By Bojana Galic for Livestrong.com
Nothing is quite as tragic as finding that your precious, vibrant green avocado has browned overnight — your breakfast plans have been foiled.
However, rest assured that you can prevent your avo from turning into brown mush whether it’s whole or already sliced. Find out how to keep avocado fresh and green with these simple yet effective hacks.
1. Add an Acidic Ingredient
Sprinkling an acidic ingredient onto your avocado is a surefire way to keep the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) from turning brown, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
Avocados turn brown because of a process called oxidation, which is when the inside of the fruit is exposed to air, Taub-Dix tells us. Sprinkling your cut avo with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar creates an extra barrier between the air and avocado flesh. Citrus fruits are full of ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C), which halts the oxidation process.
You can even save the gorgeous green color of your guacamole by squeezing some extra lime juice on top and sealing it in an airtight container, Taub-Dix says.
2. Keep the Pit in the Fruit
Keeping the pit in your avocado as long as possible can also help keep the fruit fresh after it’s been cut, Taub-Dix says. Like the lemon juice or vinegar you squeeze onto the fruit flesh, keeping the pit in creates an additional barrier between the avocado and oxygen.
Plus, you can sprinkle your acidic ingredient on top of the pit half of the avocado to maximize results.
3. Store Cut Avocado in Clean Water
No lemons on hand? Storing the cut fruit in clean water is another way to prevent your precious green avocado from browning, according to the California Avocado Commission.
Like acidic ingredients, water also acts as a barrier to prevent the avocado from oxidizing. And don’t fret — the avocado won’t absorb any of the water, so you’ll still be able to spread it on your toast or smash it up into a delicious bowl of guacamole.
4. Keep Ripe Avocados in the Fridge
Unless you’re whipping up an avo toast right after your grocery store trip, you’ll want to place any ripe avocados in the fridge to keep them as fresh as possible, Taub-Dix suggests.
Depending on the ripeness of the fruit, the avocado can stay fresh in the fridge for anywhere between three and five days.
However, if you’ve cut your ripe avocado in half, you’ll want to add an acid like lemon or lime juice or vinegar and seal it properly (more on that below) to prevent browning and keep the fruit as fresh as possible, Taub-Dix says.
5. Store Face-Down and Sealed
Storing your avocado in the fridge with the cut side facing down will also help keep the air from entering the flesh of the fruit, per the California Avocado Commission.
Sealing the fruit away from oxygen is a crucial element in preventing oxidation, according to Taub-Dix. While an airtight container will certainly do the trick, you can also place the two halves back together and wrap them in plastic wrap if you’ve prematurely sliced your avocado.
If your avocado or guac does brown a little bit, scraping off the top should reveal fresh green flesh and won’t change the taste of the fruit.
Or, consider testing an avocado hugger. Whether or not these are effective is still up for debate — Taub-Dix hasn’t tried one herself.