Collage of needed items for experiment

Are you looking for ways to keep apples from browning in your kids’ lunchboxes? We tested out 6 popular methods to see which worked the best. Read on for the results.

Apples are a lunchbox favorite in our house. My oldest will bite into an apple with no problem, but my youngest will only eat them if they’re sliced. If there’s even a hint of browning though, she won’t touch them.

We get the question all the time, “How do I keep apples from browning in lunchboxes?” and it’s a question I also wanted to know.

Our team set out to find the answer. We tested out 6 popular methods, let the apples sit overnight and tested them at lunchtime to see which performed the best. Some of the most popular methods we’ve seen on Instagram or Pinterest surprisingly got a thumbs down, and a few favorites stood out.

Check out our Facebook Live where we revealed the results and give each a taste-test.

For more tips on how to pick, prepare and store apples, check out our Produce Tips section.

Sliced apples in soda water

Method 1: Soda Water

Here’s what we did:

  1. Slice apples and place in airtight container. Add enough soda water to cover apple slices and let sit 1-2 minutes.
  2. Pour out extra liquid, place lid on top and refrigerate until ready to eat or pack in lunches.

The Results:

The soda water did not help prevent browning. They weren’t quite as brown as the test apples, but I know my daughter wouldn’t come anywhere near these.

Sliced apples in lemon juice

Method 2: Lemon Juice

Here’s what we did:

  1. Slice apples and place in airtight container. Mix 1 part lemon juice and 1 part water. Add to apple slices and let sit 1-2 minutes.
  2. Pour out extra liquid, place lid on top and refrigerate until ready to eat or pack in lunches.

The Results:

These looked great, but there was a little bit of the lemon juice flavor on the apples. If your child is sensitive to taste differences, this might not be the best method.

Sliced apples in salt water

Method 3: Salt Water

Here’s what we did:

  1. Slice apples and place in airtight container. Mix 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup water. Add to apple slices and let sit 1-2 minutes.
  2. Pour out extra liquid, place lid on top and refrigerate until ready to eat or pack in lunches.

The Results:

Not quite as bad as the soda water, but not great. You couldn’t taste the salt, but again, my daughter would be returning these apple slices in her lunchbox.

Sliced apples in pineapple juice

Method 4: Pineapple Juice

Here’s what we did:

  1. Slice apples and place in airtight container. Add enough pineapple juice to apple slices to cover and let sit 1-2 minutes.
  2. Pour out extra liquid, place lid on top and refrigerate until ready to eat or pack in lunches.

The Results:

These were mom’s favorite! No browning and the pineapple juice gave the apples a sweeter taste. My daughter isn’t too keen on pineapple so the taste was off for her, but if your kids like pineapple, these will be a winner.

Sliced apples in apple juice

Method 5: Apple Juice

Here’s what we did:

  1. Slice apples and place in airtight container. Add enough apple juice to apple slices to cover and let sit 1-2 minutes.
  2. Pour out extra liquid, place lid on top and refrigerate until ready to eat or pack in lunches.

The Results:

Another winner here. The apples had no browning and the flavor remained true since we were using apple juice. Apple juice is also a staple in my fridge, which makes this super easy.

Sliced apples with rubber band

Method 6: The Rubber Band Method

Here’s what we did:

  1. Slice apple around the core, keeping it intact.
  2. Assemble slices back around the apple core and secure with a rubber band.

The Results:

This method has been so popular on Instagram, Buzzfeed and Pinterest, but it did not work at all for us. The rubber band apple was even worse than our test apple. We’ll definitely stick to one of the other methods.

Conclusion

Our favorites were the apple or pineapple juice, depending on your child’s sensitivity to taste changes. If they like pineapple or sweeter fruit, go with the pineapple juice. If they’re not a fan of pineapple or are sticklers on taste, go with the apple juice. The lemon juice also works well but can alter the taste a bit.

Apple sliced laid out with method written underneath

Do you have a favorite method for keep apples from browning or another produce dilemma that we can help solve for you? Comment below and let us know!