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The science behind the best (and healthiest) guacamole

ACS Reactions has mashed up some fantastic avocado facts, as well as some cooking tips from the pros. Note: An earlier version of this video contained an error, which has been corrected. (Video: ACS Reactions via YouTube)

Correction: An earlier version of this video said avocados contain B-12, but they actually contain B-6!

Guacamole is great. We're generally pro-guac at this blog (though we have a blanket policy against cilantro). But as the latest Reactions video from the American Chemical Society explains above, chips and guac is practically a superfood. Or avocados are, anyway, and that's close enough for us.

[The guacamole recipe Jack White doesn’t want you to see]

Here's some science to make sure your guacamole is on point, whether you're making it in honor of Cinco de Mayo or in honor of Monday afternoon.

Get that perfect ripeness

Before we enjoy our delicious superfruits, we're going to have to make sure they're ripe. If you need to speed up the ripening process, throw the avocado into a paper bag and set it on the counter. Better yet, throw in a banana (or an apple, if that's what you have on hand).

Higher concentrations of the hydrocarbon ethylene stimulate fruit ripening. When you put an avocado into a paper bag, a higher concentration of the ethylene it releases is trapped inside with it. Other fruits — especially bananas — produce even higher quantities of the gas, so using the buddy system can speed up your avocado's ripening. Ethylene manipulation is a pretty old practice, with evidence that ancient Egyptians would slash fig skins to make them ripen faster, a process that worked because wounds stimulate ethylene production.

Keep your avocados at room temperature while they're ripening or it'll be slow going. Conversely, throw those puppies in the fridge if they start getting too mushy before their time.

Don't miss out on the health benefits

You've probably heard that avocados are full of good stuff, including cancer-fighting antioxidants. But you might not know how to get the most health benefits out of your nachos.

The aforementioned antioxidants are mostly found in the dark green layer right up against the skin of the fruit. So if you're digging the meat out with a spoon, you're probably missing out. The video at the top of this post shows a better method.

Use salt and brute force to get the most flavor

Serious Eats has some great advice on how to make your guac extra delicious. One takeaway: Some aromatics like garlic and onions will release more flavor if they're "chewed" before being added to the avocado. Grinding your aromatics with a mortar and pestle will make them pop.

Plus, add salt: The salt draws water out of the cells of the aromatic veggies you're adding, and that water carries delicious bursts of flavor.

Keep it green for days 

The classic guacamole quagmire: You want to keep eating it forever, but a few hours in the fridge turns your delicious dip brown and slimy.

Maybe you've heard that adding the pit back to the mix is the solution.



But there are ways to keep the guac green, so never fear. The real secret is as simple as keeping oxygen out. If you don't have a fancy vacuum sealer on hand, you can sprinkle the dip with lemon juice and then press cling wrap right up against the guacamole itself, not stretched over the top of the container.

In my personal experience, the best way of keeping oxygen out of your dip is to flood it. Just pour a layer of water right on top, then stick it in the fridge. It might sound gross, but when you're ready to go back for seconds you can just pour the water off and give it a stir. It'll be fresh and green.

You're welcome.
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