Is Brown Guacamole Okay To Eat?


Many times I have found myself still wanting to eat some leftover guacamole from the weekend. There is leftover because I made more than needed. The guacamole sits in the back of the fridge, but it doesn’t look as good anymore. The once green color has turned to a muddy green and almost pure brown.

I peel off the wrapping and give it a closer look. I still see some green and the guacamole still smells alright. After stirring it a bit I find out:

Is brown guacamole okay to eat? Guacamole that has turned brown due to oxidation does not mean it has gone bad. Guacamole can last for a few days before spoiling but it will turn brown and not taste as fresh. If you give it a stir you may find fresher and greener guacamole underneath.

After stirring or scrapping the brown layer off there should be fresher guacamole still left. This is because the deep part was not exposed to oxygen. If the guacamole has completely turned brown and any liquid is brown as well it is not worth eating.

There is a short lifespan of guacamole and determining this starts with picking out the perfect avocado’s. The stage of ripeness is important for making guacamole that can last for more than a day.

Guacamole: When Brown Can Stick Around.

Avocados thick lizard like skin does a great job of sealing the inside from oxygen. This keeps them fresh and as we know avocado’s can sometimes take a long time to ripen. Similar to a apple core a sliced open avocado will turn brown when exposed to open air for a period of time.

A chemical reaction between oxygen and enzymes causes enzymatic browning. Enzymes are what cause a fruit to ripen, when these enzymes are exposed to oxygen they produce melanin which are brown pigments.

This is the beginning stage of spoiling. Fruits contain their own enzymes. These enzymes are going to cause spoiling over time. This is a natural process that will lead to mold. Once the bacteria and mold start producing their own enzymes the process is sped up.

Avocados along with certain other produce release ethylene gas. This gas helps start the ripening stage. It also contributes to the spoiling of the fruit. Avocados do hold up better than other fruits to ethylene gas. This is because the oil’s in the avocados.

It is this stage where the guacamole should be avoided. Discoloration occurs fast with avocados. This does not mean they spoil faster than other fruits.

If your guacamole has turned dark green or brown. Check first by smelling it and looking for signs of mold. Smell is a good indicator if its still going to be safe to eat.

The taste of the guacamole does diminish. It should not taste bad though, actually it will lose a lot of flavor. Black guacamole is not safe to eat. A over ripened avocado will have black spots or strings on the inside. At this point toss away the fruit.

Tips for Making Guacamole Last Longer

There are a few methods for making guacamole last longer. To prevent it from turning brown so quickly. This is especially useful if you are making it days in advance.

One of the best ways to preserve it is to stop enzymatic browning. This is caused by oxidization. So to prevent this you need to seal off the guac from as much air as possible.

Lemon or Lime Juice:

Before sealing the guacamole spritz some extra citrus juice (lemon or lime) on top. The citric acid has antimicrobial properties that help stop mold or bacteria growth. The antioxidants from both citric and ascorbic acid slow down further ripening. They also help to preserve the fats found in avocado fruit.

  • Pro’s: It is a easy way to help guacamole last longer while being out in the open for a few hours.
    • Lemon or lime juice can be apart of the recipe already.
  • Con’s: You can overdue it on the juice’s and change the flavor.
    • This method does not work as well for storing guacamole overnight.
    • It takes a lot of juice to cover the guacamole completely.
    • There are better methods

I found this method does not work very well for longer storing times. Instead I like to use a lot these juices in the recipe anyway. This way you get the benefits, the flavor and do not overdue it.

Water:

Similar to the juice method you are going to do this before sealing. The idea is to have layer of water on top of the guac. The water does nothing else but stop oxygen. You are in a way going to drown the guac in a bit of water.

  • Pro’s: This method seems to work the longest at keeping guacamole green and fresh.
    • Does not alter the flavor.
  • Con’s: It can spill over if not in a container or jar with a lid.
    • Water source might not be clean (make sure it is filtered water and not city tap water).

Other Methods:

  • Placing the pit in the guacamole.
    • This trick has been debunked, it does work to stop oxygen from reaching the parts underneath the pit. Overall this does not recreate the natural avocado state or prevent browning.
  • Using Red Onions.
    • Onions that are cut up release sulfur fumes. This is said to prevent guacamole from turning brown. Instead you can use onions in your recipe and get the preserving qualities. This method will not stop a large bowl of guacamole from turning brown.

How To Speed Up Avocado Ripening

Sometimes avocados are not ripening as fast as you need. If you want to speed up things there is a trick to try.

As mentioned earlier avocados emit ethylene gas. This is a plant hormone that causes fruits to ripen. This gas can be used commercially to ripen fruits faster.

The trick is to use a paper bag. Place the avocado’s in the bag to ripen for a day. The bag will trap the gas inside exposing the fruit to a concentrated dose of ethylene.

You can even add a different fruit like a apple. Apples release more ethylene gas then avocados. This will speed up the ripening faster than sitting them on the counter.

Placing them on the counter does work but not as quickly. The best way is to know how pick the right avocado from the store. Look for ones that are dark green but still have fresh skin. They should be slightly softer when you squeeze them.

Do not buy avocados that are too squishy. If the skin looks dried out they are past their time.

Why Certain Avocado’s Never Rippen

Have you ever had a really stubborn avocado? The darn thing is hard as a rock almost and never softens up.

I did one time and didn’t know at the time. This is because it was picked prematurely. If a avocado is picked too early it will not have enough oil content. The fruit must reach a stage first before it is best to harvest.

These avocado’s will never ripen naturally and are not as good anyway. There was a big court battle back in the 1920’s between California and Florida because of this very situation. It is stated that a avocado with less than 8% fat/oil is unmarketable.

So if this ever happens to you, it is best to throw them out or try and return them.

Eric M Wilkens

Content writer and recreational cook. I also enjoy craft beer, comedy and the outdoors.

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