Also known as alligator pears or God's own butter, avocados are egg-shaped, greenish-purple fruits, with highly nutritional insides. These fruits are cherished for their buttery goodness, are popularly used in guacamole, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc., and are even served as side dishes. They are also used in desserts and cakes, although these are not so popular.
Did you know?The key to preserving avocados once they are cut, is preventing as much air exposure as possible.
Avocados are best enjoyed when they're eaten fresh, but what do we do if we want to save half of it for later? In fact, what do we do when we want to store anything? Yes, we refrigerate it! But simply refrigerating avocados won't help. The avocado turns into a brown, slimy, inedible mess of avocado yuckiness!
Once an avocado is cut, it takes less than a few hours to turn brown. In fact, some jokingly say that avocados begin to brown as soon as they're cut open! When the enzymes present in avocados come in contact with air, they oxidize and turn brown. With time, the brownish layer deepens, resulting in the slimy goo we all hate! Minimizing the air exposure will help preserve it for longer. The lesser air the avocado comes in contact with, the slower it turns brown.
There are various techniques that have been used to preserve avocados, however, it's important to note that the avocado portion must be stored immediately after it has been cut. Never wait till you've eaten off the other portion before storing the leftover portion. It will turn brown by then.
Leaving the peel on and its pit in, dunk the avocado half into a bowl of water, such that it gets completely immersed. The water will prevent oxidation, however, the fruit gets wet and may not be appropriate for sandwiches. Nevertheless, they can easily be used in guacamole, etc.
Avocados seem to stay fresher in the areas where the pit touches its surface. So cut your avocado in half, and leave the pit inside the other half. Then place it upside down in a small airtight container. The trick here is to provide minimum exposure to the cut surface of the fruit. The pit prevents some exposure and so does the peel. The remaining exposed portion can be protected by placing the cut half into a small airtight, opaque container, with minimum height.
Take a small freezer bag and place the cut half into it. Squeeze out as much air as possible, and tightly seal the bag. Place this bag in the freezer. If you are using only a small portion of the avocado, place the two halves back together again, wrap it tightly with a cling film and place it in a freezer bag. After squeezing out the air, seal the bag and freeze. Take it out when required. You can also freeze mashed/pureed avocado (add a tbsp. of lemon juice to it) in an airtight freezer bag/container with less head space. Although it deteriorates, it can be eaten whenever you want.
Pour a few drops of olive oil on the cut portion of the avocado and brush the oil across the exposed surface. Tightly wrap the avocado in a cling film and store it in an opaque container in the fridge. The oil will prevent oxidation, and since olive oil goes well with avocados, many are not offended by the slight alteration in flavor.
Pouring a teaspoon of lemon juice on the cut surface of the avocado helps form a protective layer which prevents oxidation. Store this half in an airtight, opaque container, and refrigerate. Placing a slice of tomato on the cut surface also has the same action. The citric acid forms a protective layer that slows down the browning process.
Place half an onion (preferably red onion) into the container in which you plan to store the portion of avocado. The sulfuric acid from the onion has preservative properties, and will slow down the browning process. The flavor of raw onion may not be appreciated by people who dislike raw onions. If you find a brownish layer, simply slice of that layer, and enjoy the avocado goodness beneath!
There are so many different ways people use to preserve avocados. There is a lot of debate about which of these techniques is the most effective. However, the best judge will be you yourself. Try out these different ways and find out which works for you. And if you know of any other way of preserving avocados, let us know!