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Avocados do not ripen on the tree, they ripen or soften after they have been harvested. Many varieties are now classed as ‘ripen-at-home’ avocados, originally purchased firm from a supermarket, softening in the fruit bowl at home. But, once cut, the green flesh of an avocado turns brown very quickly. Here are a few storage hacks to reduce the chances of an avocado turning brown.
Blanch the whole avocado in water
Start off with a large pan, filled with water and bring it to a rapid boil. Alongside it, have a bowl of ice cold water ready.
Gently place the whole avocado (skin on) into the boiling water and leave it there for 10 seconds.
If you boil the avocado for more than 10 seconds, it will start to cook – less than 10 seconds and the enzymes won’t be destroyed.
Immediately drop the avocado into the bowl of ice water, this will stop it from continuing to cook. Let the avocado cool completely, then remove it from the water and dry it with a kitchen towel.
The avocados are now ready to be cut or peel and can be stored uncut too.
This technique is taught by the famous French-born British chef Raymond Blanc, who claims this method “reduces discolouration [of the avocado flesh] when sliced”.
It works by killing the enzyme that causes browning when the avocado flesh is exposed to air.
If you prefer not to gently boil an avocado, there are several other ways to preserve the green flesh, but they can alter the taste.
Coat with honey
According to experts, adding a thin coat of honey to the surface of a cut avocado can help delay it from going brown.
Honey acts as a barrier, limiting the flesh’s contact with oxygen.
Another way to keep an avocado from turning brown is by submerging it in coconut water.
This is only a short-term solution, as the avocado can lose its firmness and become mushy, so eat it within a day or two.
If you don’t have coconut water, you could use coconut oil, but take a spoonful out and melt it in the microwave so it’s easier to use.
A member of the Australian Sustainable Swappers group on Facebook explained: “Brush melted coconut oil over your avocado to keep it sealed.” This hack can keep the avocado fresh “for days”.
Add pineapple juice
One popular way to reduce avocado flesh from going brown is by using lemon juice, but you can also use pineapple juice.
Similarly to lemon juice, coat the avocado in pineapple juice and eat it in a day or two.
As for how it works, the acid in the fruit juice helps create a barrier against oxygen and slows down the chemical reaction that causes the flesh to turn brown.
This method might add a slightly tangy flavour to the avocado flesh when eaten, but it is effective.
Is it safe to eat avocado when the flesh is brown?
Avocados contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which causes the flesh to brown when exposed to oxygen.
When the flesh starts to turn brown, or there are areas of it being brown, it is safe to eat. Alternatively, you can remove the browned surface and enjoy the rest.
Nevertheless, if your avocado has an odd smell, it may indicate the presence of microbial deterioration, in which case you should discard it. Likewise, if there is visible mould, compost it.
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