How to Keep Avocados from turning Brown
When I was a little boy in the Philippines, my day used to say, “Boy, you never lived in the Philippines!” He said that much later when I started telling this story because I did not ever live in the Philippines, and I’m not Filipino. Anyway, my dad used to love eating avocados. Sometimes when he didn’t eat the whole avocado, it would turn brown when we’d put it in the icebox overnight. He also told me to stop using the word “icebox” because we live in America and have refrigerators. I’m not suppose to mention polyphenol oxidase either. I don’t know why.
Personally, I like both kinds of avocados; both large and small. That’s how they come. Large and small. And some medium size. Now, if you see them on sale at the farmers market or grocery store, opt for the larger avocados. They are a better bargain. Even if they’re not on sale they are a better value because, let’s say they are .99 each when on sale and $1.49 at regular price, the larger ones will be a lower cost per pound than the smaller ones. The one caveat to this rule is that the larger ones usually have larger pits. Also, if the price is per pound, then they are all, roughly, the same price. Same with key limes.
Okay, so you get the avocado home and then what do you do with it? Well, I usually cut it in half. Horizontally, if you have it laying parallel with the horizon. I try for a 50/50 split so everything is equal on both sides, but you can go with up to a 54/46 percentage if you’d so like. I use a sharp knife. You can use a dull knife, I suppose, or even a spoon, but I’d use the spoon later for scoopage. Be careful not to cut your fingers. Or your hand. Blood and avocados do not mix well, and one of them is actually a biohazard. If you do cut yourself, I’d either get a band-aid or head to the nearest emergency room, depending on the severity of the cut. You can call 911 if you want, but then you have to tell your neighbors later that you had to go to the emergency room because you cut yourself cutting an avocado. That would be embarrassing, because you know how people can talk. And gossip. “You know Marilyn cut her hand cutting an avocado. An AVOCADO! What a klutz! And you know her husband is seeing that girl down at the bank. I heard Marilyn doesn’t even know”.
So by now, you should have two roughly equal parts to the avocado. One side should have a huge pit. Or a seed, depending how you view the whole pit vs. seed theory. If you cut too hard, you COULD have two pits/seeds of equal proportion, but I have never seen that happen. Oftentimes when you have two seeds, it is probable that you will also have blood on your hands. See the above paragraph for how to handle this situation. Assuming you have just one pit (seed), you will need to remove it from the fruit itself. I imagine you could eat the pit, but I’ve never done so, so I would proceed with caution. It is easy to recognize because it’s a different color than the meat. It will also be harder than the actual meat. The method most people use to remove the pit is to hold the half that includes the pit in one hand, skin side down. This is REALLY important. Now take that same knife, assuming there is no blood on it, and gently whack the pit, aiming for the middle*. This is also important. If the knife is somewhat lodged in the pit, wiggle it a little bit. It should come out. If it doesn’t, then you’ve done it wrong.
The next step is to disengage the avocado meat from the skin. Remember our spoon? Good. Take the spoon and scoop as much of it out as you can. If you missed a little bit, don’t worry. You can go back later (but not too much later) and re-scoop the rest of it. Repeat this procedure on the other half. Except this time you don’t have to remove the pit because it won’t be there. You should have two scoops plus a little bit of the overage that your were too stupid to remove the first time.
You will now have in front of you the following: the avocado meat, the skin, and the pit. I always throw away the skin. It is not tasty. Even the garbage disposal has a tough time with it. Throw it in the garbage. The pit (if you have not already tried to eat it), can be tossed away if you’d like. Another option is to stick three toothpicks in the pit, equidistantly spaced around the middle, and immersed in water so that 1/3 is wet. Wait 2-3 weeks awaiting some growth other than the stem, then throw it away in frustration. Use the following phrase when doing so, “Stupid avocado pit”.
It is now time to eat the avocado. It’s delicious on sandwiches or on chips; use as a garnish, or can be mixed with water or 2% whole milk to make awesome looking fake-loogies. Sorry. Now you may not want to eat the avocado. If you do, go ahead and eat it. Delicious, huh? I know. Another good recipe is avocados stuffed with avocados stuffed with avocados. e-mail me for the recipe. You can also make Key Lime Pie with avocados, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d use key limes.
Now here’s where some people have trouble. Let’s say you only want to eat half of the avocado and save the rest for later. Big mistake. This is a problem because of sometimes they will turn brown overnight in the refrigerator. My dad solved this early on. He taught me the solution. Since most people don’t like to eat brown avocados, just eat them all in one sitting. GENIUS! No more brown avocados. No more, “Honey, does this still look good? Is this okay to eat? I don’t want to smell it, YOU smell it”. So next time you’re concerned about brown avocados, always remember, ‘It’s better to over-eat than to under-eat’. The other problem some people have is that they spell avocados ‘avacadoes’ or even ‘avocados’. Both of these are wrong. And it’s always ‘an avocado’, not ‘a avocado’.
Smart man, my dad. Now go wash your hands of any avocado and/or blood. Check back regularly for more delicious recipes.
Sponsored in part by the National Filipino Avocado Council
* Don’t really do this. It is dangerous**. You can severely damage your knife should it come in contact with any bone or tendons. Then you’ll have to get it sharpened because it’ll probably have a big nick in it. But seriously, you may/might get hurt. Have the number to 911 on your speed dial.
** No, really, it IS dangerous. You could lose a hand or a multiple (up to and including 5) of fingers. My lawyer said this disclaimer should keep me out of prison should any of you be so dumb as to read this and then, sometime in the future, dismember yourself and try to take me to court.
No avocados were harmed during the writing of this story under the supervision of avocado expert and non-Filipino, Bobby O’Neal.