Pretreating Helps Prevent Browning

A common problem when preparing light colored fruits and vegetables for preservation is browning of the exposed flesh. The best method of pretreating fruits that will be preserved is by dipping peeled or cut fruits into an ascorbic acid solution.

Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, can be bought in three forms a powder, vitamin C tablets and a commercially prepared mixture. Lemon juice, which contains large quantities of ascorbic acid, can be used to prevent browning of peeled, light colored fruits and vegetables.

To help prevent darkening, place fruit pieces immediately after peeling or slicing into one of the following solutions. Let sit until ready to pack, at least 15 minutes.

  • Add 2 tablespoons of salt or 2 tablespoons of clear, distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Don’t let fruit stay longer than 20 minutes because it will absorb the flavor of the vinegar and salt. Rinse fruit before adding sugar or syrup.
  • Add 1 tablespoon citric acid to 1 gallon water. Citric acid does not alter the fruit's flavor and doesn’t need to be rinsed before adding sugar or syrup.
  • Add 1 tablespoon ascorbic acid or six vitamin C tablets to 1 gallon water. Fruit doesn’t need to be rinsed.
  • Buy ascorbic acid mixture and follow manufacturer’s directions. Fruit doesn’t need to be rinsed.

Source: Evelyn Crayton, Extension Foods and Nutrition Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, (334) 844-2224

Prepared by Jana Huggins, Agricultural Journalism Intern