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How long does fresh guacamole keep?

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  • elyhtak Apr 21, 2003 11:21 PM
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I love to make fresh guacamole but it doesn't seem to last more than a day in the fridge...the avocado soon turns brown. When this happens is it still ok to eat? I have been leary and just thrown it out. Are there any ways to keep guacamole longer?

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  1. The best way to get it to keep from turning brown is to squeeze a lime on top and then press saran wrap directly on to the surface of the guacamole until there is no air underneath. If there is any residual brownness on top, you can just scrape that part off. It will keep a few days that way. Same goes for half an avocado.

    1. l
      Laughing Goddess

      I'm not sure how long it will keep in the fridge because it doesn't tend to last long around here. :-)
      But it does last at least a few days. And the brown color is no problem -- just mix it up again if you don't like the color. Some people add lemon or lime to the guac to keep it from turning brown, but it isn't necessary.

      Think of the brown top as being like pudding skin -- unattractive, perhaps, but harmless.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Laughing Goddess

        My Nicaraguan mother-in-law also taught me this - she said that it "fools" the avocado into thinking it is still altogether and it doesn't know it's been opened and turned into guac.

      2. p
        Professor Salt

        My Mexican aunt taught me to keep the avocado pit in the bowl of guac. She opined that the contact with the pit helped keep it from browning. This doesn't sound scientifically sound to me but it does help for a short while (an hour or two, not overnight).

        Maybe Cristina can add insight of how it's practiced in her part of Mexico?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Professor Salt

          That avocado pit myth has been around for a long time. I always thought they looked silly sitting there in the bowl.

          Guacamole is like scrambled eggs - they're both extremely simple and take about a minute to make, and they sure don't benefit from being made ahead of time.

          1. re: Sharuf

            AMEN! Cooking for one=small avocado. Keep it overnight? Ick...

            Next time you make a salsa cruda (fresh chopped fire engine red-ripe Roma tomatoes, minced onion, minced serrano chile, chopped cilantro, coarse salt, and a tiny squeeze of lime), let it 'marry' in the refrigerator for an hour and eat it. Leave some in the bowl, and try it the next afternoon. I betcha you'll never do it again; it is an entirely different critter once it's old. It's the old salsa, more than the browning of the avocado, that gives day-old guacamole its sour taste.

            One of the more discouraging psuedo-Mexican restaurant trends is guacamole made from packaged avocado powder, reconsituted with goodness-knows-what. If the guacamole you're served with your carne tampiqueña, cheese enchilada, rice and beans is pale green and realllyy smooth...chances are...it's the powdered junk, sometimes served tarted up with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, etc stirred into it to make it look (ahem) right.

            1. re: Cristina

              I completely agree about the day-old salsa cruda / pico de gallo. Nasty. Even nastier is my red onion- mango salsa the next day. I liked Sharuf's comparison just above between scrambled eggs and guacamole. Both take a minute to prepare and should be eaten immediately.

        2. I make lots of guac, often in large batches. (Love the stuff.) I put a pit in it as soon as it's mashed, cover it tightly, and it lasts for up to several days without any browning at all. I've been doing this for decades, never a problem.

          1. Harold McGee says it's not the avocado pit that keeps it from turning brown - it's the fact that no air can get to it. To test his theory, he put a pit in one batch of guacamole and a light bulb in another. In both cases, the guacamole that was touching the pit and the light bulb didn't turn brown but the surface of the guacamole did, despite the plastic wrap being pressed directly onto the top. (apparantly plastic wrap isn't entirely airtight).
            Anyway, why not just make the guacamole fresh each time? It doesn't take long to make and that way, you don't have to worry about the guacamole turning brown. What I do is make a salsa (tomatoes, onions, garlic, chillies, cilantro and salt, but everybody makes it their own way) and store that in the fridge (no need to worry about it turning a funny colour), then whenever I want guacamole, I halve the avocado, cut it into cubes while it's still in the shell, scoop out the pieces and roughly mash it then mix in the salsa.

            2 Replies
            1. re: susanj
              d
              david in NOLa

              I pre-make the "salsa" too! It's a good trick if you're having guests too. Just mash the avocados at the last minute and mix in the salsa.

