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Lunch Box Tip: Prevent Apples From Browning (Pears Too!)

I've been so busy with my posh little ones' lately that this is first post in months! A million apologies to my readers for the lack of updates and I am so hopeful that the myriad of ideas in my head will spill over here. Having a fourth child has been such a crazy change for me. She {#4, Hadley} is much more work than my other kids and she can't stand when I am at my computer. She bites. Bloody murder tantrums and biting. I'll admit it... I've got a biter. But that's a whole separate post right!?!?

Let's talk lunches and apples. My kids love apples but won't eat apples in their lunch if they're brown. At home, we make an apple an even like corn on the cob and put those corn holders on them. They'll eat the whole apple, un-sliced, peel and all. Which is funny because they won't eat corn on the cob and won't eat an apple w/out the corn holders. Crazy, but works. But that won't fly at school so I've tackled this a few ways:

A) Trying to score bagged, pre-sliced apples. I've found 3 ways to find bagged, sliced apples. On occasion my local super market will have them. When they don't, Costco does. But the Costco bags are usually too big for my little ones. Our 3rd option (and best) is McDonald's. This sounds so bad but when the kids get a happy meal, I snag the apple slice bags and throw them in the fridge to save for school.

B) Slice/bag apples & pray they eat them. Nah, method A (all 3 versions) work much better than this. For the last 5 or so years I've been sending my kids off to school with lunch and or snack... the apples have come back uneaten. Even if I remove the skin... no dice.

C) Slice, soak in lemon juice then bag apples & pray they eat them. OMG! They ate them. And a double OMG... soaking the slices in lemon juice for a few minutes keeps them from browning. I know it's so silly but that little extra step make such a big difference for the kids. And it's really so easy. I usually have a sliced lemon on hand because I like to add it to my ice water {snob here} but lemon juice concentrate or even a lemon lime soda works too! I've heard salt water works as well but I'd opt for the lemon route purely for taste.

Directions: Place sliced apples in bowl and fill with water to cover apples. Squeeze lemon juice (1/6-1/4 fresh lemon or 1 - 2 TBSP concentrate) and mix. It really doesn't take a lot of lemon. 1-2 tsp is probably sufficient but I am a Tablespoon gal. In the pic above, I squeezed just a tip, maybe 1/6th of a lemon into the water. No lemons or lemon juice? Try a lemon/lime soda, a little salt or there's a product called Fresh Fruit that is supposed to helps keep apples fresh. Let soak for 5 minutes.

My morning regimen is: I slice the apples, put them in a bowl, squeeze a little lemon over the top, fill with just enough water to cover then let it sit. By the time I'm done getting lunches packed and breakfast on the table, it's soaked enough and ready to be drained, dried and bagged. A flawless system ;-)

Above were the left over slices 4 hours later. The browning you see actually happened while soaking in the lemon water and they looked like this for the rest of the day. So still good for an after school snack!

Soaking sliced pears in a lemon-water mixture works just the same. Luckily, my family is not that picky with pears and will eat an un-sliced pear. So it's not as much as an issue as with apples but glad to know it works!

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Saturday, 15 December 2018

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