How to Prevent Apple Rusting (Discoloration of Cut Apples)

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
Did you ever hear of “apple rusting”? Apparently that term was used a hundred years ago to describe how apples tend to turn brownish after they are cut. Here’s what a 1918 magazine had to say about how to prevent rusting:

Source: American Cookery (March, 1918)


27 thoughts on “How to Prevent Apple Rusting (Discoloration of Cut Apples)

  1. Have you tried this, Sheryl? I usually pour a little bottled lemon juice in a shallow bowl of water and dip the apple slices in it. Lemon juice would be quicker, but I’ll have to try the salt trick and see if it improves the flavor. Thanks for posting the article.

  2. Salt water, hmmmm never tried that one. Although I don’t think I would agree on the salt improving the flavor… that’s what hubby says about salt on watermelon..😝😁

  3. Are you supposed to rinse the apple after the soak? I can’t imagine… But maybe it’s a very minimum amount of salt. Since I usually don’t have lemons around, I’ll give it a try. It would be good if it works.

    1. When I tried this I rinsed the apples off though they still had a very slight salty taste -but I did not find it objectionable. The old directions say that the salt improves the flavor. I’m not sure that I’d go that far -but it definitely does not detract from the flavor.

        1. My general sense is that apples had a wide range of flavors back then, and that that people selected specific varieties based on how they planned to use the apples. Some varieties were considered best for making cider, others were better for baking, and still others for eating fresh.

  4. I just tried this a few weeks ago when I had to cut (early) and serve (later) 32 apples. I’d researched online and the best modern recommendation was to use 1 tsp. salt to 4 c. water and soak for 10 minutes, rinse, pat dry, and refrigerate. It worked great. The other thing I learned is that the sharper the knife the less “rusting.” It’s fun to know that someone knew about salt water 100 years ago!

    1. Thanks for the specific information regarding how to keep apples white using salt water.. It’s fascinating that something as simple as the sharpness of the knife that is used to cut the apples can affect how much they brown.

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