Ripe, sliced fruit is plentiful in the summer and it makes an easy snack or dessert, but I hate dealing with it turning colors. Foods brown because of oxidation that happens when the flesh has contact with air. Adding an acid to cut foods and sealing them in an airtight container will help ensure that the foods you serve are attractive and fresh looking â€“ even when you make them ahead of time.
I know you can dip it in lemon juice to keep it from discoloring, but sometimes that leaves a sour residue â€“ which I also dislike.
Well, guess what? There are other ways to handle discoloration in fruit and vegetables â€“ some that I had never heard of or thought about. This summer there will be no more brown apples, oobleck colored pesto and guacamole, or strangely tinted potatoes in my house. How about yours?
Avocados donâ€™t last very long after cutting, even if you do manage to keep them from turning brown. Dip sliced avocados in lemon or lime juice, or if you donâ€™t want that sour aftertaste you can dip them in orange juice.
Guacamole has lime juice in it which helps it stay bright, but there may not be enough acidity to totally stave off that ugly color change. Make your guac and top it with salsa or tomato slices, covering the top completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and push the wrap gently down on the top of the tomatoes to keep it air tight. This works with pesto, too. You can use lemon slices over top and then make sure it is in an airtight container.
Apples and Pears
You can dip apple and pear slices in lemon, orange, lime, or pineapple juice to keep them from turning brown. You can also dunk them in lemon lime soda or ginger-ale. Just slice and peel the fruit and put it in a bowl. Add the soda of your choice to cover and let it soak for fifteen to twenty minutes. Remove it from the liquid, pat it dry and youâ€™ll have sliced fruit that looks fresh and tastes delicious.
Salt water and clear flavorings such as vanilla keep fruit fresh looking. The salt water doesnâ€™t add any flavor or aftertaste. The flavorings work best with very sweet fruits.
Crush up a few vitamin C tablets and add a cup of water. Dip cut fruit or vegetables in it to keep them from turning color.
Want to peel your potatoes ahead of time to make dinner easier? Peel and cut them and then cover with cold water and keep refrigerated. They will hold about 24 hours this way without turning color. Adding a little lemon or vinegar to the water can help as well.
Place the stems of fresh, cut herbs in a glass of water and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep them fresh and green as well as allow you to use them as you need them.
Donâ€™t you hate trying to make salad ahead of time and having it wilt and brown? I do.
Wash the salad greens as soon as you get home by submerging it in icy cold water for a half hour or so. Next, dry it the best you can. A salad spinner works great for this.
Instead of cutting your lettuce, tear it. This will keep it from discoloring and turning into a limp mess.
Now, take your sort of dry lettuce leaves and wrap them in paper towel. Put the whole thing in a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate. Youâ€™ll have perfect salad every time, unless you try to keep it for a couple of weeks. Then youâ€™ll have a science experiment.
photo credit: Hanna