One of my kids is a picky eater. I hate that about him. I really do. I find it to be a truly vile character trait.

Before kids (B.K.), I was the kind of gal who always said: “If I ever have a kid who won’t eat what I put in front of him, he can just go hungry, dammit!”

Yeah.

What an ass. {me, not the kid}

I also used to judge my friends with kids and think to myself, how can anyone let the inside of their car smell like that?! And, why don’t they just teach their kids to not wipe their boogers on the walls?

What a bitch. {me, not the friends}

So here I am, umpteen years later with three of my very own stinky, booger wiping, picky-eater kids. Serves me right, I say. I truly hope my older friends are enjoying the irony. They’re off playing golf and taking art classes now while their kids are in college, and I’m stuck at home with a 4 year old. And will be for the next, oh, about 14 years. Good times.

I bring this up because as the mother of a picky-eater, I have had some tough choices to make. This kid (Nature Boy, the 11 year old) does not eat most fruits. The ONLY fruit he will touch with a ten foot pole is a Granny Smith apple. Period. And it has to be fresh. No apple sauce, no apple pie, no apple leather.

Some mothers might tell their picky child to stick it. I would, truly I would, but you see, this same child had some pretty awful constipation issues when he was about 4 years old which led to some pretty awful bowel problems for a while there. So I would do anything to get this kid to eat fruit. And if that means preparing his ONE fruit the ONE way he’ll eat it, then by-golly I’ll do it and I’ll do it with a f#cking smile on my face.

And that’s what I’m here to tell you today, this Tuesday, for my weekly Just the Tip Tuesday feature. Today we are talking about apples.

I have a way of cutting an apple, just so, and naturally preserving it so it won’t turn brown and icky by the time my kids are ready for snack or lunch at school.

And no, it’s not lemon juice, although that works too. My tip is much cheaper.

The secret ingredient is salt. Kosher salt, to be exact.

But first, we have to wash the apple.

I am always surprised to learn that some people don’t wash their produce. Even if you buy organic stuff, don’t forget how many hands have probably touched that produce. Dirty hands. Hands with poop on them. Poop, I say.

Now listen, I’m not a germophobe in general. I don’t wear a travel-sized bottle of Purell around my neck or anything. But I am afraid of poop. Poop is gross. I don’t want poop on or near my food. I’m also afraid of pesticides. Ever since Mini-Me started developing breast buds at the tender age of 8, I’ve been extra freaky-deaky about the chemicals in our house.

So I wash my produce. And I don’t just wipe it on my sleeve or run it quickly under water. I actually wash it.

Here’s what I use:

Look at naughty Ike back there cruisin’ for some leftovers. “Oooh, she pulled out the camera. Now’s my chance!”

The Veggie Wash on the left is in a spray bottle. I use that for things like grapes, broccoli, kale, etc. The glass jar on the right is a cheese-shaker filled with baking soda. I sprinkle that on waxy fruit like apples and then rub it with a little water to remove the dirt, wax, and pesticides. Go ahead, call me names. I’m rubber, you’re glue…

Now it’s time to cut the apple.

Do you have certain things you do for your kids that they’ve grown accustomed to and expect? That’s how mine are with apples. They like their apples cut “Mommy’s way.” I have totally ruined them, I know. Here’s what Mommy’s Way looks like:

I make four cuts around the core, giving me four big pieces to work with:

Then I very methodically cut each of those four pieces into 1/4″ slices while muttering things like “I’m an excellent driver,” and “Three minutes ’till Wapner.”

Here’s what it looks like when I’m all done cutting…

I never actually line them up like this… I’m just trying to be fancy for the camera. And yes, I do have one of those stainless steel apple cutters. I hate it. It’s too hard to use and I’m always afraid I’m going to cut off a finger.

Next, I scoop them all up into a bowl and sprinkle a big ol’ pinch of kosher salt on them:

Then I fill the bowl with water and let them soak for a few minutes.

Lastly, I pull the apples out and set them on a clean towel to absorb the extra water.

And that’s it. The apples will taste a little salty, but in a good way. It’s actually a nice sweet/sour/salty combo. We like it!

The salt will naturally preserve the apple slices for the whole day. To be honest, I’ve eaten bags of apple slices found in the bottom of my purse two or three days later and they were totally fine.

One more thing… my friend Mama Cloud talked me into buying a bunch of these Snack Taxis last fall and I’m so glad she did. I love these things!

They come in the cutest patterns and two different sizes for sandwiches and snacks. I bought one big and one small for each person in the family and we all use them everyday! It’s nice to not send so many plastic baggies to the landfill. Group hug!

EPILOGUE:

While I was writing this, Bucket Head came running into my office to tell me that Ike stole his apple slices.

I went to investigate, and this is what I found:

…a wet Snack Taxi, filled with…

…partially masticated salt-preserved apple nibblets. Damn dog.

Well as you can see, it is never a dull moment around here… for me. But you deserve better. You really do. Hey, you know what, bonus points for reading this boring post all the way through. To reward you, I’ll going to send you over to my friend Mid 30’s Life. She wrote the funniest thing today about vaginas. Go read it and tell her The Bearded Iris sent’cha.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.