Recipe

The Very Best Way to Keep Guacamole Green

Storing guacamole, Avocados
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Guacamole is nothing short of divine. It’s tart, it’s fresh, it’s creamy, and it can take even the simplest of dishes to the next level. To put it frankly, guacamole is the green queen of Mexican cuisine. But speaking of green, there is one fault to this flavorful goddess. A couple hours in the fridge and suddenly your perfect guacamole has transformed into an unappetizing brown sludge. Granted, leftover guacamole is a rare occurrence in any kitchen. But on the off-chance that you haven’t scraped the bowl clean, it’s a shame to have to throw out the top inch of guacamole that has fallen prey to browning.

Why Doesn’t My Guacamole Stay Green?  

What is it about guacamole that causes it to brown after a certain period of time, anyway? Avocados contain enzymes called polyphenol oxidases, or PPOs. Once these cell structures are broken and come in contact with the oxygen (aka sliced with your knife and mashed into the delicious dip you’ve come to know and love), a chemical reaction occurs that manifests as a brown color. A couple of hours in your fridge and there’s hardly anything left of that bright and beautiful green. (1, 2)

Common Guacamole Preservation Methods and Why They Don’t Work

There are ways to prevent your guacamole from browning and you’ve probably heard of one or two. But chances are even when you follow the instructions correctly, you always wake up the next morning to find brown guacamole in your fridge. Here’s why those methods don’t work. 

Cover Guacamole With Plastic Wrap

Possibly the most popular of all methods is to simply cover your guacamole with plastic wrap. As you’ve probably experienced first hand, this method isn’t foolproof. Although plastic wrap is supposed to be air-tight, it is actually quite porous and still lets enough oxygen through to brown your guacamole in the night. (3)

Leave the Pit In Your Guacamole

Some people say the secret to that long-lasting green is to save the avocado pit and store it with your guacamole. This does work in a sense, but not in the way you would imagine. The pit only prevents browning for the portions of guacamole that it’s touching simply because it’s keeping that part of the dip from being exposed to oxygen. Throwing a couple of golf balls into the bowl would have the same effect. (4)

Add Extra Lime Juice to Your Guacamole

Another clever attempt to preserve that green guacamole is to mix in extra lime juice. Acidity, like that found in a lime, does delay oxidization and browning, so the idea is on the right track. But the amount of lime juice that you would need to effectively keep your guacamole green overnight would completely compromise the flavor of your dip and is frankly just too much acid. It makes my lips pucker just thinking about it! (5)

The Tried And True Method For Green Guac

Are you ready for the tried and true way to keep your guacamole green? The secret is one simple ingredient. Water. Yep, just plain old H2O. Here’s how it works:

  1. Put your delicious avocado concoction into a bowl or Tupperware with a tight-fitting lid and pack your guacamole down to make sure there are no air bubbles.
  2. Fill a measuring cup with lukewarm water and pour it gently on top of the guacamole. It’s best to dribble it down the side of the bowl so as to not disturb the surface too much. Continue adding water until there is about a 1/2 inch layer of water on top of your dip.
  3. Cover with your tight-fitting lid and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  4. When you’re ready for more guacamole goodness, take off the lid and gently pour out the water. Give it a few quick stirs to incorporate any moisture.

The layer of water acts as an impermeable barrier between your precious green guacamole and the oxygen, impeding this chemical process from occurring and turning your guac brown. This method keeps your guacamole fresh, tasty, and best of all GREEN for up to 3 days in the fridge. That is if you even need to store it that long without gobbling it up.

Green Guacamole For Days

So there you have it! The secret to enjoying green guacamole for days on end. You may even find that your guacamole is better after keeping it overnight because the ingredients are allowed more time to really integrate and enhance the flavors. Like I said before, leftover guacamole is practically a sin. But in case of an emergency, you can rest easy knowing that your guacamole is waiting for you in the fridge, just as green and fresh as the moment you made it.

  1. Taranto F, Pasqualone A, Mangini G, et al. Polyphenol Oxidases in Crops: Biochemical, Physiological and Genetic Aspects. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(2):377. Published 2017 Feb 10., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5343912/
  2. https://www.compoundchem.com/2014/08/03/why-do-avocados-turn-brown-the-chemistry-of-avocados/
  3. http://www.uwm.edu.pl/wnt/technicalsc/ts10_2007/4_10_2007.pdf%20
  4. https://www.compoundchem.com/2014/08/03/why-do-avocados-turn-brown-the-chemistry-of-avocados/
  5. Ali HM, El-Gizawy AM, El-Bassiouny RE, Saleh MA. Browning inhibition mechanisms by cysteine, ascorbic acid and citric acid, and identifying PPO-catechol-cysteine reaction products. J Food Sci Technol. 2014., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444905/
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