let’s briefly understand what really happens during the browning procedures before we dive into the prevention methods. The cells of most fruits contain an enzyme known as Polyphenol oxidase. These enzymes are responsible for oxidizing polyphenols stored in the fruit cells. So when a fruit is cut and the cells are ruptured, both polyphenols and the oxidizing enzymes come in contact. Due to the oxidizing process that occurs thereafter, certain chemical changes occur which finally lead to the production of melanins which is the brown pigment we see. To prevent this from happening, we simply have to stop the oxidizing process to take place. And this is the basic fundamental of all the preventive methods that we will be seeing today.
Yes! It does seem hard to believe, but the plain old water also helps in reducing the browning of cut fruits to some extent. Simply dipping the fruits in a bowl of water (preferably chilled) will slow down the oxidation process because the oxygen supply has now been significantly reduced.
Although this process is a little less effective and tends to make the texture really soft, it does work!
Most of the fruits tend to float in water so it will be a good idea to place a paper towel over the fruits so that they are submerged after the paper towel gets soaked.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice or the juice of any citrus fruit is one of the oldest and most well-known remedies for preventing the browning of cut fruits. To use the lemon juice you will have to mix one tablespoon of lemon juice per one cup of water. In this solution the cut fruits are to be soaked for a sufficient time period to ensure that the browning is prevented.
Lemon juice contains ascorbic acid, which lowers the pH of the surroundings and also reverses the Oxidation reaction thus preventing the production of melanins.
Although, using lemon juice does a slightly different flavour to the fruits than they really are, it is highly effective. Alternatively, orange juice and pineapple juice can also be used to provide different flavours.
3. Citric Acid
This is a commercially available solution that you can use for your cut fruit. It also used in canned supplies where it prevents the browning of canned goods and keeps them as you see them after opening the can. Citric acid can be used as 3 tablespoons of it in one cup of water to do the trick.
Just like water and lemon juice, it will be required to soak the cut fruits in this solution for a significant period of time. Try not to use a lot of citric acid for the solution as it will render the fruits uneatable.
4. Soda Water
Soda water is another unconventional trick that can help you retain the texture and color of your cut fruits. Simply soak the cut fruits in the soda water without adding anything else. Soda water is also available easily in the market so it is not a bad idea to keep it stock.
An added advantage is that the soda water does it leave any residual taste to the fruits like the other agents do. The fruits retain their color and remain crispy.
Sodium chloride or commonly known as table salt is another effective method for handling the oxidation process of the fruits. A salt solution can be created with half a tablespoon of kosher table salt in one cup of cold water. Soaking the cut fruits in this solution for about fifteen minutes will do the trick very easily. This method also leaves a residual taste on the fruits so you might have to look into that before using it.
Yes! You can even cook your fruits to prevent them from getting browned. High heat from cooking simply shuts down the browning process and makes the fruits retain their natural color.
Blanching the fruits for about two minutes in boiling water and then shocking them with cold water will do the trick. The only drawback is that now your fruits will not be crispy and have a very soft textured because now they are cooked.
These are few of the many ways in which you can prevent your cut fruits from getting that brownish unwanted hue. You can take your pick and use whichever method you want. All the methods have their pros and cons, but they are sure to leave your fruits in the healthy color you like them in.