              1. re: david in NOLa

                Yes, just a little salsa, but for me it has to be green. And if I feel like adding a little heat, I sprinkle in a little hot salsa, which also has to be green. I like a good color to my guacamole.

            2. Hola tragones...(Hi Big Eaters)...I can't think of a reasonable way to say CHOWHOUNDS in Spanish. LOL.

              I think the best answer is eat it ALL and make more fresh tomorrow! Guacamole will keep without turning for a couple of hours or so in the fridge, but then it is inevitably brown on top. What I do if that happens is simply stir it up~the brown blends in with the regular green and doesn't make a difference in flavor or color.

              An easy way to rough-smash the avocados is to use a bean/potato masher, the kind with holes...takes two seconds.

              I'm also thinking about the logistics of keeping freshly made *salsa cruda* (raw sauce) in the refrigerator. My experience is that it doesn't keep very well overnight either~the tomatoes begin to get watery, the cilantro wilts, etc~even for mixing into guacamole.

              Again, this is just my experience...your mileage may vary.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Cristina

                Yes, it's OK if your guac turns brown, but I find that it does lose that fresh-avocado flavor overnight, and you end up with this dull, pasty taste. So for me it's not worth it.

                1. re: C. Fox
                  t
                  T.Thomas (Indy)

                  same here.

              2. Lime juice on top will help, but I find that the next day, the surface is always brown. I never stir in the brown portion, as to me the discolored guacamole tastes a bit sour, and so I scrape it off before consuming the rest of the guac. It also doesn't taste as fresh the next day. After one day (if there's any left), I discard it. Concur on the concensus that you should try to only make what you will consume in one sitting rather than try to make extra for later.

                1. s
                  Science Chick

                  I think you can freeze it!!! Trader Joes sells prepared guac that is pretty decent in a pinch (i.e. if you can't find a ripe avocado and you are in a hurry). It's in the cheese area in a box, containing two air-tight (sealed) pouches. It says on the box that you can freeze. I've done this, and it thaws just great!

                  Maybe you could do the same with homemade in a freezer-safe Ziploc or seal-a-meal type bag?

                  1. Thanks for all the replies. Yes I usually add some lime if I know I need to store it for a day or two but still inevitably gets brown and the taste is never as good as fresh. I guess I will just have to take everyone's advice and make it fresh everytime. It's just a bit harder when you cook for 1.

                    1. I got this tip from the chef out in calif... john ash.
                      We always consume all that we make so I haven't tested this for storage. After you have peeled the avocado briefly run it under tap water. It must be tap water. I've left the avocado out on the counter for hours before using it and it stays green. I suppose you could run some tap water into the left over and then tilt the bowl and dump the excess out (or even leave some of it in... wouldn't hurt the leftover just thin it out a little). I would still save the pit and put it back in the leftover and cover it with wrap. I wonder if these new vacumn sealing bags or whatever they are would work better than wrap.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: T.Davis

                        Julia Child also endorsed rinsing avocado slices to be used in salads.

                        1. re: T.Davis

                          Who peels an avocado? Doesn't everyone slice it and scoop out the halves in about 15 seconds, with no need to touch the flesh? A peeled one would be like a giant snot in your hand. Bleech.

                        2. Given that contact with air is the villian here, I'd suggest putting the guacamole in a container that will expose as little surface to the air as possible. Wide bowl bad, highball good.

                          Regarding the use of citrus, I have always added a squeeze of lime (or lemon if necessary) to my guac. I have always thought of it as an ingredient as essential as the avocado. I think it makes it taste better.

                          I agree with those that suggest scraping the brown off rather than mixing it back in. That brown stuff tastes NASTY and has got to go.

                          1. Things I've noticed from years of mashing avocados.

                            Guacamole doesn't seem to go brown as fast as it tended to do, say, 25 years ago. Maybe they're breeding for this quality.

                            If the avocado is a little overripe or bruised, it goes brown faster, even if you meticulously cut out the discolored spots. If it is a pristine avo at the perfect degree of ripeness, you get the greener-lasting guacamole.

                            I don't know if lime helps keep the color, but it does help add snap to the flavor.

                            From what I can tell, sticking the pit into the bowl doesn't do a dang thing for the guacamole.