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My kids love eating apples, but they really don’t love it when they turn brown. We decided to try a little apple science experiment so they could learn what keeps apples from browning. (See 200+ more STEM projects for kids)
We first talked about why apple brown and discussed the comparison with rusting (oxidation). It is a chemical reaction with the oxygen and an enzyme in the apples. This helped the kids understand why it happened.
How to Do the Apple Experiment:
I already knew the answer to this apple science experiment, but I didn’t want to let my kids know about it. I let them choose various substances from the kitchen to soak the apples in. I did make a suggestion of lemon juice, but let them choose the other things.
The kids chose vinegar, milk and baking soda. Just to give them a comparison, I left one with nothing on it (the control). We sliced the apples and put the slices into each substance to soak. We left them soaking for about an hour.
They were excited to see which one worked and which ones didn’t. Their guesses were not correct…
How to Keep Apples from Turning Brown
I then explained to them that lemon juice helps keep the apple from browning, because it is full of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and it has a low pH level. Ascorbic acid works because oxygen will react with it before it will react with the enzymes in the apple. Once the ascorbic acid gets used up, the oxygen will start reacting with the enzymes in the apple and browning will occur.
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Want more simple science experiments? Check out this big list of Simple Science Experiments for Kids!
Also, a little more on Oxidation with this Rust Experiment!
A Few More Apple Learning Ideas:
A magnetic science activity to go along with the book 10 Apples Up on Top
All About Apples- Great list of apple learning and play ideas!
Extend the Learning with Some Apple Books:
How do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro
Apples by Gail Gibbons
The Season’s of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
Apples, Apples Everywhere by Robin Koontz
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace