A Simple Trick to Prevent Your Guacamole from Browning

iStock.com/Roxiller
iStock.com/Roxiller

So you’ve found the perfect guacamole recipe to whip up for your Cinco de Mayo party. There’s just one tiny problem: If you get stuck with leftovers, you’ll have to polish off those chips and dip pretty quickly before the mashed-up avocados start to turn an icky shade of brown.

While this may not be the worst problem to have, there’s a simple way to extend your guacamole’s shelf life, according to TheKitchn’s editor-in-chief, Faith Durand. Once your guacamole has been prepared and placed in a bowl, add a little bit of water until a thin layer covers the top. Durand, who is also a cookbook author, acknowledges that this may sound odd or unappetizing to some, but “water is a perfect barrier against oxygen, and since guacamole is dense, a little liquid won’t water it down.”

When you’re ready to eat the guacamole, just dump out the water and stir it up. Durand says you won’t notice any difference in texture, and the guacamole will keep for up to three days, making it perfect for multiple snacking sessions.

Adding the avocado pit to your bowl of pre-prepared guacamole can also technically help prevent “fruit rust,” as Live Science puts it, but it isn’t a very sound method. This is because it only protects the little bit of guacamole it touches by shielding it from oxygen. So while the areas surrounding the pit will be green, the rest will be brown. “Recommending that someone leave the pits in a bowl of guacamole to prevent browning is a bit like recommending that people cover their heads tightly with their hands to prevent their hair from getting wet in a rainstorm,” Eli MacKinnon writes for Live Science.

The internet is also rife with “kitchen hacks” for preserving whole avocados, but like anything else, some are more effective than others. If you’re going to cut an avocado and only eat half of it, Epicurious recommends eating the half without the pit. That’s because the pit, once again, can help keep your avocado green for a longer period of time. For good measure, squeeze a little lemon juice onto the surface of the exposed avocado and then cover it with plastic wrap. You can do the same for guacamole, and it should keep for at least a couple of hours as long as the plastic wrap tightly hugs the surface of the guacamole.

[h/ The Kitchn]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Fried Beer Exists—and We Have Texas to Thank (or Blame) for It

You can have your beer and eat it, too.
You can have your beer and eat it, too.
Kristy, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

For anyone who thinks beer can qualify as a meal, we have some non-scientific evidence to support your claim: it’s shaped like ravioli, it tastes like a soft pretzel, and it’s filled with warm, yeasty deliciousness.

It’s deep-fried beer.

The story behind this culinary triumph began more than 10 years ago at a bar in Texas, where Mark Zable and his wife were scanning another uninspired menu with the same few finger foods. Zable made an offhand comment about how the bar should offer fried beer, and the couple realized it wasn’t such a bad idea—especially for the state fair.

Zable, a corporate recruiter by day, was no stranger to fair fare. As he told NPR, his father had opened a Belgian waffle stand at Texas’s state fair in the 1960s, and Zable himself assumed control after about 30 years. He experimented with new items to enter into the Big Tex Choice Awards food competition—sweet jalapeño corn dog shrimp and chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls were two of his innovations—but nothing had won him a prize … yet.

Though the concept of fried beer was wacky enough to show real promise, execution proved difficult. Dropping liquid into a deep-fryer is a good way to get splattered with boiling oil, and Zable spent more than two years trying to devise an edible vessel that could both contain the beer and protect the chef. Finally, his 4-year-old son inspired a new angle, and Zable landed on a flawless design. Though Zable’s been tight-lipped on the details of that recipe, the Toronto Star reports that it’s essentially soft pretzel dough pressed into a ravioli-like pocket, filled with Guinness, and plopped into the deep-fryer for 15 to 20 seconds.

“It tastes great,” Zable told NPR. “Tastes just like eating a pretzel with a beer.”

Actual deep-fried beer from the 2010 State Fair of Texas.David Berkowitz, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

At last, Zable’s ambitious creation was ready for its debut at Texas’s 2010 state fair. He faced some tough competition at the Big Tex Choice Awards—including fried frozen margaritas, fried lemonade, and fried club salad—but even the other edible beverages were no match for Zable’s savory fusion of beer and bread. He took home the award for “Most Creative,” while “Texas Fried Fritos Pie” clinched “Best Taste.” Together, they’re a match made in state fair heaven.

[h/t NPR]