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  • Writer's pictureScott Rotella

Guacamole Hack: The ultimate method to keep your guac green!


A bowl of guacamole preserved with sodium metabisulfite
A bowl of guacamole preserved with sodium metabisulfite

Do you love avocado and guacamole? I certainly do! It didn’t start that way! My family moved from Pennsylvania to San Diego during my high school years. Until that point, I really had no knowledge of avocado. Seems odd since you find it everywhere these days. I was invited to a pool party with some new high school friends. I asked what I could bring and guacamole and tortilla chips were requested. I thought:  Hmm! I have never had avocado, so I certainly never had guacamole, but I’ve got this!  


Of course, this was prior to having online access to things like recipes. At least I knew the primary ingredient was avocado. So I went to the store and asked a produce guy how to make guacamole. He pointed to a packet of "guacamole mix" and told me to add that to two avocados along with a squeeze of lime juice. I bought a few packets and a bunch of lovely green avocados. Yep… green…hard as rock green. Well, my resulting dip was absolutely repulsive and went directly into the trash. Back to the store I went and bought some premade guacamole. I didn’t even try it at the party. I was afraid of it. 


Then my family had an outing at a Mexican restaurant (which was a new cuisine for us). My meal came with a scoop of guacamole. I eyed it with suspicion, but decided to try it with a bite of my entree. It was good, so I tried it with a chip and I loved it. I have been an avocado fanatic ever since!  


 Of course, I also quickly learned that guacamole does not last long. I tried every trick to prevent oxidation. They said to store it with the avocado seed. That didn’t work. They said to add more lime juice. That slightly slowed it. They said to press plastic wrap onto the surface.  That kind of worked.  I wanted a better solution.


More recently, I saw some hacks that were interesting. One said to make Pico de Gallo and cover your guac with it to make a barrier. Pico is in my recipe, so why not? When ready to serve just mix it together. That does work well, but it didn’t solve the leftover guac. 


The most recent hack I saw was to cover it with water when ready to put into the refrigerator. Next time you use it, pour off the water and mix it up a bit. That absolutely works as it creates a barrier from oxygen and keeps it green. It will still age, but will stay green. But I find that it changes the texture a bit.  No matter what, you are adding water to your guacamole.  Not really what I want.  


A few years ago, I found a sodium product that is often used in the food industry as a preservative. It is called sodium bisulfite and is an antioxidant that kills fungus and microbes. It is in the sulfite family and a sibling to the sulfites that you find in wine. You know, the stuff that folks say causes headaches. I did some initial research and was initially turned off by it.  It just seemed a little scary that a product used as a food preservative and also used to process textiles. I am generally not a fan of preservatives, which is why I make most of our household sauces and condiments. However, I also found a study commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on sodium bisulfite. I have great respect for the EFSA as they are more strict on what can be added to consumer foods than the FDA. They reported that it is safe and has no impacts to individuals in certain amounts. The amounts they consider safe are many, many times what is needed to keep guacamole green. The FDA has also labeled this as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).  


I started using food grade sodium metabisulfite in my guacamole a few years ago.  This is another family member of the sulfite clan. When added to moisture, it automatically becomes sodium bisulfite. A surprisingly small amount will keep guacamole green. I have not tested how long it will last before it starts to turn brown, but I have had guac in the fridge for a week that was still green (yes, that went into the compost bin). It really is impressive. In addition to preventing guacamole from turning brown it also prevents vitamin and flavor loss. It also has no flavor of its own, so you are tasting pure avocado.  


Using Sodium Metabisulfite


When using this to keep your avocado green, you want to use .2 grams per avocado.  Below is a picture of .8 grams of sodium bisulfite used for 4 avocados. That is about 1/4 of an ounce.  I included a dime for scale.


A picture of .8 grams of sodium metabisulfite
A picture of .8 grams of sodium metabisulfite


It is important to measure this with a scale that can measure in tenths of a gram.  I have been using this scale that can measure .01 of a gram. It is reasonably priced. I also use this when baking for items such as salt and yeast. It is much more sensitive than a standard kitchen scale.


Making Guacamole


This is our go-to recipe for guacamole.  It is basically avocado and Pico de Gallo.  However, we usually double the Pico recipe to have some as a secondary dip.  It is one of my favorite salsas.  So make sure to make both recipes. We like a creamy and chunky guacamole. If you like your creamy with no chunks, just mash all of the avocado.




As a side note:

  • I also love avocado toast as a morning snack. However, I usually only use half of an avocado on my English muffins. Half an avocado does not do well in the fridge! To solve this, I mash up a couple of avocados and sprinkle on some salt, granulated garlic and .4 grams of sodium metabisulfite and I have a few days of avocado ready for my English muffins.

  • Most folks scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon from an avocado half. I like to quarter my avocados. When quartered, the skin peels of cleanly and easily...making it easy to slice or cube for your desired application.


Note:


  • Some of the links on this page and other posts may be affiliate links where we get a small commission for any resulting purchases. I use this to offset the costs of creating and running this website and appreciate your support.

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