Antioxidants are chemical compounds that slow down or stop oxidation. Let's try an experiment to see how antioxidants do their job.
- 1 - banana, 1 - apple
- Lemon juice
- Corn syrup
- 2 small plates
Step 1: Label 4 tags on each plate: plain, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon.
Step 2: Cut 8 slices of banana and 8 apple slices.
Step 3: Place 8 apple slices and 8 banana slices on the plate with 2 pieces next to each label.
Step 4: Sprinkle sugar on the apples and bananas next to the label "sugar".
Step 5: Squirt lemon juice on the apples and bananas next to the label "sugar".
Step 6: Pour corn syrup on the apples and bananas next to the label "corn syrup".
Step 7: Leave the apple and banana slices alone next to the label "plain".
Step 8: Wait about 2-4 hours and observe the apples and banana slices on each plate.
What happened to the color of the apples on each plate?
When apples and bananas brown, they are actually oxidizing. In this experiment the lemon juice typically keeps both the apples and bananas freshest. Corn syrup also keeps the level of oxidation low. Adding sugar limits oxidation over no additive, but performs worse than corn syrup and natural lemon juice. In practical application, fruit companies have found the same conclusions. Canned fruit comes in two varieties including fruit in heavy or light syrup (corn syrup) and natural fruit. As the oxidation experiment proved, both canning options are adequate. The natural fruit juice option may perform a little better and is certainly a healthier alternative.
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