Have you ever gone to the store, picked up an avocado that wasn’t ripe, put it back, picked up another, only to find the whole batch isn’t ripe and not buy any at all? How about the times when you only needed half or a fourth of an avocado, and you find yourself wasting the other half because it browns too quickly. Don’t even get me started on the mess they make if you try to cut and peel an unripe one. All in all, the avocado “fruit” is a tricky food to master. In the early 1900’s, the food industry produced an artificial gas to mimic the naturally produced ethylene gas that comes from certain ripening fruits. With high consumer demands for certain fruits during the off season, the industry needed a way to expedite the fruit ripening process. How does this relate to Keto? On a ketogenic diet avocados are a staple in the kitchen. They are rich in potassium and high in fat, making it a great nutrient dense choice. There are natural ways to preserve these fruits to make them readily available and stay fresh for longer.
Two easy ways to keep your avocados fresh are to:
- Squeeze lemon or lime juice on the avocados flesh that is exposed to the air and then place it in a container or plastic baggy.
- Keep the pit/seed in one half of the avocado.
How Exactly Does Lemon or Lime (Acidic) Juice Prevent Spoilage?
Lemons and limes are known to be quite tart in taste similar to most organic acid foods. Organic acids play a functional role as a protector against microbial growth. When food begins to spoil, brown or get rancid, they are loosing their antioxidant protection, that naturally breaks down in foods, by a reaction called oxidation. The reaction occurs when chemicals in foods, such as the flesh of an avocado is exposed to oxygen.
Once fruits are picked in harvest, the acidity decreases and they begin to ripen. When fruits ripen, they naturally become more sweet. Other fruits such as apples, will brown as well once cut into or bruised, which is known as enzymatic browning. This reaction takes place in the presence of oxygen and is when phenolic compounds will react with polyphenol oxidase enzymes to produce those brown pigments on the fruit by inhibiting the enzyme activity. Apple juice, lime juice, and lemon juice (each contains ascorbic acid), and vinegar are all examples of acids that can inhibit that enzyme activity. Now for the most important part…how to ripen avocados faster.
How to Naturally Ripen Avocados Faster
Bananas are know to let out a gas called ethylene gas once bruised or picked off the tree at harvest. When the fruits cell structure is destroyed, whether by being bruised or cut it causes phenolics and enzymes to come in contact with each other and the oxygen.
Fruits that ripen, by the ethylene hormone after harvest, are known as climactic fruits. Avocados are an example of climacteric fruits, therefore, if you place a bruised banana, that is releasing those ethylene hormones, near the climacteric avocados, they will ripen faster. You can do this by placing both fruits in a fruit bowl or in a paper bag where the ethylene from the banana will be able to permeate the immature avocados.
Why are Most Fruits Available Year Round?
Have you ever wondered how you are still able to find almost any fruit, at any time of the year at your local grocery store? It has become custom that consumers can find fruits and veggies that are out of season, in food stores because of our food industry processing methods. They have been able to produce artificial ethylene gas to expedite the ripening processes during off seasons. Unfortunately, the quality is not half as good, and easily noticed. A concern back in 1927 was the safety for consumers to be eating fruits and vegetables harvested this way, while the foods industry battled to keep up with consumer demands at the same time. Nevertheless, it is still used along with another one called calcium carbide.[2,3]
To avoid these concerns or inconveniences, it is best to plan your meals around the fruits and vegetables that are in season. This will provide you and your families the best quality and best tasting produce. However, after reading this article you do have one natural, trick up your sleeve if you need it.
Next time your at the store and the avocados aren’t ripe go ahead and pick up some avocados but be sure to grab a banana or two as well. And if someone asks you why are there bananas in your kitchen when you’re on the ketogenic lifestyle just say “because…food science”. Turns out even yellow bananas can be “keto friendly” supporters.
- 1. Understanding Food, Brown, copyright 11, Publisher Wad Edition 4, Chp 14
- 2. Artificial Ripening of Fruits and Vegetables, Bulletin 247, University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, October 1928.
- 3. Artificial Ripening of Fruits by Ethylene, September 3, 1927 Editorials, 792. The Journal of The American Medical Association, Chicago, IL.