Photo: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani
I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to food myths-or at least when it comes to debunking them-which is why I figured out awhile ago that putting an avocado pit in guacamole does not keep it from turning brown. But a new book, Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them: And 100 Other Myths About Food and Cooking by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, helped me to understand why. It seems that the pit trick does work, albeit in a tiny way: It limits the oxygen exposure for the guacamole that's directly underneath the pit. Alas, the rest of the dip will turn brown as the avocado's compounds absorb light. So, how do you keep guacamole from browning? Read on...
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There are four keys to keeping your guacamole green, and they all stem from keeping oxygen away from the mashed avocado: (1) Don't make it ahead; (2) make sure there's a vitamin C-rich acid, like lemon or lime juice, in the mix; (3) keep it chilled once you do make it; and (4) limit the guacamole's exposure to oxygen by putting plastic wrap down right on the surface.
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You can also disregard two common myths when trying to figure out how to buy summer fruits, namely "squeeze a peach to tell if it's ripe" and "tap a watermelon to tell if it's sweet." Neither works (and knocking on a watermelon just looks funny). To tell if a peach is ripe, observe the color: Green is bad; golden with a pink tinge is good. It should feel heavy in your hand (as it matures, it gets bloated, and thus hefty, as it holds more moisture). Finally, take a sniff. It should smell irresistible. To judge a watermelon's ripeness, again, check the color. It should have a faint bleaching or fading between the stripes on the skin. And turn it over, exposing the part that rested on the ground. It should be creamy white or pale yellow-not green, because then it's underripe and was picked too soon.
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