An Old Wives Tale

I love a good old wives tale. Ahhhh, age old traditions of families passing down shitty information in the kitchen is an awesome part of human and culinary history.  From oil in pasta water to prevent sticking, to cutting off the root side of an onion to prevent crying; the answers we create when we don’t know the answer is a great exhibition in human creativity and stubborn naivety.   

Family food History

There is not a more common bond with our family and its history than the memories passed down through food; now if we can just get all the info right, we’ll be unstoppable!  I myself have preached completely false information, with all of the best intentions.  But food facts and culinary history are not always in written form, so we are often only as good as our sources.  

The test

Recently I did a little test to put a doosey to bed.  Being in Southern California we’re accustomed to avocados being a regular part of our diet, usually in the form of guacamole.  Ever since I can remember, it has been a common practice to place avocado seeds in finished guacamole to help prevent browning.  I have always called bullshit on this methodology, but it continues to pop up at parties.   So here is photographic proof of this old wives tale…plus a recipe for guacamole.

As you can see; after 48 hours and intermittent checking, there is no difference in oxidation between the two bowls.  Both also displayed the same depth of oxidation.  After 24 hours the guac was still green and ready for service.


Lemon or lime juice…(citric acid), is not only a delicious flavor additive for guac, but it lowers the PH, making the oxidizing enzymatic bonds slow the #@*! down.  That gives you a few hours to bask in the bright green glory; but if you need it to last longer then that and past 24 hours, plastic wrap must be applied directly on top of said guacamole.  The browning does produce a bitter flavor, so if you did not add enough lemon or forgot to place the plastic wrap tightly over the top?  Scrape that brown off before service.


4 medium to large avocados (Haas, Fuerte, Bacon and Reed are best)
3-4T fresh lemon juice
1/2tsp or more garlic salt or kosher or sea salt
1/4tsp or more fresh ground pepper

Mash everything together and add more salt and lemon juice to taste.
*This is the most basic recipe but it works. Always feel free to add one or all of the following to taste.
minced cilantro
fresh minced garlic
minced hot chile
chopped tomato
chopped onion
pico de gallo

And don’t forget fresh fried chips if you really want to blow minds.