Thursday, July 23, 2015

Homemade Fruit Cups with Apples

This is one of those *lightbulb moments* for me.

Homemade fruit cups.



It came to me for a few different reasons...

  • I love the simplicity of store-bought fruit cups BUT I hate that they aren't fresh, are overly processed AND are overpriced (especially for organic!) plus don't really have much fruit in them.

  • I want my kids to eat healthy. I rarely buy packaged snacks for them. But growing kids are always hungry...so I needed healthy options!

  • I buy my kids fresh fruit every week...but it's always going to waste. I get busy running around during the day and oftentimes the mere idea of stopping what I'm doing to wash the fruits and cut them up is just too much. And so it wastes away and I end up tossing it. I hate wasting money, yo!

  • "Packaged" foods are fun to kids. Something about having their very own container or bag to open and have all to themselves with ready-to-eat goodness is so. freaking. awesome. At least to my kids. Plus, they are easy to take when you're on-the-go.

So when the idea dawned on me to make my own fruit cups with larger portions, I was stoked! My boys especially love apples...but those are the ones that are the biggest pain the you-know-what. You have to wash them. Then cut them up. Remove the seeds. Some kids even want the skin cut off...but I ain't got time for that! hahaha My kids eat the skin, thank God! I needed for them to be able to just grab a package of apples out of the fridge at any given time.

But apples turn brown.

Nobody wants brown nasty apples.

Not even a 3 year old.

HOW CAN I FRUIT CUP THE APPLES?!!

So I researched it. And by research, I just typed in "how to store cut up apples for a week in the fridge without them turning brown" and a million different sites popped up.

They all pretty much said the same thing: citric acid. Dip the apple slices in something containing large amounts of citric acid (I'll tell ya what I used in a bit...) and pop them into your container, seal 'em up and they'll stay good for 5 days...maybe a week!

Citric acid will give me awesome not-brown apples? Sa-weet!!

So that brings us to storage containers...

A lot of YouTubers that I watch recommend the ones that they sell at the Dollar Tree. I hated the idea of using plastic...but the small glass containers are so darned expensive!! So for now I'm going with plastic. But not from the Dollar Tree. I went onto Amazon and ordered TONS of deli-style (or Chinese take-out style) clear BPA-free containers. They are dishwasher safe, freezer-safe and microwave-safe (we don't have a microwave, but it's nice to know that they are flexible like that). I got 2 different sizes, the one-cup and the two-cup sizes. I got about 35 bowls/containers of each size (with lids) for around $15. And since I'm a Prime member, I got free shipping.

Today I went to the Farmers Market to stock up on fruit for the week. I don't remember the last time that I was so freakin' excited to go grocery shopping! hahaha

For the fruit cups, I bought organic seedless grapes, organic strawberries and organic apples.

I decided to use pineapple juice to dip the apples in for the citric acid.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find organic pineapple juice at my FM or grocery store. So I just bought a bottle of Libby's. I'll order organic from Amazon when this is empty.

Now, the next part was a bit time-consuming. But it will save me time throughout the week, I'm sure!

We washed all the fruit with vinegar and water and a little scrub brush.

Then we cut up the apples and put them in a bowl of pineapple juice. We let them soak for a few minutes, then took them out of the juice and put each apple into a separate 2-cup container and sealed them up. (I opened each container a teeny bit and "burped" them, getting the extra air out)



I also put a couple handfuls of strawberries into their own individual 2-cup containers. I left the leaves on them because I wasn't sure if the citric acid trick would work on cut up strawberries. My kids just eat the strawberry up to the leaves and then toss the leaves. Except Levi. He usually eats the leaves too.

And I filled 1-cup containers with grapes, de-stemmed.



Then I stacked them all neatly in my fridge, ready for little hands to grab them out and chow down whenever they're hungry!



I am also planning on filling some 1-cup containers up with some organic carrot slices that I bought. You know what those are...(I'm tired, so if I'm making no sense, I apologize!)...just raw carrots that they already cut into crinkled slices and sell in bags? Yeah, those. My little boys don't like carrot sticks because sometimes they are really fat and hurt their teeth. I'm going to put those carrot "chips" into 1-cup containers. And do that with bell peppers, too. Maybe celery stalks, cut up into small sticks. And then make some homemade hummus to dip them in.

And that's my idea for homemade fruit (and veggie!) cups!

PS...It's been about 6 hours and the apples are still bright white in their containers in the fridge. No browning at all!

PPS...It's been 2 days. The apples are browning a little bit. But still really crispy and the kids said that they are delicious!

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