Are the Brown Parts of Your Avocado Safe to Eat?

updated May 30, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Olga Zarytska)

When you cut open an avocado you’ve been saving for the perfect moment of ripeness and the inside starts to turn slightly brown, you might be disappointed, but there’s no reason to throw the whole thing away. Yes, it might be a little mushy. And yes, you might even be tempted to call it gross-looking. The truth is, it’s actually still safe to eat.

When your avocado turns brown after you cut it open or scoop it into a bowl, all that’s happening is a chemical reaction: When the flesh of the fruit interacts with the oxygen in the air it produces melanin. The same thing happens when you slice an apple. Sure, the pieces might not be as crisp but you can still safely eat them. This is not a sign that your avocado has spontaneously begun to spoil, though we often associate a brown color on food as a sign it’s gone bad.

Of course, you do need to use your best judgment. If you’ve left your avocado out for a week and it’s turned completely brown and squishy, then yes, you likely missed the window to eat it and unfortunately it needs to go in the trash. But if you’re making guacamole and you start to see some slight discoloration in an otherwise perfectly ripe avocado, then you’re in the clear. All you have to do is get over the notion that just because it lost its true color, it’s unappetizing. If you want to maintain the color longer, here’s a pro tip: Squeeze a little lemon juice over the avocado to slow down the browning process.

As This Is Insider recently pointed out, the only difference in taste might be that the browned avocado could taste a bit bitter or have a softer texture, but it also might taste exactly the same as a normal avocado. Just remember what you learned in kindergarten: Never judge a book by its cover. A slightly browned avocado is still worthy of all the love and admiration we lavish on its green counterparts.