How Olive Oil Can Help Keep Your Avocados From Going Brown

We all know the feeling of reaching for that fresh-cut avocado from yesterday and finding that it's turned brown, gotten mushy, and become totally unappealing. But does that mean it's inedible? Maybe. But maybe not.

It all comes down to chemistry: So many tricks for keeping avocados from going brown center target oxidation, which happens when the flesh of the delicious green fruit meets the air. During this process, the polyphenol oxidase enzyme inside the avocado gets to work with its color-changing magic, infusing the soft greenish-yellow flesh with the murky-brown streaks that taint the look of the fruit, explains Taste of Home.

Hacks for saving leftover avocados abound, and some of them actually work. The most common proposed remedies involve lemon juice, water, onions, or plastic wrap, all of which have merit on varying levels. However, Self suggests another option: olive oil. It's a healthy, natural ingredient readily available and often stocked in home-kitchen pantries.

How olive oil slows down oxidation

As long as an avocado retains its natural unbroken skin, that goodness from Mother Nature stays lusciously green and yellow. But once the protective seal is broken, a replacement barrier is necessary. That's where olive oil comes in. Brushing a light coat of the oil onto exposed avocado flesh acts as a protective sealant and slows down color tarnishing, according to Insider. In the outlet's experiment using various methods of preventing oxidation, it found that olive oil helped keep the avocado from turning brown for about four days when kept in a closed container with a tight-fitting lid.

Olive oil comes in various concentrations and grades, so Self recommends choosing one that's lighter in taste. The Spruce Eats explains that extra light olive oils are not only less heavy in color but also in flavor, typically producing a mild taste that doesn't overpower other foods. Olive oil complements avocados when used in dips such as guacamole, so it's easy to mix it in and enjoy the new incarnation.