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Why Avocados Brown

Burning Question: Why Do Avocados Turn Brown?

I recently took home a large batch of prepared guacamole from a party, hoping to make good use of it at home during my next taco night. But I opened the package for a quick bite, and within hours, the entire container of gaucamole had turned a dirty brown. What gives?

Guacamole is made from avocados, which are difficult to preserve fresh (or process effectively) due to their tendency to change color.

Avocados contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which, when exposed to oxygen, changes the chemical structure of avocado flesh, increasing the presence of melanins (yes, the same pigments that provide color in human skin).

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Another discoloration you might encounter when cutting open avocados are occasional brown or black lines within the fruit's flesh. Those are nothing to worry about; they're found in fruit from young avocado trees, but are perfectly safe for consumption.

Do you hesitate to eat avocados once they've begun to oxidize? What measures do you take to prevent them from discoloring?

Source: Flickr User QuinnDombrowski

Join The Conversation
nuttmegs17 nuttmegs17 5 years
I bought an avocado saver online for about $4...best $4 ever :) Seriously, tried all the other methods to no avail. I generally steer clear of unitaskers as my kitchen is small, but this sucker is SO worth it.
Sprint2theTable Sprint2theTable 5 years
I eat the part I want and then freeze the rest for use in a shake later. They make an amazingly creamy protein shake! Check it out: http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2011/07/thirsty-thursday
theseether theseether 5 years
Leave the pit mixed in with your avocado. Works like a charm!
fashionaza fashionaza 5 years
I squeeze some lemon juice it stays intact!
adamchickey adamchickey 5 years
Putting an acid on the avocado is a great way to prevent it from going brown. A common one is lime juice since it echoes the mexican flair of the guacamole.
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