slices can quickly turn brown and mushy. ARS chemist Dominic W.S. Wong was part
of a team that developed an invisible coating to prevent unwanted changes in
color, texture and taste. Click the image for more information about
Sliced Apples' Flavor Saver Gains Favor
Wood April 28, 2005
Kids who are still missing a few front teeth may find it hard to take
a bite of a big, juicy apple. And apple slices, though easier for
youngsters--and adults--to eat, typically turn brown and unappealing in a few
hours. Apple slices packed in a child's lunch bag might not look appetizing by
lunchtime, for instance.
But an invisible, vitamin-and-mineral based coating that
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientists and their corporate colleagues have developed preserves refrigerated
apple slices for up to 28 days.
The dip-applied coating was patented in 1999 after exhaustive tests
with sliced apples and pears. It is a key to the crunchy, delicious taste of
the snack-size bags of sliced apples that you can now buy at some fast-food
The flavorful sliced apples are also showing up in the kitchens of
school cafeterias as well as in fruit salads sold at supermarket delicatessens,
or in elegant selections at upscale restaurants.
Unlike lemon juice--the traditional, home-kitchen tactic to thwart
browning--the apple dip doesn't change the color, taste or texture of the
fruit, according to ARS research chemist
Based at the agency's
Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., Wong is a co-inventor of the
novel dip, along with retired ARS chemists Wayne M. Camirand and Attila E.
Pavlath, and colleagues at Mantrose-Haeuser, Co., Inc., Westport,
Conn. The company markets the formulation under the trade "NatureSeal."
The sulfite-free coating consists of certain forms of calcium, an
essential mineral, and ascorbate (vitamin C). The idea of choosing either or
both of these natural compounds to retard browning isn't new. But extending
shelf-life by using the specific forms prescribed by the scientists, at any of
the ratios they recommended, is unique.
NatureSeal-coated apple slices are an attractive snack that might help
Americans get the recommended daily servings of fruit and fight obesity.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.