Say you’ve decided to go healthy and prepare your own lunches for work. You wash, chop and toss a lovely fruit salad only to find that your slices have turned brown come lunchtime. While this might leave a sour taste in your mouth, it is a natural process that causes this discolouration. Chopped fruits such as apples brown relatively quickly due to oxidation, caused unsurprisingly by exposure to oxygen. This means that fruits are better consumed immediately after chopping.
However, this is not the only way to eat fruit. This article aims to inform you of a few simple ways you can store chopped fruit and keep it fresh at work. If you’re one of the many people seeing the benefits of meal prepping - both financially and health-wise - then this could be right up your street. Using the following tips, you can chop and keep fruit throughout the morning and enjoy the sweet, succulent meal or snack you’ve worked to prepare.
The first tip for storing chopped fruit is to keep it in a container of fresh water. The water acts as a barrier, stopping the oxygen from reaching and browning your fruit. There are a few things to bear in mind with this method.
You need to make sure that the fruit is completely submerged, which also means finding an airtight container with a lockable lid. While this might seem obvious, the last thing you want is to open your bag to find your laptop and work documents sodden with fruity water. Plus, it’s always useful to familiarise yourself with the best ways to store food at work. Big chunks of fruit will need more water to cover so cutting finer slices is more suited for this process.
The water will need to be changed every few hours if you’re hoping to store the fruit for more than a day. However, from morning to lunchtime, your first submersion should be sufficient. If you have access to a fridge at work, then this should be where you store the container until lunch. Storing chopped fruit in water can also be advantageous for people looking to stay hydrated as it will increase the water content of the fruit.
Water is also a great way of storing harder chopped vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. This is more for leftover ingredients and getting the most from your produce, but it’s a handy tip to have.
There is another way you can use water to keep chopped fruit fresh without having to carry a container filled with it. You can add certain ingredients to the water which will soak into the fruit and preserve it for a longer time once removed.
Stirring just two tablespoons of honey into a bowl of water and then soaking chopped fruit for thirty seconds will keep it fresh for up to 8 hours. This is great for speedy morning lunch prep as you won’t need to worry about safely storing the water in your bag or cutting the slices small enough to submerge. Honey works because it contains a peptide compound that combats the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, which reacts with oxygen causing the fruit to brown during oxidation.
Lemons and limes work in a similar way, in that their acidity keeps the fruit fresh. The key component for this to work is the absorptive acid, vitamin C. Where the honey acts as a barrier, lemons and limes work more like a decoy. The oxygen reacts with the acid first, giving the polyphenol oxidase found in the fruit more time before oxidation. This also means that, once the vitamin C has been used up, normal browning will take place.
Both methods work fine but some people have reported an added and unwanted taste left by lemons and limes. Considering this, and it’s speedy application, a honey soak might be the ideal way to keep chopped fruit fresh for work.
A final way of keeping chopped fruit fresh is to use paper towels. This method is most beneficial for keeping salads and leafy greens fresh for a longer period of time. There are two ways to use paper towels:
Using paper towels in a plastic bag of leaves is a popular way of keeping moisture off your greens. However, it is not the most effective as the leaves are more likely to be exposed to oxygen. This is why many people opt for an airtight container too.
The airtight container will keep out any bacteria and slow decomposition. But the paper towels play a vital role in keeping condensation from the leaves. Instead of the leaves becoming soggy, laying a few sheets of paper towel on top will soak up the moisture from condensation. If kept in a fridge, this can keep the leaves crisp and edible for over 10 days.
For work, paper towels will help keep your salad leaves fresh until lunch. You can mix the previous methods by using two containers, one with paper towels on salad leaves and the other with honey soaked fruit. This would mean you could keep leaves and fruit fresh and create a mixed, fresh delicious salad from the comfort of your desk.
There are a number of methods for keeping chopped fruit fresh for work. You can refrigerate the food in freshwater, which can keep the fruit fresh for a longer period of time. Or, if you just need to keep the fruit fresh for a few hours until lunch, then you can soak in honey, lemon or lime water for half a minute or so. Being able to keep chopped fruit fresh for longer will not only make your produce go further but might encourage you to prepare more healthy lunches at home.
At Ripe, we offer fresh tasty fruits, vegetables and salads for home delivery to help you make the most delicious lunch! Plus, we pride ourselves on providing a bespoke service so if there is anything you do not see on our list but you would really like, please just contact us and we will try to get it for you.