Avocados are nature’s creamy green gems, packed with essential nutrients and a luscious, buttery flavour that makes them a favourite addition to salads, sandwiches, and guacamole.
However, avocados have a reputation for turning brown quickly once cut open, which can be disappointing and unappetizing. But fear not! With a few simple tips and tricks, you can extend the life of your avocados and keep them looking vibrant and fresh for longer.
Here are the best ways to keep an avocado from turning brown:
Add lemon juice:
One of the most effective ways to prevent avocado browning is to use lemon or lime juice. These citrus juices contain ascorbic acid, which inhibits the enzyme responsible for the browning process. After slicing the avocado, gently brush or drizzle some lemon or lime juice over the exposed flesh. Alternatively, you can place the avocado slices in a bowl and add a few drops of juice before covering it tightly with plastic wrap. The slight tang from the citrus juice also adds a zesty flavour to the avocado, enhancing its taste.
The onion method:
If you have half an avocado left, store it in an airtight container with a slice of onion. The sulfur compounds in the onion act as a natural preservative, slowing down the oxidation process and keeping the avocado fresh. Make sure the onion slice is placed directly on the avocado’s cut surface before sealing the container. Although the onion may transfer a mild oniony taste, it can easily be rinsed off before consumption.
Wrap it in plastic:
When storing a cut avocado, ensure that the plastic wrap touches the entire exposed surface. This method helps minimize the avocado’s contact with air, reducing the oxidation process. If you prefer a more environmentally friendly option, consider using beeswax wraps, which can be molded to fit the avocado’s shape snugly.
Submerge in water:
Another ingenious way to preserve an avocado is by submerging it in water. This method creates a barrier between the avocado and oxygen, effectively preventing browning. Place the cut avocado in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag, and cover it with enough water to completely submerge it. Seal the container tightly and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Be sure to dry the avocado slices before serving to avoid diluting their flavour.
Coating the cut surface of the avocado with a thin layer of oil can also prevent browning. Olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil work well for this purpose. The oil creates a barrier that slows down the oxidation process, helping the avocado retain its vibrant green colour. However, keep in mind that this method may alter the avocado’s taste slightly, so choose an oil with a mild flavour.
Is it safe to eat an avocado after it’s gone brown?
Enzymatic browning is a process that negatively impacts the quality of avocados by reducing their nutritional value and taste. This issue is a significant cause of financial losses for both food producers and the food-processing industry. Fortunately, even though avocados turn brown, they are still safe to eat. You can simply remove the browned part, and the rest of the avocado should be fine to enjoy. However, be cautious if the avocado emits an unusual smell. This could be a sign of microbial deterioration, in which case it’s best to discard the avocado to avoid any potential health risks.
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Written by Maegan-Leigh Jacobs