You've Been Storing Guacamole Wrong Your Entire Life

Ask somebody if they want some chips and fresh guacamole and they're bound to reply with an enthusiastic "yes." Ask them if they'd like some chips and two-day-old guacamole and you'll probably get a questionable look as they stand up to leave. This is because as any fan of guac will tell you, it doesn't keep well and is always best enjoyed fresh. 

Assuming that you're one of those folks who has the willpower to not consume an entire bowl of guacamole in a single sitting, you probably know what happens when you try to store it in the fridge. After just a couple of hours, that once vibrant and green guacamole is now a putrid grayish-brown that looks like something from a baby's diaper. Yeah, it's really gross looking. 

There's actually a way to keep your guacamole fresh and it's likely not how you've been storing it all these years. 

Why does guacamole turn brown?

You can't beat the enemy if you don't know the enemy's weakness, and to properly store guacamole we must know the enemy — oxygen. Guacamole (and avocados in general) don't hold up well once exposed to oxygen. This is because the fruit contains compounds called phenols and an enzyme known as polyphenol oxidase that when exposed to oxygen, results in a rapid browning of the fruit's melanin pigments (via Compound Interest). 

The same thing happens to other fruits like bananas, and despite what you may have heard, leaving the pit in the avocado has zero effect on slowing down the browning process. 

Now that we understand why oxygen is the enemy of the avocado, we can better protect those sensitive compounds and enzymes in your guac. 

The best way to store guacamole

It's a crime against food to let a bowl of guacamole go to waste by tossing it in the trash, but it's also understandable that brown guacamole is less than appetizing. So what's a guacamole-lover to do? Fear not, because there is a solution and it doesn't involve lime juice, plastic wrap, or ancient Aztec spells. According to The Kitchn, the easiest solution is simply adding a little bit of H2O. 

"What?! No way, it can't be that easy!" Um, yes way, it really is. 

You can use this trick either with the bowl that you've been eating your guacamole out of, or by transferring it to a plastic container. Simply pour a small amount of water on the surface of the guacamole — around a half-inch or so. Make sure it's covered up tightly and your guacamole should stay fresh — and most importantly green — in the refrigerator for two or three days.  

Here's why this guac-saving method works so well

Adding water to your guacamole might seem like a gross idea, but trust us, you're going to want to try this out next time you have some leftovers. Notice that we never said you were supposed to mix in the water, only pour it on top. This is because the guacamole itself is so thick that the water won't seep down into it. You'll want to use a spoon to press out any air bubbles and pack it into the bowl before adding the water. 

The water will act as a barrier that prevents the oxygen from getting into the guacamole and browning its melanin pigments. 

After you've poured the water on, simply put an airtight lid on it and then place it in the fridge. When you're ready to bust it out for taco Tuesday or another round of tortilla chips, simply pour out the water that's resting on the guacamole's surface and stir it up a little before serving.

Can you eat brown guacamole?

While we're on the subject of preventing guacamole browning and keeping it as green and fresh as possible, it does raise an interesting question. Aside from why a person would want to eat brown guacamole, it is safe to do so (via Business Insider)? 

Like we mentioned above, the browning of the guacamole is simply the avocado's compounds reacting to air exposure, and this can happen in just a few hours. It takes significantly longer for the guacamole to actually spoil. The texture may be a little different, but who knows, maybe you'll dig it. If it really bugs you, then you can simply scrape off the layer of brown guacamole, and you should find the guacamole at the bottom of the bowl relatively green. 

Then again, you could just use the amazing water food hack we told you about and avoid that brown guacamole altogether.