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Sweet Solution to Brown Fruit

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2013

We discovered a sweet way to keep cut apples and other fruits from browning.

Most people toss cut apples and other fruits prone to browning in lemon juice. But here’s another way: Toss them in honey water. We diluted 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of water, added one apple cut into slices, and left it to soak. Compared with untreated apple slices, which began to brown after a few minutes, the apples in honey water were kept bright for more than 24 hours. This is because browning is caused by the action of an enzyme known as polyphenol oxidase, and a peptide compound found in honey deactivates this enzyme just as the acid in lemon juice does. Even better: We found that the fruit needed only a 30-second dunk in the same solution to inhibit browning for a solid 8 hours. (Incidentally, honey seems to work just as well at stopping browning in vegetables such as potatoes.)