Avocado pits and brown guacamole

In THIS excellent Staff Report by Una, it is written:

Now, I know that avacado pits are rather large, but still, the amount of air physically blocked by the pit would be a small percentage of the overall surface area of the exposed guacamole.

In other words, am I right in assuming that the only part of the guacamole rendered non-brown by the pit is the guacamole directly under it? If so, then what’s the big deal about cookbooks that advise leaving the pit in the guacamole? I mean, the rest of the guacamole, the surface stuff not under the pit and therefore exposed to air, will brown anyway, right?

Or am I missing something here?

No, you’re quite correct. Only the portion under the pit is protected. Personally, I have never seen guacamole served in things other than large, shallow bowls, so I rather doubt that too much could be covered by the pit in most cases. However, depending on how many avocados you use, and the dimensions of the bowl, I suppose that you might be able to cover a majority of the surface of a bowl. To tell the truth, I rather think that it’s one of those things that most people and cookbooks just repeat as a recommendation because the author read it somewhere or were told it, and they don’t really know the “Straight Dope”.

A couple of drops of green food coloring will solve that browning problem too. Just don’t put in too much or you’ll something that looks like Martian guacamole.

So, what you’re saying is that there’s nothing special about using the avocado pit? There’s no magic affinity between the seed and the flesh that sustains it?

I suppose a (clean) golf ball would do just as well.


Given a container with a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of the pit, this method could conceivably preserve most of a given quantity of guacamole.

While on the topic of avocado pits, why does the pit rapidly turn a bright, ungodly red if you accidentally slice it? I imagine it has to do something with oxygenation.

And is it harmful to eat the avocado once this has occurred?

Hmm. The pit is reported to be slightly toxic (whatever “slightly” means) and acrid, but I could not find any references which note that it is specifically not to be eaten if you cut the pit. Given the hardness I doubt too many people eat the whole pit outright. A web search or two warns that animals, dogs especially, may be at risk from eating the pits. Other than that limited information, I fear I have little to offer about the qualities of the pit.

Hey, thanks for another great staff report, Una!

You’re welcome. :slight_smile:

If I read the queue correctly, the next two weeks are from me as well…

One great way I discovered to keep my Guacamole fresh is to cover it with salsa. It is the easiest thing to find when you’re bringing home the leftovers from the mexican restaurant

Depending on the makeup of your salsa, not only are you blocking off oxygen, but you could be adding a bit of Vitamin C and some other antioxidants to the surface of the guacamole. Sound like a good idea!

Who ever has leftover guacamole? The best thing to do is finish it off!

Who ever worries about brown guacamole? You just scrape the brown surface layer off with a corn chip, and eat it, problem solved.

Just cover the entire guac with seran wrap - not the bowl it’s in, but the guac itself. Press it down so there’s no air between the guac and the seran. Keeps for a few days that way, and also allows you to make it in advance.

I thought my article was fairly clear on that when I wrote the following in it:

Sure, but if we read your whole article there’d be so little to discuss.

I just want to emphasize that birds, too, should never be fed avacado.

Out of curiosity, do you mean the avacado flesh, or the pit, or both?

I confess, since IANAVet and I’ve never actually killed a bird by feeding it avacado, I was just parroting [heh] what I’ve heard from several vets and bird specialists.

From here:

A little lime or lemon juice will also solve the browning problem - apparently the vitamin C it contains coats the contents and prevents oxidation. You can also use it to prevent apple slices from browning.

Dunno about the pit preventing oxidation on only the guac directly underneath, however - we had some quac over Thanksgiving that was in a plastic container (like a cottage cheese one, 'bout that size) and the pit was left in. Opened it the next day and it was still green - no oxidation. Perhaps that was because we also covered the container (with its cover, no saran wrap) and refrigerated it, but whatever, the guac was still green.