You made your famous guacamole for a party, and as you take the lid off the bowl, culinary tragedy strikes: The top of the dip has turned an unsightly shade of brown. While brown avocado is safe to eat, and the flavor is not compromised, its unpleasant color can be a major deterrent. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent an avocado from quickly losing its vibrant green color.
Why Do Avocados Brown?
When an avocado is exposed to oxygen, the enzyme polyphenol oxidase is activated, which causes the fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) to change from green to brown. By preventing oxygen from reaching an avocado, you can delay this process.
How to Prevent an Avocado From Going Brown
There are several ways to extend the life of an avocado once you've cut into it.
The first trick for keeping an avocado fresh is coating any exposed green portion with lemon or lime juice. The acid in citrus juice hinders the activation of the enzymes that cause browning. While an avocado will normally brown after the four-hour mark, citrus juice keeps the fruit looking greener for up to three days.
The easiest way to prevent an exposed avocado from browning is to seal it tightly with plastic wrap. It doesn’t hurt to squirt some citrus juice on it before you do so. You can also buy an avocado holder to preserve an unused half.
Coating an avocado in olive oil helps create a barrier between the fruit and the air, preventing oxygen from reaching it. The flavor profile of olive oil works well with avocado, so when you’re ready to use it, it will have a richer taste.
Store an exposed avocado in the same container as sliced onions, which contain sulfur that inhibits the browning enzymes from activating. Just make sure to keep the exposed part of the avocado from coming into contact with the onion to avoid affecting the fruit’s flavor.
You can blanch an avocado to help it stay green. Fully submerge an avocado in a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Immediately put it into an ice bath for five minutes before drying and cutting.
Does the Pit Help?
Some people think keeping the pit inside a halved avocado helps extend its life. Some even place the pit in a bowl of guacamole, hoping it will slow the oxidation process. Unfortunately, this is a myth. Since browning is due to oxygen exposure, the pit only protects the area of the avocado located directly underneath it. The remaining green will turn brown at the same rate whether you leave the pit or not.
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