If the millennial generation had an official food, it would surely be the avocado. In fact, according to a report by Statista, per capita annual consumption of avocados has increased from a meager two pounds in 2001 to almost eight pounds in 2018, and the trend keeps growing (with the only exception being a slight dip during the height of the pandemic).
It only makes sense, then, that internet searches about avocados have also exploded over the past decade. And one of the most Googled questions about the fruit is how to keep avocados fresh.
The answer is fairly easy so long as we’re discussing whole avocados that have not yet been cut. However, once an avocado is cut and the flesh is exposed, the question of how to keep the avocado fresh becomes far more complicated. That’s because once exposed to air, avocados brown quickly. We’ve collected all the tips and tools you need to keep your avocados green, but first, we want to remind you how to keep uncut ‘cados fresh and ripe.
- If the avocados are not ripe, plop them on the counter and allow them to breathe and ripen.
- Once they are ripe, put them in the refrigerator to extend their life.
- Or, if you have unripe avocados that you need to ripen quickly, place them in a paper bag with apples or bananas. All of these fruits emit ethylene, which accelerates ripening. (You can also invest in an Avocado Sock.)
Why Do Avocados Go Brown?
So why do avocados go brown? We must first understand the answer to this question before we can determine the best solutions.
Avocados contain an enzyme known as polyphenol oxidase. This enzyme reacts to oxygen in a process called oxidation, which causes the flesh of the avocado to turn from green to brown. Therefore, the flesh of an avocado needs to be protected from oxygen exposure to protect it.
Keep reading to find out more about the best hacks for preventing oxidation and keeping an avocado as fresh as the day you cut into it.
1. Rub with Lemon Juice
The most talked-about hack for keeping avocados fresh is the use of lemon juice. And, it’s at the top of our list, because it works pretty well in a pinch. All you have to do is rub the cut (green) side of the avocado with lemon juice and then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. This should prevent the avocado from going brown for one or two days thanks to the fact that the lemon’s ascorbic acid blocks polyphenol oxidase, the enzyme responsible for turning avocados brown.
2. Spray with Cooking Spray or Olive Oil
Because olive oil also contains acid, it should prevent oxidation in the same way lemon juice does. However, from our own personal experience, olive oil doesn’t seem to work as well as lemon juice. Therefore, we only recommend using oil if you don’t have any lemon juice on hand. The process is the same; simply rub or spray the oil on the cut side of the avocado, and then wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
3. Wrap with Plastic Wrap
In the event that you don’t have either lemon juice or olive oil on hand, you can completely skip those steps and go straight to wrapping the avocado in plastic wrap. Just try to get it as close to the fruit as possible with little to no air pockets. That’s because you’re essentially trying to block out oxygen (which causes oxidation) from coming in contact with the green part of the fruit. The disadvantage to this method is that you’ll end up with some very brown pieces of avocado where the plastic wrap wasn’t sealed enough.
4. Use an Avocado Keeper
Just like everything else in your refrigerator, you can buy a container designed specifically for keeping cut avocados. The advantage to these types of containers is that they are able to create a fairly solid seal between the plastic and the avocado, but you’ll always need to store the half of the avocado containing the pit in the Evriholder Avo Saver. This container features a built-in dip to accommodate the pit. This is actually beneficial as leaving the pit in the avocado will prevent oxygen from reaching the fruit underneath and turning it brown.
5. Store with a Cut Onion
Onions emit small amounts of sulfur after they’re cut open, and sulfur dioxide is often used to preserve fruit. Because sulfur can block oxidation, it makes sense that placing half an avocado in an airtight food storage container with a slice or half an onion will keep the avocado from going brown. This method works the best of all the methods on our list, keeping the avocado almost perfectly green, but it does leave a slightly onion-y flavor on the avocado afterward.
BEST FOR SMOOTHIES
If you intend to use your avocado in a smoothie or somewhere its original, creamy consistency isn’t necessary, it’s actually possible to freeze the fruit in order to prevent browning. Simply cube your avocado and lay it out on parchment paper. Let it freeze and then place it in a reusable baggie, like one of these from Leirs Store. When you’re ready to use the avocado, the cubes can go directly into your blender or can be thawed and used in baked goods or cream sauces.
7. Submerge in Water
Arguably the experts on the matter, Avocados from Mexico suggest that placing the flesh side of an avocado in water is the best way to prevent browning. To do so, you’ll need to place some water in a food storage container like these from Rubbermaid and then place the water, the avocado and the container in the fridge. This method is certainly the best method for preventing air from coming into contact with the fruit and causing oxidation. However, it does slowly break down the flesh of the avocado, leaving it slightly less creamy than a fresh fruit.
8. Make Guacamole & Forget Your Worries
Of course, the best way to prevent an avocado from going brown is to just eat it. And, making guacamole is, in our opinion, one of the best ways to do so. But, if you have too many avocados and too much guacamole, you might want to save your dip for later, too. To prevent it from going brown like your avocados, invest in an airtight guacamole saver, like the Casabella Guac-Lock. You might also want to add a layer of plastic wrap directly on the guacamole inside the container to add an extra bit of protection.
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