Why Do Fruits And Vegetables Get Brown?

by Jyotsana Rao

What will happen if you cut an apple in half and keep it like that for some time? The same apple that was so fresh and juicy some time ago will turn into a sad brown piece of fruit. Isn’t it? Ok. Now, what about a banana or a potato? The same thing happens to them as well, right? But did you ever wonder why does this happen? Is it safe to eat the fruits and vegetables after they turn brown?

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The answer is YES. Yes, you can still eat them, but there is a scientific reason behind the fruits or vegetables turning brown that you probably should be aware of.

When you peel or cut fresh fruits and vegetables, an enzyme called tyrosinase or polyphenol oxidase present in the cells gets exposed to air and reacts with the oxygen. This catalyzes a reaction known as enzymatic browning, which converts the plant phenols into a brown pigment called melanin. It is the same pigment that gives color to the human skin. And this is the reason fruits and vegetables turn brown after getting cut or even if they get bruised.

However, you can always prevent these fruits and vegetables from turning brown by using anti-browning techniques. Let’s see how!

The most common fruits that turn brown quickly are apple, peach, banana, and pear. To prevent them from turning brown, cut them into slices and then brush their surface with the juice of any citrus fruit such as orange juice, lemon juice, etc. The most effective one is the lemon juice.

Another option is to take a bowl filled with fresh water. Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in the water and mix it well to make the water acidulated. Soak the fruits in this water for not more than 15 minutes, and if it is a banana, then soak just for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the water and pat dry before using. Vinegar or lemon juice help in reducing the pH level on the surface of the fruits and water helps in reducing the amount of oxygen the fruit is exposed to, and thus, it prevents the fruits from turning brown.

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Vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, artichokes, and parsnips turn brown if we cut them and keep them in the open air. To prevent them from turning brown, put them in a bowl of cold water immediately after cutting or you can also put them in the acidulated water by mixing lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in fresh water.

This will prevent your fruits or vegetable from discoloration and will also keep them fresh.

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