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Video:How to Keep Avocados From Turning Brown

with Brent Rose

Avocados can turn brown very quickly once they've been used. There are a number of common tips for preventing this, but some work better than others. Check out this experiment to see which tips for keeping your avocados from turning brown work best.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Keep Avocados From Turning Brown

Hi, I'm Brent Rose for About.com, and I love avocados. I'm guessing you do too, or you probably wouldn't have clicked this video.

Avocados Turn Brown Quickly

One of people's biggest pet peeves about avocados is that the unused half of one, or an uneaten portion of guacamole will turn brown rather quickly. Now, this is just normal oxidation, and they're usually still perfectly edible, but they might not be something you would want to serve to company. So, I'm here to demonstrate and test a few simple tricks to keep avocados from browning.

Leave the Pit in Your Unused Avocado

Using a sharp knife, slice your avocado in half, lengthwise, circling the entire pit. Then, gently twist it apart. If you're only going to use one half, use the half without the pit. Virtually all experts agree: keeping the pit with the avocado you are trying to preserve is one of the best tricks. This works for guacamole, too -- simply leave the pit in it. Since oxidation is caused by exposure to air, the less air that comes into contact with the avocado, the better. Plastic containers work fairly well, and they're reusable, but you may have better results with an air-tight, non-gas permeable baggie. Some plastic wraps will work, but many are polyethylene-based, which will allow air in, and therefore are no good.

Methods to Keep Your Avocado From Turning Brown:

  • Method #1: The Sealable Baggie. Put the half with the pit in the bag, then squeeze or suck out as much air as possible, seal it, and put it in the fridge. Keeping the air out and leaving the pit in are general rules you should follow for all of these techniques.
  • Method #2: Olive Oil. Before putting the avocado in a container, brush the exposed surface with some olive oil. In theory, this creates a thin barrier between the fruit and the air. Some people use this trick with guacamole, but I wouldn't recommend it since it will add a lot of extra oil. Seal the avocado, and refrigerate.
  • Method #3: Lemon Juice (Or Lime Juice). Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice onto the flesh of the avocado and rub it in a little before sealing and refrigerating it. Lemon juice is known to inhibit oxidation, but it will add a bit of lemony flavor to your avocado. Depending on what you plan on doing with it, that may be just fine. The same goes for guac.
  • Method #4: Onion. This is a cool one. Chop some onion into fairly big chunks and put them in a plastic container. Then simply place the avocado on top (face up), seal it, and pop it in the fridge. For guac, just gently place the large chunks on top, so you can pick then out later. Seal and refrigerate.
  • Method #5: Water. Some people will tell you to put your avocado in water, or water with lemon juice in it. In my experience, this makes for slimy, watery avocados, and so I recommend against it.
  • Method #6: The Control. Finally, every test needs a control, so I've put one half of an avocado in the fridge without any protection at all.

The Results

Alright, it's been 72 hours since I put the avocados in the fridge. Let's see which fared the best, in order from most brown, to least brown. Here's the control, the avocado that didn't have any protection in the fridge. It's the most brown and it's also dry and tough. The control is followed closely by the avocado that was left in the water. Not only is it very brown, it's also mushy, slimy, and gross. Next up is olive oil, which didn't do too badly at all. It was followed closely by the plastic baggie, which was less brown, but it did have sort of a slimy texture to it. It was tough to pick a winner between the lemon juice which had very little browning at all, and the onion technique, which not only had very little browning, but also didn't really have any effect on the flavor, because the onion only touched the skin and not the fruit inside.

Final Comparison of Avocados

Here you can see the results of these techniques all lined up next to each other. They're placed in order of my favorite at top left, to least favorite and bottom right. It should be noted that no two avocados are exactly the same, so your results may vary. Also, if your avocado has some browning, you can always just use a spoon to scrape off the brown stuff and eat the fruit underneath it. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.
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