Start Adding Lemonade To Your Apples

This summery addition to your sliced fruit can extend its life.

My children love to take their sliced apples on a little journey to and from camp and school each day. I carefully pack a lunch for them with only those foods they find acceptable, including but not limited to sliced red apples—only red. More often than not, though, they don't actually eat the apple. When I confronted them about their lack of fruit intake, they informed me the apple had gone "bad."

True, the apple slices grow a little brown throughout the day, but we've talked about how a brown apple doesn't mean it's poison. Yet, my children remain as skeptical as Snow White should have been. I decided to try some creative methods to keep their fruit from browning and, in a fun summery twist, discovered that lemonade powder does the trick.

Common methods to keep apples from browning

I've preserved the integrity of apple slices before. Ahead of an afternoon birthday party, I researched the best methods for keeping apple slices fresh. Many people use lemon juice, but my super sleuth children tasted the citric acid and audibly gagged.


I've had great success extending the life of a sliced apple by submerging the slices in cold, salted water for 10 minutes. If I don't over-salt the water, this works extremely well. But if I get the balance even a little wrong, I might as well have composted the apple from the start, because kids will not consume it.

Adding lemonade mix is a fun, tasty way to keep apples fresh

The internet has several recipes for "lemonade fruit salad." These usually involve a thawed can of lemonade concentrate, mixed into a party-sized fruit salad. My children refuse to eat foods that even approximate something you'd call "salad," so I don't often make big batches of fruit salad. I was curious, though, if it would be possible to recreate these results on a smaller scale with powdered lemonade mix.


I tried two methods: sprinkling the powder directly onto the fruit and soaking the fruit in lemonade prepared with the powdered mix. Actually, to get the most informed results, I designed several scenarios:

  • One apple slice was placed alone in a bowl, as a control group.
  • One apple slice was sprinkled with lemon juice.
  • One apple slice was submerged in a mild salt bath.
  • Then I made a cup of lemonade according to the directions on a package of powdered mix. I plopped in a few apple slices. With the remaining slices, I sprinkled lemonade powder directly onto the fruit and was immediately worried about texture.

    After 10 minutes, all but the control apple looked fresh; the control slice was only the slightest bit more yellow. I tasted every one of them.  

    The lemon-juiced apple had a discernible sourness, and the salty one had a tang that some might find unpleasant. The lemonade and lemonade powder slices tasted very similar, with, understandably, the powdered one packing more of a concentrated lemonade flavor. The granules had dissolved into the surface of the fruit, a process called maceration that is very useful when preparing a fruit pie or crisp. Both versions of the lemonade apples were noticeably sweeter than the others, which makes sense.


How to prevent apple browning long-term

I left the apples on the counter for a while, and when I checked on them later, all remained fresh except the control. My dog climbed onto the counter while I was at my computer and ate exactly one of the samples: the lemonade powder one. So, the dog has spoken. The lemonade-soaked apples had a bit of a sugary film on them, much like you'd get when adding a can of mandarin oranges to a fruit salad.


Many parents balk at the idea of adding sugar to fruit. While I agree that there's no reason to add sugar when you don't have to, the trade-off of getting my kids to eat an apple versus refusing the apple altogether makes the net health gain worth it. Some kids who like lemonade will enjoy the change in flavor and, if starting with a tart apple, might not even notice the addition of lemonade or lemonade powder.

With the leftover lemonade, I made myself a fruit salad with figs from my tree, mint from my garden, some seasonal berries, and acceptable watermelon. It tasted delightful, held up well in the fridge, and generally surpassed the mandarin-orange-laden salads of my childhood. The strawberries in particular benefitted from the lemonade addition, and if you are down with a little excess sugar, you should try it for yourself.