The familiar scene is set: I cut up an apple per my 3 year old’s request and prompt him that he has to sit down and eat his apple before it goes “yucky”, okay? Do you know the attention span of a 3 year old? Well, mine often grazes when he’s snacking, so sure enough within 15 minutes or less his apple slices start to brown and he won’t eat them because they look yucky. Even though the taste isn’t terribly different, the texture starts to turn from crisp to slightly soggy and toddlers and little kids are very visual little creatures, per my experience anyway. I even made a Halloween snack called “Monster Bites” that involved cutting up green Granny Smith apples into slices, using peanut butter to stick 2 slices together and then putting yogurt covered raisins on the peanut butter to look like the teeth of these Monster Bites. I am not a fan of the Granny Smith apple anyway because it is a more tart apple, but this snack called to soak the apple slices in lemon water to prevent browning of these treats. So I’m soaking an already bitter apple….in bitter lemon water? The treats were saved by the sweetness of the peanut butter and the flavor of the yogurt raisins…but there’s just no way most people would want to eat a lemony flavored apple just so it doesn’t brown.
There has to be a better way, and there will be…!
The Arctic® Apple is the world’s first non-browning apple. Apples are already a healthy snack option that most of us all love, so wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t brown or bruise? Most browning and bruising is caused by a enzymatic browning triggered when you bite, slice, or drop an apple. The Arctic® Apple uses biotechnology (GMO) within the apple family to stop the browning process and also retains the healthiness of the apple, as when apples start to brown, they lose health-promoting phenolics and antioxidants that are otherwise lost to the browning process. So, unlike when I first heard about Arctic® Apples, it’s not just so the sliced, diced, and bitten-into apples will be more visually appealing without browning, they are going to be healthier too! A simple way to think about this is that Arctic Apples have the browning gene turned to “off”, but they will still experience secondary browning (rotting) just like any other apple, making it even easier to tell when your apples have gone bad. Here’s their brand new infographic to help give a great visual as to how Arctic® Apples work.
One of the things that appeals to me most as a mom who tries hard to be eco-friendly and as a consumer, is the reduction of waste that a non-browning apple would bring to the table. I know Braden will eventually eat all of his apples if they don’t brown and I’m going to be WAY more likely to cut up apples for myself for work or to put in a salad. I much prefer a cut up apple to eating a whole apple any day. A big push as a parent is getting my kids to eat healthier snacks, and a study at Cornell University has found that kids are 71% more likely to buy and eat sliced fruit than whole fruit. It also revealed that the number of kids that ate more than half of their apple (in slices) increased by 73%.
This study shows that making fruit easier to eat encourages more children to select it and to eat more of it. With an initial investment of just $200, fruit slicers constitute a means for school cafeterias not only to encourage fruit consumption among students but also to prevent food waste!
I had braces as a junior high and high school student and I couldn’t eat a whole apple and never took a sliced apple to school either because it would be brown long before the time I ate it. I rarely ate apples for 4 years because I had braces and the first thing I ate when I got my braces off was an apple! I couldn’t wait to bite into one after I got those darn braces off! Kids with missing teeth can have trouble or not be able to eat a whole apple too (can you bite into an apple without your two front teeth?).
Arctic® Apples will be likely be officially approved for sale in early 2014 and available for purchase in Canada and in the United States likely by fall of 2015 as it takes a few years for the newly planted trees to produce much fruit. Have no fears – they believe in full transparency and all Arctic® Apples will be labelled.
In conclusion, this leads to the inevitable question: how do you like them apples?
*Update: Upon publishing this post I have received a wave of “anti-GMO” comments. While I knew this would inevitably happen, please let’s remember to be respectful of each other. There’s no need for (more) name calling and shaming anyone’s parenting choices. I would love to hear from my readers on what they think about having a non-browning apple (hopefully soon!) on the market.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated in any form. The opinions on this blog are, and always will be, my own. All images used with permission from ArcticApples.com. I am a nurse who happens to also be a blogger; I write as a mom and a blogger and do not give health advice on this blog.