Have you ever had trouble with keeping your avocados fresh? While we all love these delicious and creamy fruits, which are full of healthy fats and other important nutrients, eating an entire avocado at once means intaking a whole lot of calories.
As such, many health-conscious people prefer to eat half or even a quarter of an avocado at a time, so that they can reap the health benefits and deliciousness of avocado without overloading their caloric intake.
This article will cover the best ways to store avocados (including—spoiler alert—using citrus juice and plastic wrap, or a form-fitting container), how long avocados can be stored, how to tell if they’ve gone bad, and general mistakes to avoid.
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How Do You Properly Store Avocados?
When you get your avocados from the store, you may be unsure whether to place them on your counter or in your refrigerator. Well, that depends on their ripeness!
If your avocados are already ripe—that is, there’s a little give under slight pressure from your fingers and they have a darker hue—keep them in your refrigerator for a few days to help them stay fresh. The crisper drawer is best.
If, on the other hand, your avocados are still unripe—that is, very firm and usually a greener color—store them on your counter. You don’t want to place them in your fridge if they are unripe because they won’t ripen properly.
(By the way, if you want them to ripen more quickly, place them inside a paper bag, which will help concentrate the ethylene gas involved in their ripening process.)
If you cut your avocado open and it hasn’t yet ripened, don’t fret. Use an acid—like lemon or lime juice—and place the halves back together. Use plastic wrap to tightly cover it and then place it in the fridge—you’ll want to check frequently to ensure it doesn’t ripen too quickly.
Once avocados are cut open, they’re best consumed as quickly as possible. The primary culprit for their going bad is oxygen exposure. You want to use a bit of citrus juice or olive oil on the remaining half before sealing it—with the pit in—as tightly as possible, either with plastic wrap or a form-fitting container. Then place it in the fridge.
- Store and keep a cut avocado fresh for longer
- Reduces an avocado's exposure to air
How Long Can Avocados Be Stored?
Avocados bought from the store that are fully unripe—hard and lighter green—will generally ripen in two to five days on your counter (the ideal temperature is 65-70 degrees).
Once ripe, you can store them in your refrigerator but generally want to consume them within a few days if possible.
With any leftover avocado, you’ll want to use citrus juice or olive oil and consume it as quickly as possible. Generally, they will stay fine for a day or two in the fridge. A little browning of the surface is normal, which you can remove by slicing off a thin section or gently scrape it away with a spoon or knife.
How Do You Know When An Avocado Has Gone Bad?
There are a few ways to tell that an avocado has gone bad, including some (the first two in this list) that don’t even require cutting it open.
- Very soft with indentations – These avocados are definitely to be avoided. If gentle pressing leaves indentations and the avocado feels mushy, it’s likely spoiled.
- Very dark (blackened) skin – This depends on the variety, as some avocados retain a green color even when very ripe. For Hass avocados, however, one of the most common, darken as they ripen. While that’s fine, skin that looks basically black and also feels mushy is a strong indicator that the avocado is past its prime.
- Stringy flesh – Once you’ve cut open your avocado, you’ll immediately notice the flesh. It should be light green. An avocado that has gone bad will have brown or black spots. Oftentimes, though, these can simply be cut out. If the entire thing has dark and stringy flesh, however, it’s likely spoiled.
- Bad taste/smell – Sometimes you’ll detect a bad smell as soon as you open an avocado. Unfortunately, that means it should go directly in your garbage or compost. Any kind of sour or “off” taste or smell is an indicator that it’s gone bad.
- Mold – This should go without saying, but white or gray (and fuzzy) mold on avocados means they’ve gone bad. Even if there is just some isolated mold, it’s better to not try and cut it out as it’s likely spread throughout the flesh without being as visible.
Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Avocados
The main thing to avoid—again, it’s probably rather obvious—is simply cutting your avocado and leaving it out.
There was a TikTok hack that involved storing your avocado upside down in water, but this results in a less flavorful and waterlogged avocado, so it’s best to avoid this method.
Another “hack” involves storing the avocado with an onion, but after a couple of days the avocado will take on an onion flavor, which isn’t necessarily desirable.
Olive oil is another popular way of helping keep the oxidation process at bay, but citrus—lemon or lime—juice is probably better as it naturally complements the flavor of avocado and the avocado oil is more likely to build up in the crater left by the pit (if the pit has been removed).
Store Your Avocados Correctly to Keep Them Fresh
Avocados can be pretty pricey relative to other produce, so it’s always ideal if you can keep them fresh. By following the above tips, you can definitely do a better job of keeping them in good shape for the next time you want to use them.
- Keep Fresh: With the Avocado Saver , you can stop throwing away uneaten halves or using plastic wrap or aluminum foil to keep from going brown, better for the environment. Great for avocado storage.
- Premium Quality: Made of BPA-Free plastic and with a durable rubber strap, the avocado hugger will last for years. Long lasting avocado container that will last through several washes.
- Enjoy Avocados On The Go: Now you can enjoy your leftover avocados anywhere. Use the rubber strap to secure the avocado half, and toss in your lunch bag or picnic basket without worry
While tight plastic wrap is probably the best solution, we all know that single-use plastics are not great for the environment. If you’re keen on being a little more eco-friendly, you can opt for a reusable avocado holder or “hugger.”
- Store leftover avocado to stay fresh firm and odor free
- Cleverly shaped like an avocado; helps to organize your fridge in style
- BPA free; dishwasher safe
I have one like this, and it works pretty well as long as you eat up the avocado within a day or two. I usually don’t even bother with lemon or lime juice! At worst, there’s just a little surface browning to gently scrape or slice off.
All right, time to go make some delicious guacamole!