Guacamole Experiment

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Fresh and green and ready to take on the world, guacamole charges out of the kitchen, in a bowl, like a champion. Then, something happens. Something sad, something grayish brown and icky, creeps over the top, and you wonder if your guacamole is turning on you in the worst way. Scientifically speaking, the air does a number on some stuff called polyphenol oxidase, which is found naturally inside avocados. A chain reaction sparked by the Universe (which is now unbalanced because of the presence of guacamole exposed to air), unleashes a multiverse residue that Dr. Strange was using as a carpet of sorts before he opened yet another door and confused everyone in movie theaters everywhere.

You could reset the balance by dousing the whole thing in loads of lemon juice or lime juice (trust me, I’ve doused with the best of them), but it really doesn’t help, overnight, in the fridge. Desperate for some answers, I typed the following highly sophisticated search into Google on my phone: How do you keep guacamole from turning brown? Then, I clicked on the first link that came up, which belonged to Taste of Home. I’ve used recipes from Taste of Home before, and they’ve turned out pretty good, so I was just sure that the method described online would point me towards everlasting guacamole glory. This method probably does work for most people, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I’m not most people.

Basically, you’re supposed to make your guacamole. (I pounded three avocados with a fork and a spoon. Then, I added “a bunch” of lemon juice, and some sea salt. The results were incredibly fresh and tasty—especially with Juanita’s chips.) Then, you’re supposed to spoon it into an airtight container with a rubber-sealed lid, so I got out the Rubbermaid, ready for battle. Next, you’re supposed to pour cool/room-temperature water, up to an inch, over the top of the guacamole, seal with the lid, and place it in the refrigerator with confidence.

The next day, when I opened the refrigerator, I thought a tiny exorcism, limited to my guacamole container, had taken place. Sludgy swamp water covered the guacamole inside the container. (No, I don’t have a picture. I refused to take one.) But, I continued to follow the Taste of Home directions anyway, thinking, “maybe this is supposed to happen—like a purge of sorts.”

The instructions stated that I should pour the water off the top, which lifted some of the gunk with it, but not all of it. A good, hefty layer still remained, so I used a spoon to lightly skim a bit more off the top. (Fun tip: If you’ve made your guacamole 1 or 2 days ahead and sealed it, the brown stuff does not mean that the guacamole is rotten. It just means it has changed color. You could still eat it, but you might want to close your eyes.)

Then, I followed the last part of the instructions—probably the most important part: STIR!!! Yes, brown stuff still covered the top, but I stirred anyway, and something magical happened. That guacamole perked right back up—fresh and green and ready to take on the world again. Nate, Alex, and I even ate it without any negative side effects that we know of.

So, to sum up:

Guacamole is feistier and sturdier than I ever thought.

When in doubt, stir.

When unlocking the multiverse, special consequences exist for guacamole.

In Other News: Alex has some really cool photos published in a lovely literary magazine called Morning Fruit! You can click this link to find three photos, if you scroll towards the bottom: “Blood Orange,” “Sea Urchin,” and “Seaweed.”

Your Turn: Do you have any tricks for keeping foods looking fresh?

25 thoughts on “Guacamole Experiment

    1. Yes, vacuum packing is probably the best method. We had a guacamole recipe contest at work recently, and those who kept their containers tightly covered, maintained a green color for their guac.

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  1. Yum! Love me some guac. Good tips for keeping it green and fresh. My grandmother taught me to make it and leave the pit in the dip, which supposedly keeps it from browning. I don’t know scientifically if it’s true, but I always leave a pit in my guacamole and it has never turned brown. Also, adding some lemon helps keep it nice and green, as well – something about the acid neutralizing it or some such science-based concept. Whatever! It works for me. Great post as always, though I did so want to see the green swamp muck. 🙂

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    1. I have heard of leaving the pit in the guacamole to keep it green–not sure if it works. Vacuum sealing does seem to work. Despite my heavy dousing of lemon juice, it still turned brown. I think the key is to just not let any air in. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. You could place the guacamole in a sturdy, widemouth glass bottle and then pump in nitrogen. It’s the same system you use for parging. (I mean the kind of parging they do in wine bars, not the kind where you plaster an old brick wall with concrete, although maybe that would work, too, dunno.) The only drawback really is that if you get a couple of breaths of pure nitrogen, you’ll probably pass out, could be fatal, so before opening the bottle, probably best to spread out a carpet of overripe avocados around you to break your fall. You know, on second thought, I’d go with the sludgy swamp water, maybe that could be used as a skin tonic or something?

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    1. But, in the case of passing out, perhaps you could revive the person by waving guacamole under the nostrils? The sludgy swamp water did not work as well as I hoped, but vacuum packing does, I believe. Cheers!

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  3. The best trick to keep food looking fresh: eat it all as soon as you can! 😀

    As for avocados, it’s soo funny to me when people use it for salt foods, as here in Brazil we mostly make smoothies for breakfast or smash it, add some sugar (powdered milk optional) and eat it as a sweet snack! 🙂

    Also, Alex’s pictures look great, well done for him!

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