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My friend was telling me about a habit in the Spanish culture (I'm not sure if it's done elsewhere as well) of leaving the avocado seed inside when making guacamole. The claim is that if you leave the seed inside the guacamole, something in the seed prevents the guacamole from browning.

I'm a little skeptical - I thought that the browning was due to oxidization. If that's the case, then I don't see how a seed could help in preventing oxidization. Am I missing something? Is this true, or just a myth?

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You're correct - it's a myth, as is adding something acidic to it like lemon juice--see explanation here. As you said, what causes it to brown is the oxidation, and that's just exposure to the air. If you wrap a cut avocado (or guacamole) in plastic wrap so there's no air space between the wrap and the avocado, then it will stay green longer than areas where air is getting to it.

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Yes, it seems logical. But do you have any references? You mentioned that adding something acidic is also a myth - this answer seems to imply the opposite. –  voithos Jun 21 '12 at 1:09
    
Also, I found a link that seems to provide evidence that the seed thing is a myth. It also seems to indicate that adding something acidic does help...? –  voithos Jun 21 '12 at 1:10
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The fact that exposure to air causes browning doesn't mean that adding an acid won't inhibit it. It definitely does help, just like it does with cut fruit. You're right about the pit, though - the only part it stops from browning is the part it's in contact with instead of air. –  Jefromi Jun 21 '12 at 1:11
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Ray's answer is right. My source for this one is the Serious Eats blog, and their resident food scientist Kenji Lopez (scroll down to "On Browning" and go from there: seriouseats.com/2012/01/… –  franko Jun 21 '12 at 13:39
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I have asked about this on Skeptics, and it appears the answer is, that citric acid can be beneficial, or detrimental, depending on the variety of avocados used. But Ascorbic acid should always work. –  Flimzy Jul 7 '12 at 18:03

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