Monday, August 26, 2013

Keep your Guacamole Green!

I love avocados. And I post about them a lot. As of right now, there are 61 posts on this blog that mention avocados, and 31 posts that mention guacamole.

Yes, I do love guacamole. Plain, fancy, spicy, fruity, limey. Traditional or non-traditional.

But there's a limit to how much I want to eat. I mean I could eat a whole avocado's worth of guacamole all by myself. And maybe that has even happened. Maybe. But most of the time, guacamole is an appetizer, or it's intended as a garnish on tacos.

And that means there's a good chance there will be leftover guacamole. Which never survives well.

I've tried putting plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole, and that helps. But it's not a perfect solution. The guac still gets brown.

In part, it depends on the avocados. I've had some that I swear begin to turn dark while I'm working on them. Make the guacamole more than two seconds before the chips begin dive-bombing, and it's already getting ugly. Other avocados stay green much longer, even with no magic spells or protective charms.

The amount of lime you add to the guacamole also makes a difference. More lime = longer storage. Although I like lime, I want my guacamole to taste more like avocado than lime.

So, when I read a tip on The Kitchn about putting a layer of water on top of the guacamole prior to storage, I had to give it a try. And, the fact that they used a container that's exactly like one I have might have caught my eye, too.

I tried it. Water on top of the guacamole, seal the container, and stick it in the fridge.

After 24 hours, it was still a vibrant green. So far, so good. I let it rest a little longer. After two days, the water had started turning dark, and there was a very small layer of brown on top of the guacamole. It was a much thinner layer than I would have seen if I had stored it normally, but it was still headed to a bad place.

Then, inspiration struck. I poured out the water, scraped off that tiny layer of brown, and added some clean water. THEN I added a splash of lime juice. I didn't measure, but it was just a splash compared to the amount of water.

Back into the fridge it went. 24 hours passed. No change. Another 24 hours. Still good. Three days, and it looked just like it did on the first day. Well, okay, some of the bits of avocado had loosened themselves from the guacamole and were floating in the water, but the guacamole was still green. The water wasn't brown. SUCCESS!

And keep in mind, this was guacamole that had been in the fridge for two days with just the water. It was now five days old and still perfectly edible. Absolutely no signs of going brown.

Woah. It's like a kitchen miracle!

After six days in the refrigerator, that same guacamole is just now starting to show the tiniest bit of brown. And, really, that's eight days, since the first two were with just water and no lime juice. I'm really impressed at how well this works. It's pretty doubtful I'll ever need to store guacamole for six days, but it's nice to know I can make a larger batch (like, two avocados instead of one) and it won't be wasted.

If you're going to do this for a large quantity of guacamole, I'd suggest using a container that's tall rather than wide so you limit the amount of water/guac interaction. Over time, you're probably going to get some water infused into the guacamole. Not a lot, but you might as well limit it by using a tall container. A wide-mouth canning jar, perhaps?

Smooth the top of the guacamole before you add the water, and try to get rid of air bubbles below the surface.

When you add the water, pour it in slowly. You can pour down the side of the container or pour onto a spoon and let it dribble off of that. There's no sense in making a crater in the guacamole by pouring water in too fast and getting the guac mixed with water.

Don't forget to add your splash of lime juice. Since you're going to be pouring off the water, anyway, you could also use lemon juice or fruit fresh - whatever you have on hand.

And then just cover the container and refrigerate.

Easy, right? And no more brown guacamole!