Did you Know Why Do Avocados Turn Brown? Avocados have become a modern-day culinary staple. The “good fat” is ideal for spreading on toast, blending into smoothies, or sprinkling over salads. And who can forget guacamole, in which the avocado is the star?
Avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable, which explains its creamy green loveliness. Yes, the avocado is a large berry with a solitary seed. Not to add that slicing an avocado is always fascinating; you never know whether you’ll receive a little or a huge seed.
Avocados are versatile, tasty, and stunningly green. That is, until it becomes brown.
So, what causes avocados to become brown? Avocados turn brown due to the presence of polyphenol oxidase enzymes. When the flesh of an avocado is exposed to air, the enzymes begin to oxidize, quickly transforming the vivid green hue into an unpleasant shade of brown.
In more technical terms, polyphenol oxidase aids in the conversion of phenolic chemicals present in avocados to another family of molecules known as quinones. Quinones polymerize, which means they combine together smaller particles to form a long chain, yielding polyphenols. Guess what hue appears when this happens. It is, indeed, brown.
But wait a minute — the flesh of an avocado becomes dark not just due to oxygen exposure, but also because the plant cells are broken when you cut into the fruit.
So it’s really fairly easy — it’s just science at work. But how inconvenient is it to wait until your avocado is perfectly ripe, then use half of it in your morning smoothie, only to have the other half turn brown before the day is done?
Before we go any further, let’s dissect the avocado.
What exactly is an avocado?
We’ve established that an avocado is a fruit, but there’s a lot more to learn about it.
For example, did you know that avocados come in three botanical races? There are three types of avocados: Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian. There are hybrid variations as well.
Avocados vary in a variety of forms and sizes, but they all have the same chemical composition.
Exocarp: Also known as the skin, the exocarp can be thick or thin, pale or dark green, nearly black in color. It all depends on the avocado kind.
Why Do Avocados Turn Brown
Mesocarp: The mesocarp is a fancy word for avocado flesh. It’s the avocado’s creamy, green insides. There is relatively little sugar or starch in the meat. It is mostly made up of fatty acids like linoleic acid and oleic acid.
Endocarp: You may have observed a thin layer of film between the flesh and seed of an avocado. Or maybe not, because it’s not that visible. In any case, this is the endocarp.
Avocados have a seed in the centre that varies in size based on the variety of avocado.
You may believe that your deep avocado knowledge would amaze all of your pals, but there’s more. Can you, for example, keep an avocado from turning brown? If so, how so? Continue reading to learn more.
How Do You Keep an Avocado from Browning?
It’s always disappointing to buy a wealth of fruits and veggies just to have them spoil before you can enjoy them. Avocados brown in the blink of an eye. Yes, it is that quick (almost). So, how can you prevent an avocado from becoming brown?
Limiting oxygen exposure, storing the fruit in the refrigerator, or combining it with anti-browning fruits and vegetables are all strategies to avoid an avocado from becoming brown.
Limit the amount of oxygen that an avocado is exposed to.
When preserving avocados, there are numerous strategies for reducing oxygen exposure. You can’t just put half an avocado in the fridge and expect it to stay green — no way. It must be carefully wrapped in cling wrap immediately after usage. That will assist to extend the life of that lovely green.
Why Do Avocados Turn Brown
Avocados go well with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Lemon juice can be used to keep apple slices fresh. You can do the same thing with avocados (an apple browns due to the same enzymatic reactions that occur in an avocado). Simply pour a tiny bit of the acidic juice over the avocado flesh to prevent browning as rapidly as it would otherwise.
Do you use onion in your guacamole? Perfect since you can keep your leftover onion in the same container as your leftover avocado to keep it from browning. Simply place them in an airtight container, and the sulfur-producing onion will prevent the avocado enzymes from working (making it go brown, of course.)
Refrigerate ripe or cut avocados.
The cool air in the refrigerator inhibits the enzymatic response in an avocado, allowing it to stay fresher for longer. However, before placing your avocado in the fridge, it’s advisable to continue utilizing one of the other ways discussed in this article. Add lemon juice, for example, or securely wrap it.
Bonus tip: Did you bring hard, unripe avocados home from the store? Place them on your counter until they are ripe to your preference, then place them in the refrigerator. The avocado will be perfectly ripe for days rather than hours.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Browning Avocados:
Q: How long does an avocado take to ripen?
A: It usually takes 3-7 days for an unripe avocado to ripen. To expedite the process, place your unripe avocados in a brown paper bag. Then you simply have to wait 2-3 days to obtain optimal ripeness.
Q: Why does the flesh under an avocado’s seed remain green while the rest of it goes brown?
A: Because the seed blocks oxygen from reaching the flesh underneath it, it does not undergo the same enzymatic reaction as the rest of the avocado.
Q: What should I do with my avocados?
A: Understanding how to preserve avocados is essential for ensuring that they taste delicious and last as long as possible.
Unripe avocado: If you have any unripe avocados, leave them out on your counter or shelf for 3-7 days (or 2-3 days in a brown paper bag) until they are ripe.
Whole, ripe avocado: Once your avocado is ripe, place it in the fridge to maintain it at the consistency you like for longer.
A piece of an avocado: As soon as you cut into an avocado, the enzymatic activity begins. If you don’t finish the avocado right away, wrap it up, sprinkle it with lemon juice, or combine it with an onion, and store it in the fridge.
Q: Is it OK to consume a brown-fleshed avocado?
A: It is safe to consume a brown avocado. Of course, if it’s mushy, moldy, or otherwise unfit to eat, toss it out. However, a small amount of brown will not make you sick and should be rather appetizing regardless of how you slice, cut, or mash it!
Avocados quickly transform from green to brown due to the polyphenol oxidase enzymes inherent in them. However, there are several techniques to ensure that your avocado remains perfectly ripe for several days (rather than hours). Spread it, crush it, slice it, or dice it – just don’t waste it!