Prevent Avocados From Browning With A Layer Of Honey

There are few things more satisfying than slicing into an avocado to find vibrant green flesh that's ripe yet firm. Though there are many ways to soften your avocados faster to get a perfect level of ripeness, sadly, the cut fruit can turn brown and mushy in what seems like an instant. But, there is an underrated way to keep sliced avocados firm and bright for longer: Simply apply a light layer of honey onto the surface.

The reason avocados brown in the first place is largely due to their content of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzymes. Enzymes break down food molecules, and in this case, they cause formation of dark pigments as soon as an avocado is exposed to oxygen. 

When honey is applied to the cut edge, however, it slows this chemical reaction by creating a kind of seal that limits air from reaching the vulnerable green flesh. It's also said that the common sweetener contains compounds and antioxidants that slow or inactivate PPO's enzymatic reaction with oxygen. So, when applied to avocados shortly after cutting into them, a little bit of honey can go a long way in preventing that undesired browning.

When slathering honey on avocados, keep it light

If you want optimal freshness when storing sliced avocado halves for a future batch of homemade guacamole, it's key to act quickly. Right after you cut into an avocado, whisk together some honey and water until the mixture is thinned-out. This step is especially important if your honey is thick or crystalized, since watering it down will ensure it spreads more evenly and doesn't form clumps or break the fruit. You can also melt a little honey in the microwave to make it a more of a liquid consistency. Just let it cool down completely before applying to the avocado.

You'll want to spread an even, light layer that covers all of the fruit's green flesh; to do so, it can be good to use a pastry brush. Or, carefully brush the honey on the exposed edge with a spoon. Once you've got a nice even layer, store your avocado in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also apply honey to cut chunks or slices of avocado — just give the pieces a good toss in the sweetener and they'll be good to go.

With just a light layer of honey, any sweetness on the avocado itself should be minimal. Of course, some subtle sweetness isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could even inspire new twists to your favorite avocado toast recipe. For instance, mash up your honey-preserved avocado with more nectar, then spoon it on top of bread and garnish with chili flakes for the perfect flavor combo.

Other tips for keeping your avocados fresh

Once you know how to store your avocados (whole or sliced), the culinary options are pretty endless — and colorfully fresh. Start by monitoring the ripeness of the whole fruit by giving it a light squeeze. It should be firm, yet have a soft spring back without being mushy. Once it's ready to eat, put your avocado in the fridge to extend its quality. You can even submerge the whole fruit in water for an extra measure.

While honey works wonders to create an oxygen barrier and prevent browning once sliced, there are other methods that work if you don't have honey on hand. You can also brush on a layer of olive oil (or other neutral-tasting fat) to limit the cut fruit's exposure to air. Or coat your avocado with lemon or lime juice for an acidic barrier that lowers the pH and limits the enzymatic activity that causes browning. 

Once you've covered your avocado in honey or one of the other ingredients, just make sure to store it sealed in the fridge and eat the sliced fruit within a few days. With these tricks, you can say goodbye to browning and embrace a variety of creative avocado recipes