How to Keep an Avocado from Browning

September 10, 2014

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. 

Today: Avocados are too good -- and too expensive -- to let fall to the wayside. Here are three of the best methods to keep avocados green, longer. 

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Much like tomatoes, when we slice an avocado open to eat, we usually aren't gunning to devour the whole fruit in a single meal. There's a critical point at which crisp toast can't take another dollop of mushed avocado, salad greens can't support another creamy slice, and we have to tackle the conundrum of keeping an unused avocado half as green as possible until our next meal. 

The most common piece of advice is to leave the pit in the avocado half, or rather, use the pitted half first. However, while the parts of flesh that are in contact with the pit stay fresh, the rest of the avocado easily browns. This is simply because the pit is blocking air from reaching part of the flesh. So, to keep the exposed avocado from browning, we have to mimic what the pit does and create alternative barriers. Though avocado halves will always brown to some degree, the following methods kept the fruit green, longer. 

The Onion Method
Roughly chop a quarter of a red onion into large chunks. Line the bottom of a sealable container with the onion pieces, then place the avocado half cut side-up on top. Seal the container and keep in the fridge. According to The Kitchn, this is likely due to the vapors that onions emit. Luckily, because the skin is the only part of the avocado in contact with the onion, the flesh won't take on any flavor. And you can save the onions for later use!

More: Sharpen your skills and chop an onion perfectly -- and quickly -- every time. 

The Olive Oil Method
Brush the avocado half with olive oil (pick one without a strong flavor). The oil will keep the flesh from coming in direct contact with the air, preventing oxidization. After brushing with the oil, store the avocado in an airtight container in the fridge. 

More: Learn how to choose the right olive oil for the job. 

The Lemon Juice Method
You can also brush your avocado's flesh with lemon juice -- the citric acid in the lemon juice dramatically slows the browning process. Again, store in an airtight container for extra protection.

How do you keep avocados from turning brown? Tell us in the comments!

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Risottogirl March 6, 2018
Don't cover it. Just put it in the fridge, it will form it's own protective skin. Also cut it around the middle holding it up.
Lynda W. September 8, 2015
I'm glad to have come across this tip! Was just talking to friends on how to keep them green longer. I will try some of these out to find out which one will work the best for me and maybe you too!
Tedman September 3, 2015
The working assumption of this piece is wrong: not only do I consume the entire avocado in one meal, it *IS* the meal. Along with a sliced plum tomato, on occasion, just for variety.
Brenda August 1, 2015
Usually I eat the half of the avocado and keep the skin of the other half. Covered it back and put it into the fridge, you can also use the cling wrap to wrap it up.
marlene July 7, 2015
a thick smear of butter works well and then wrap in cling wrap.
Natalie S. July 6, 2015
i just use plastic wrap, but have it loose enough to make sure the wrap is touching the exposed skin. keeps for days.
Pam C. July 6, 2015
If you don't have a vacuum sealer just put the avocado half in a zip lock bag and seal the bag with a straw end inside and suck the excess air out then seal the bag. It will keep it from browning for at least a few days.
MRubenzahl July 6, 2015
"Leftover guacamole"?

Could happen, I suppose.
Julie W. July 6, 2015
Instead of lengthwise cut it in half crosswise - there is way less average Avocado exposed . I also put the leftover avocado in a container with half an onion , no need to cut it up - this keeps for a really long time
FerndaleFoodie July 6, 2015
I squeeze lemon or lime juice over the leftover avocado half and press plastic wrap right up against the flesh. Put it in an airtight container and it's good to go for another round.
Ol'ga K. July 6, 2015
In Cyprus we simply cover cut avocado with fresh lemon juice. Its enough for centuries now :)
Jerry C. June 26, 2015
I bought a kitchen aid called "Blue Apple" from The Grommet. It's made of blue plastic and comes with little packets (there are enough for a year) that you put in inside. Close the "Blue Apple" and put in your produce draw. I don't eat any brown on an avocado. I put the avocado in a zip lock bag, it may have a tad of brown which I cut off. Also, the uncut avocados don't get soft as quickly. They will last for several day. Oh, I paid $18 for it...well worth every penny.
EMELIA May 19, 2015
Teresa M. April 28, 2015
I make guacamole and if you push it into a pile in the middle of the dish then put plastic wrap directly on the guacamole. Touching it and push out air bubbles. This will keep it fresh for a couple days!! I find if I put oil or tomato into it, it browns fast. I add garlic, salt & lime juice
mbaird April 13, 2015
I cut them in half the short way, remove the pit (I know!), and stand them on a small plate with the cut side down. This cuts off the oxygen and prevents browning. But the freezer trick for bulk storage is going to change my life!
Dianne E. April 7, 2015
If only half the avocado is used, leave the stone in the other half and fold an already dampened paper towel over the raw side and place in the refrigerator. It will probably be eaten the next day and will last well for that. Quick, simple and easy to do. From New Zealand where the best Avocado grow!
Patt D. April 6, 2015
Yogurt avocado dip mash 1 avocado with 1 tsp lime juice 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder and 2 tbs plain yogurt. Great on chips. Can use fresh onion and garlic.
Carrie April 2, 2015
In a small bowl, put 1/2 C to 1 C cold water and put avocado in it cut side down. Cover bowl with wrap and put in refrigerator .
If you have leftover guacamole, cover the leftover dip with cold water and cover.
Christi April 2, 2015
I've always had luck 'not removing the pit' if possible. this has kept the avocado from browning. However, if I know of a half in my fridge? I'm there with a little Himalayan Sea salt sprinkle and spoon! :)
linda March 29, 2015
the only thing that really works is the juice from a pickle or jalepeno pepper jar.