How Does Lemon Juice Stop Apples From Browning

Lemon juice is commonly used to prevent apples from browning due to its high acidity and vitamin C content. When an apple is cut or bruised, it triggers an enzymatic process known as enzymatic browning, where certain enzymes react with oxygen in the air. This reaction causes the apple to turn brown.

However, the citric acid in lemon juice lowers the pH level of the apple’s surface, creating an unfavorable environment for the enzymes to react. Additionally, the ascorbic acid present in lemon juice acts as an antioxidant, inhibiting the enzymatic browning process. Thus, lemon juice effectively delays the browning of apples, keeping them visually appealing and fresh for longer periods.


To prevent apples from browning using lemon juice, follow these steps in detail:

1. Gather your supplies:
You will need a fresh lemon, a knife, a cutting board, a bowl, and the apples you want to prevent from browning.

2. Squeeze the lemon:
Cut the lemon in half using the knife and squeeze the juice from both halves into the bowl. Make sure to remove any seeds that may have fallen into the juice.

3. Prepare the apples:
Slice or cut the apples into the desired shape and size. If you want to prevent browning on apple slices, make sure to remove the core and any seeds before slicing.

4. Dip the apples:
Submerge the apple slices or pieces into the bowl of lemon juice immediately after cutting them. Using tongs or a fork, gently toss the apples to ensure they are evenly coated with the lemon juice.

5. Let the apples soak:
Allow the apples to soak in the lemon juice for about 2-3 minutes. This will ensure that the lemon juice comes into contact with all parts of the apple surface that could potentially brown.

6. Remove and drain excess juice:
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully lift the apple slices out of the lemon juice and allow any excess juice to drain back into the bowl.

7. Serve or store:
At this point, the apples can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container, such as a zip-top bag or a covered bowl. If storing, make sure to remove as much excess air as possible to prevent further browning. Properly stored, the lemon juice can help keep the apples from browning for several hours. By following these steps, the natural acids found in lemon juice will help prevent apples from browning due to enzymatic reactions. This is because the acid in the lemon juice interferes with the enzyme responsible for the browning process, slowing it down and preserving the apple’s fresh appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What chemical process in lemon juice prevents apples from browning?

The chemical process in lemon juice that prevents apples from browning is called enzymatic browning inhibition. The high concentration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in lemon juice inhibits the activity of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, which is responsible for the browning reaction.

How does the acidity of lemon juice affect the browning of apples?

The acidity of lemon juice inhibits the enzymatic browning reaction in apples. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which lowers the pH and creates an unfavorable environment for the enzyme responsible for browning. It works as an antioxidant, preventing the oxidation of phenolic compounds and thus preserving the apple’s natural color.

What role do antioxidants in lemon juice play in preventing the browning of apples?

Antioxidants in lemon juice, such as vitamin C, help prevent the browning of apples by inhibiting the oxidation process. They neutralize free radicals, which slows down the enzymatic browning reaction in apples, resulting in a delay of the browning process and maintaining their visual appeal.

Can other citrus fruits be used as effectively as lemon juice to stop apples from browning?

Other citrus fruits, such as lime or orange juice, can be used as effectively as lemon juice to prevent apples from browning. Their high acidic content inhibits the enzyme responsible for browning reactions.


In conclusion, lemon juice prevents the browning of apples due to its high concentration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and citric acid. These acids work by slowing down the oxidation process, which is responsible for the browning. Lemon juice’s acidic nature creates a protective barrier and preserves the apple’s natural color.