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Is It Safe To Eat A Brown Avocado? Here’s What A Food Scientist Has To Say

INDONESIAKININEWS.COM -  II admit, I’ve definitely encountered quite a few squishy, ​​browning avocados in my life.  Although our first inst...



INDONESIAKININEWS.COM - II admit, I’ve definitely encountered quite a few squishy, ​​browning avocados in my life. 

Although our first instinct might be to throw them out, doing so might actually be a big (wasteful) mistake, since not all brown avocados are actually bad.

In fact, most of them are perfectly safe to eat and not necessarily an indicator of spoilage. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book – or an avocado – by its cover.

To avoid ever having to waste a precious piece of fruit again, we spoke to a food scientist who has conducted endless research into an avocado’s anatomy to find out exactly what causes this change in appearance. 

Although most brown avocado cases are purely harmless, a few physical indicators can help tell the good, the bad, and the ugly (yet totally edible) avocados from one another. 

We’ve also listed the best ways to keep your cados at their peak freshness and a few tricks to tell if this tropical fruit is ready to eat before you crack it open

Why a brown avocado is actually safe to eat

To learn more about why an avocado turns brown and whether it’s safe to eat, we spoke to Savannah Braden, a bioscientist and associate director of technology at Apeel Sciences, a food tech startup that developed a plant-based coating the avocados helps and other fresh produce lasts twice as long. 

She revealed that while the once bright green fruit’s slightly tanned flesh isn’t as easy on the eyes, it’s simply the result of a safe (and naturally occurring) chemical reaction known as enzymatic browning.

“There can be a few different causes of tanning,” says Braden. “Internal flesh browning generally occurs after you cut an avocado because it destroys the fruit’s cells and releases enzymes that react with oxygen and other compounds in the fruit to create the brown coloration. 

Although it may look a little ugly, it’s perfectly safe to eat an avocado that turns brown after you cut it,” she assures. So go ahead and snack on the colorless parts of your guacamole without worrying. Better late than never, am I right?

How can you tell if an avocado has really gone bad?

Although Braden says most cases of a browning avocado are completely harmless, you may encounter one that has actually passed the point of no return. 

To locate them, Braden recommends looking for a few visual indicators to spot the corrupted ones. 

“If the avocado is already brown when you cut it, there’s probably something else at play,” she says.

"It might have been stored too cold or too warm, or it might have been dropped or damaged. In that case, you can always cut out or eat around the damaged flesh,” she says, which can save you from throwing the whole thing away.

Another clue to examining an avocado is examining where the browning is coming from…literally. “If the browning starts, especially at the stem end, it’s usually because of mold,” says Braden. 

While the word mold may sound alarming, she points out that even this type of tanning is nothing to worry about. 

“There are different types of fungi that can infect an avocado, some enter from the stalk and others can burrow through the skin. Stem rot can start before the avocado has even grown if mold spores get into the flower during pollination.”

So does that mean you have to throw it away? It depends on. 

“If your avocado is brown near the stem, trim around the area if possible,” says Braden. 

“While the mold won’t harm you, it can potentially change the flavor profile of the avocado’s flesh, so the brown parts don’t taste very good.” Best to discard.

How to prevent an avocado from browning even more

“When avocados are ripening, it’s best to store them on a shelf out of direct sunlight and extreme heat or cold. When you buy Apeel-protected avocados, you have the bonus that they retain their freshness and ripeness longer without having to be refrigerated. Apeel adds a tasteless, odorless, plant-based protective layer to the surface that helps moisture penetrate and keep oxygen out, meaning the products last twice as long,” says Braden.

Looking for even more ways to ensure your prized (and expensive) avocados are never wasted? We have them. 

“After an avocado has ripened, it begins to break down, or age. This decay process can be slowed by keeping avocados away from fruits that produce ethylene — a plant hormone that triggers ripening and then aging of fruit — like bananas and tomatoes, and by refrigerating the ripe avocados,” Braden recommends.

However, she warns that storing avocados in the fridge for too long can cause biochemical changes that affect the fruit’s flavor.

Here’s how to tell if an avocado is ready to eat *before* you crack it open

“You can usually tell if your avocado is ripe by squeezing it between your palm and fingers. If it gives slightly, it’s ready to eat. If it’s too firm, it may still ripen. On the other hand, if it’s too mushy, it may be past its prime — but it’s perfect for making guacamole,” says Braden. As in this TikTok video by user @athomewithshannon, Branden confirms that examining the stalk can tell a lot about avocado ripeness.

“When avocados are very unripe and firm, the ‘button’ at the end of the stem will sit very securely on the fruit. But as the fruit matures, that stalk button loosens and pops off easily once the fruit is almost ready to eat,” Braden points out. Also, in the above TikTok, Shannon Doherty shows that the color under the avocado’s stalk can also indicate its degree of ripeness — aka green means perfectly ripe and brown means not yet ready.

What does the color of an avocado’s skin tell you about its ripeness?

Braden cautions against judging an avocado’s ripeness based solely on its appearance and skin. 

“The skin color can vary depending on the avocado variety. Hass avocado skins, for example, turn a dark purple color after ripening. [Meanwhile]other avocados like Fuerte don’t change their skin color as they ripen and just soften,” she says.

Aside from the variety of avocados, exposure to the sun while growing on a tree can also play a role in the formation of the fruit. 

“They can develop dark, even reddish spots that can lead to uneven ripening after harvest. This does not indicate uneven internal ripening or internal fruit quality. These fruits can be just as good as the “perfect” looking ones,” says Braden.

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IndonesiaKiniNews.com: Is It Safe To Eat A Brown Avocado? Here’s What A Food Scientist Has To Say
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