Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brown Apple Slices: The Bane of Childhood

I just brought a lot of apples back from North Carolina. They are a favorite food around here, and I often send sliced apples and a cheese stick to school for Laura's snacktime. But she won't eat them if they've turned brown from oxidizing, and neither will Hank. You would think that someone who used to sneak dogfood out of the dog's bowl would not be quite so picky about his fruit.

I have only a few food tricks up my sleeve, but Alton Brown taught me that lemon or lime juice will keep fruit slices from turning brown. (I love Alton Brown, and I know that if neither of us were married we would be dating.) So what I do is slice and core the apple with one of those corer/wedger things and put the wedges straight into a baggie that I've squirted a few drops of lime juice into. Lemon juice works too, of course, but I have the bottle of lime juice around for cocktails. Then you press the air out of the baggie, close it up, and rub the apple pieces all around so they make contact with the juice. It takes so little juice that you can then just leave the slices in the bag and send it off as a snack. Or you can take those slices out and do another apple in the same baggie. Today I am cutting several apples to keep in the fridge as quick toddler food. The slices stay nice and unbrown for a long time.

Now, what I need is a trick for peeling apples. How does one do this in an elegant way, without a peeling machine? I do it the way someone who had never even seen an apple would do it if you handed her a knife and said, "Peel this." It's a pain. Sometimes I take the wedges that the corer/wedger makes and peel them individually. If I give my two year-old apple with a lot of peel on it, he will eat the apple, but keep a growing bolus of peel in his mouth, until he decides to spit it out, usually either on the couch or in my hand. Thanks, buddy! So I need a peeling trick. Lime juice on apples has been brought to you by Works for Me Wednesday. Go over there and check it out.

11 comments:

Blue Castle said...

This is great! My boys complain about brown apple slices. And I have to admit, they are pretty ugly.

Amy said...

Does it make them taste too "limey"? I've done that before with lemon juice, but maybe i've used too much.

Lecia said...

If you find a peeling trick let me know! (We eat LOTS of apples here in Washington.) I've always done lemon juice - my mother taught me this trick and it does work like a charm. My boys won't eat anything brown.

annahsretrop said...

Peeling an apple with a knife is too hard for me...so I use a potato peeler. It saves the trouble of buying a new kitchen gadget, and the kids love watching to see if I can make one long spiral of apple peel!

Lisa said...

you can soak them in 7-up/Sprite too! Works just the same

Bren said...

This is so timely. I've been including cut apples in Gary's lunch for two years now, and he's suddenly saying he doesn't want them any more because they turn brown. He loves those "crunch pak" apples, though. Pre-cut and coated with ascorbic acid (which I kept meaning to go buy from a brew shop)

I envy the apples in close proximity. We actually have a 7-foot apple tree in our front yard (grown from a grocery store seed) but we know it will never produce here in Florida, poor thing. It's the only apple tree I've ever actually seen! We get the persimmon down here. Bum deal, that.

Becky said...

They really don't taste too limey, because it doesn't take a lot of juice with the baggie method. Now, when I've sprinkled the juice over the slices in a dish, you get limey. And Lisa, I bet the kids would LOVE the Sprite solution! I'm going to try the potato peeler, Anna, but I think I need a new one. I'm bad at peeling.

Brenda, last week the kids and I discovered an apple tree in our neighbor's backyard. We had never seen it in two years. It's in a really inaccessible corner, and we're going to ask her permission to take some, of course. But I think this neighbor is the least likely person in the world to be out picking fruit. They are granny smith apples, and delicious! That tree is right next to another tree of apples that are purely decorative. Why do that?

Hootie said...

You folks are really going about this the wrong way. Train the children to love brown apple slices.

Ex. Blind taste test between fresh cut apples and brown apples. Once child is blindfolded, substitute habanero pepper for fresh apple. Rinse and repeat. Soon they'll be begging their foster parents for brown apples.

Becky said...

Hoot, you really need to collect all of these tips together into a pamphlet that could be given to new parents when they leave the hospital. Think about it!

kate said...

Maybe keep the peels on...an unpeeled apple provides close to 15% of your daily fiber needs! Another way of using the lemon juice trick is to rinse the apples in a bowl of cold water with a spoonful of lemon juice. This minimizes the lemon taste. I found this out on one of my favorite sites, World's Healthiest Foods, www.whfoods.com. It has a ton of info on picking, storing, and cooking healthy food.

Becky said...

That's a good idea about the cold water, Kate. And my daughter and I love the peel--it's just the toddler peel-spitting-out that I can't handle!