Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of tips for how to keep a cut avocado or guacamole from turning brown. Leaving the pit in, pressing plastic wrap onto the surface, and using citrus juice are the main options, but a little time spent googling the topic led me to an old Epicurious blog post promoting the use of nonstick vegetable oil spray, plus several blogs and articles pointing to a guacamole-preserving technique from The Kitchn.
With the Super Bowl just around the corner, it’s a good time to test out the various ways to prevent avocado and guacamole browning. Avocado is obviously popular year round, but according to the Hass Avocado Board, the Super Bowl is this fruit’s moment to shine. They’re predicting that more than 104.2 million pounds of avocado will be consumed for the big game, which is enough to fill a football field, end zone to end zone, 40.2 feet high.
I halved five avocados to test out different methods, including a control (that is, just a plain avocado) and then used two additional avocados to test out the guacamole idea from The Kitchn. After four hours in the fridge, there was no browning at all, which means that you can safely cut an avocado at least four hours ahead and store it in the fridge. It would have been great to track the avocados, hour by hour, but I had the latest polar vortex to contend with so that meant leaving the avocados to sit in the fridge at work until morning. The good news is that I could still easily identify the winners from the losers.
Read on for the results.
Avocado 1: The Control AKA Plain Avocado with Pit
The control was a plain, halved avocado with the pit left in one half. While the flesh under the pit was still a lovely shade of green, the rest of the avocado’s surface was icky brown. The silver lining was that the brown could be easily scraped off, leaving almost a whole green avocado. This confirms the fact that the pit helps keep the avocado from browning, but only the part that it directly touches, which doesn’t really amount to much. So, if you’re cutting an avocado in half but not using it right away, I’d leave the pit in to keep that part green, but then again, why not just wait to cut the avocado?
See more: 15 Surprising Foods to Keep in Your Freezer
Avocado 2: Plain Avocado with Pit and Plastic Wrap
I was careful to press the plastic wrap directly on the surface of this avocado. As with the control, the flesh under the pit was in perfect condition. The rest was less than perfect but really only a little better than the non-wrapped-in-plastic version. And since you still have to scrape off the brown part, it doesn’t seem like plastic is really worth the trouble.
Avocado 3: Avocado with Pit and Lemon Juice
I spread a little lemon juice on the entire exposed surface of this avocado, but it didn’t seem to help; this avocado was at least as brown as the previous two.
Avocado 4: Avocado with Pit, Lemon Juice, and Plastic Wrap
Combining lemon juice and plastic wrap was by far the winning solution. In fact, this avocado looked almost freshly cut. These results, as well as my own anecdotal experience, lead me to believe that guacamole, made with lemon or lime juice and with plastic wrap pressed directly onto its surface, will keep, chilled in the fridge, for at least a couple hours.
See more: 5 Rules For Healthy Comfort Food
Avocado 5: Avocado with Pit and Nonstick Vegetable Oil Spray
Serena Bass reported great results from spraying her halved avocado with nonstick vegetable oil spray; her fruit stayed green for three whole days in the fridge. Mine did not. It was just as brown as the others, and left with an icky oily film on the surface. Plus, I had trouble wiping or scraping off the unappealing film.
The Guacamole Test: Guacamole Topped with Water
This idea came from The Kitchn and is a little bit of kitchen genius. Here’s how it works: Start by putting your freshly made guacamole in a container with a tight-fitting lid then push the guacamole down into the container to get rid of any air pockets. Next, pour 1/2 inch of lukewarm water on top, seal the container, and pop it in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat the guacamole, pour out the water and stir the guacamole to incorporate any surface moisture. That’s it. My guacamole was still bright and green after a full 24 hours, but the Kitchn reports this method keeps your guac good to go for three days.
See more from Epicurious:
Foods That Are Keeping You Up at Night
Quick and Easy Dinners
5 Foods That WON’T Kill You