It’s a question as old as time itself: do avocado pits keep guacamole fresh? Guacamole is one of the most popular party dishes out there, but the delicious dip, often complete with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime, and spices has one downfall: after a few hours, the bright green dish starts to turn brown.
Many people’s answer to keeping guacamole looking fresh is to recommend putting the pits from the avocados you use to make guacamole in the dip, too. However, the myth that avocado pits keep guacamole fresh is false.
We know, we know, we’re heartbroken too. Let’s discuss why this method isn’t so effective and what we can do to keep our guacamole fresh, vibrant, and green.
Why Do Avocados Turn Brown?
Avocados aren’t the only fruit that brown rapidly. Fruits like bananas and apples are similar to avocados in that the insides turn brown relatively quickly after being cut open. What causes this? All of these fruits share an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, or PPO for short. When you cut open these fruits, you also cut open their cells, allowing the PPOs to react with oxygen in the air. This chemical reaction reshapes the phenolic compounds in the fruits’ tissues in a polymer (a repeating chain of molecules) that have a brownish pigment. Basically, the interaction of the fruit’s flesh with oxygen in the air causes it to turn brown.
Do Avocado Pits Keep Guacamole Fresh?
While we might think avocado pits keep guacamole fresh by giving off some compound that combats the PPOs and oxygen turning the fruit brown, that isn’t the case. However, avocado pits do keep the parts of the guacamole that they are immediately touching fresh; if you do put avocado pits in your guacamole, the guacamole covered by that pit will stay green. This phenomenon occurs because the guacamole covered by the pit isn’t coming into contact with the oxygen in the air. Putting golf balls in your guacamole would be just as effective as putting pits in there to keep it from turning brown.
The Most Effective Way To Keep Guacamole Fresh
Simply stated, the most effective way to keep guacamole fresh is to cover it. When we keep oxygen from coming into contact with our guac, we prevent it from turning a sad, icky brown color. The best way to eat fresh guacamole, however, is to serve it right after you make it! If you make the dish in advance, we recommend covering the dip with plastic wrap secured snugly over the surface to limit oxygen exposure. Read more about how to stop guacamole from browning here.
Pro-Tip For Keeping Guacamole Fresh
An additional bonus tip for keeping your guacamole fresh is lemon or lime juice! While most guacamole recipes call for lemon or lime juice, sprinkle additional citrus over the top of the dip before storing it to prevent it from browning. The citrus has high acidity, natural antioxidants, and high vitamin C content that combats the PPO enzyme and delays the browning process.