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How to Preserve the Freshness of Guacamole

Updated on January 14, 2013
fresh and green guacamole looks appetizing
fresh and green guacamole looks appetizing | Source

Keep Guacamole From Turning Brown

Guacamole is a delicious and healthy appetizer option, and a quality addition to any recipe box, but anyone who has made it in advance of an event may have been surprised by a rather unexpected ugly brown color.

Guacamole, and specifically the avocado in it, will turn brown as oxygen exposure is increased. Because of this, there are a few primary ways to keep it looking good; make it fresh, use lime or lemon juice, and cover it tightly.

Make Fresh Guacamole

It's a good idea to make your favorite guacamole recipe as close to when it will be eaten as possible. This is the most foolproof way to preserve guacamole freshness, since it will truly be fresh. Since oxidation occurs over time, same-day preparation is smart.

The process that causes avocado to turn brown takes some time and will be slowed by refrigeration in an airtight container, so if you must prepare in advance, get the dip covered and in the cooler as soon as possible.

Lemons vs. Limes

What do you like best in guacamole - lemon or lime?

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Adding Lemon or Lime to Guacamole

Most recipes for guacamole will call for lemon or lime juice, and it seems that these ingredients have a role in slowing the process of the avocado turning brown. It sure can't hurt, especially since lemon and lime both taste great in this classic dip recipe, so go ahead and include them.

While it does seem to slow the process, don't expect this to be the answer. Oxygen is still the primary culprit responsible for making guacamole lose its green color.

press plastic wrap onto the surface to keep air out
press plastic wrap onto the surface to keep air out | Source

How to Store Guacamole

Perhaps the most effective way to keep guacamole fresh, other than making it just in time, is to cover it in such a way that additional oxygen can't get to it. Most people will put prepared guacamole into a bowl or storage container and wrap the top or put on a lid, but you can do better.

To really remove exposure to the air, use plastic wrap and press it down onto the surface so that there is as little air in the container as possible. If you are using a storage container, go ahead and add the top of the container in addition for even more defense.

What About the Avocado Pit?

It is often suggested that you leave the avocado pit in the prepared guacamole until it is time to serve, and that this will prevent guacamole browning. Unfortunately, most people agree that this does little if any good, so after you cut the avocado and remove the pit, just go ahead and toss it.

How to Buy an Avocado

Some people have trouble picking out a proper avocado in the grocery store. The key is to make sure that it is not too green and not too mushy. A bright, green avocado looks wonderful, but it is likely to be hard and unusable. Likewise, a black avocado may well be past its prime.

Your best best is to go for a color between bright green and black, but to be sure, just give it a gentle squeeze. If it feels hard as a rock, it's not ripe. If it feels soft, you won't be happy with the mush inside. A fruit that you can very slightly press into is perfect.

You Can Keep Guacamole Green

Now that you know how to achieve it, you can preserve the freshness of your guacamole and maintain the most attractive green color possible. Just make it as fresh as possible, use a bit of lemon or lime, and eliminate exposure to air until it's time to serve.

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    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I found out the hard way how making guacamole ahead of time and improper storage lead to a most unattractive brown color. At the time, I scooped off the discolored dip, but lost a lot of it along the way.

      Thanks for the helpful tips. Voted up and Shared.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 

      5 years ago from United States

      I love guacamole, but didn't know about adding lemon or lime, though it makes sense that it might help preserve it. Good advice for someone who hasn't made guacamole before (like me!). Voted up. Now I'm hungry. :)


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