Cheat Code: Saving Avocados
We’ve touched upon the somewhat unstable nature of avocados in the past on this blog. Once you cut into an avocado you have a limited amount of time to use it before it turns brown and unusable. This happens because of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase in the flesh of the avocado. When it’s exposed to oxygen polyphenol oxidase changes the chemical structure of the avocado’s flesh and increases the amount of melanins. So the same pigments that cause you to get a tan in the summer also cause your guacamole to go kaput. While it’s easy to finish up guacamole before it goes bad (because, you know, it’s so delicious), there are times when you want just some avocado, but don’t want the rest to go to waste. I usually encounter this problem when I want to put some avocado on a sandwich since I don’t make sandwiches large enough to use an entire avocado on. So I’m left with half of an avocado that’s now a ticking time bomb. Avocados are kind of expensive, so you should try your best to make sure you use that other half and don’t just end up throwing it out. How does one do this?
You could buy one of those “avocado saver” things I’ve seen various places.
I have no idea if things like this actually work though. A quick scan of reviews on Amazon.com gives a pretty mixed bag of results.
The method that I use requires no special equipment. You probably won’t even need to buy anything new since it uses all things you probably already have in your pantry anyway. Here’s what you’ll need: lemon juice, plastic wrap, Ziploc bag.
Now you need to make sure to save the half of the avocado that still has the pit in it. The less of the avocado exposed to air the better.
Now I spread some lemon juice (you could also use lime) over the surface of the avocado that’s exposed because citric acid helps slow the browning process. If you don’t have any citrus juice on hand, or don’t want to worry about lemon flavor on your avocado you can skip this step. I’ve never had the flavor be a problem though.
Next tightly wrap your avocado in plastic wrap making sure it’s covering the flesh. You want to try to let as little air touch the avocado as possible, since it’s the exposure to oxygen that causes the browning.
Then place your wrapped avocado in a Ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible. You have now extended the life of your avocado.
As far as I’ve found this method works pretty well. It doesn’t give you a ton of time, but it usually holds up at least a day or two, giving you a chance to find something else to use that half an avocado for. You’ll probably still end up with a couple of small brown spots, but nothing to render the avocado unusable.
Just in case this post got you craving avocados, here are some of our avocado recipes: