Categories: Food, Storage

How to Store Avocados (Ripe, Cut, Unripe, Guacamole and More)


Give in to your avocado cravings by learning everything you need to know about this superfood, including the various ways on how to store avocados so you can keep them fresh longer.

Whole and cut avocados on wooden bowl.

Green-buttery-goodness, we’re smack in the middle of an avocado gold rush!

It seems like anywhere you turn you can find some food, drink, or even a beauty product that contains avocados. Recipes for avocado toast have been featured in prolific publications like the New York Times. Even top beauty magazines praise the fruit’s ability to hydrate dry winter skin.

People worldwide are crazy for them. So crazy, in fact, that many like to joke that the reason millennials can’t afford to buy houses is that they spend all their money on avocados.

Despite the newness of the craze, avocados in themselves are nothing new. Avocados have long played prominent roles in Latin American cuisine. It’s only in recent years that their popularity in the Western world has grown exponentially. Demand for avocados has exploded worldwide – Americans alone are now consuming more than 2 billion pounds of avocados each year.

Related: All types of food storage

Check out our guide below for details on every single avocado storage method. But remember, before you can pick a storage technique for the avocado, you must determine its ripeness.

1. How to Store Cut Avocados

Cut Avocados Surrounding a Bowl of Guacamole

Avocados are very popular for their taste and health benefits, but many are also drawn to them because of the way they look. We’re not talking about their bland and bumpy outsides. Rather, their appeal is in the trademark, bright green color. The appearance of food can play a big role in people’s perception of taste, and nothing looks better than fresh, green avocado.

The trouble with avocados is getting them to stay that way. They’re notorious for becoming discolored after the skin is broken. Similar to apples, avocados that have been exposed to the air for too long will start to turn brown. Talk about unappetizing!

The key to avoiding this unpleasant color change – and helping your avocados last longer – is to prevent a process called oxidation.

Oxidation occurs when the avocado comes in contact with oxygen in the air. So, the key to preserving avocados after they’ve been cut is to limit exposure to air. Here’s how:

1. Refrigeration

Like other types of produce, refrigerating avocados will help them last longer. This is partly because of the low temperatures (which are important during both transit and storage in every step of the supply chain) but also because refrigerators are airtight once you close them.

Cons: Air still gets into the refrigerator whenever the door is opened, meaning your avocados will still turn brown. Refrigeration alone won’t be enough to keep them fresh.

Pros: Works very well when combined with other methods!

2. Avo Savers

These come in all shapes and sizes to fit a variety of foods. They’re usually made of silicone or plastic and shaped like half of an avocado. They’re made to fit over the opened end and form an airtight seal. Store in a refrigerator for best results!

Cons: You’ll have to buy them if you don’t have one lying around the house

Pros: They’re tried and true, so you know they’ll work. In fact, many celebrities like the Business Director of Sbobet say they prefer this method.

3. Vacuum Sealing Bags

If you want to get really fancy, you can use vacuum sealing bags to keep your ‘cados fresh. These are similar to Ziploc bags but come with a special machine that vacuums out all the air, so everything inside is sealed up nice and tight. Afterward, just pop it in the fridge till you’re ready to eat.

Cons: The bags and vacuum machine can be pricey. They are only really worth the cost if you’re going to use them frequently.

Pros: You’ll never have avocados – or any other food, for that matter – go bad again!

You can also spritz your avocado slices or cubes with something acidic like lemon or lime juice. This will help fight off the discoloration and add a pop of flavor!

2. How to Store Ripe, Uncut Avocados

Ripe, uncut avocados

Avocados that are ripe and ready to eat are pretty easy to store! As long as the skin has not been pierced, you don’t have to worry about limiting oxygen exposure.

Ripe, unopened avocados do best in the fridge and out of direct sunlight. Depending on how old they are, you can keep them in there for 3 to 4 days. Once you cut into them, just use the steps above to keep them fresh.

3. How to Store Unripe Avocados

Unripe Avocados

So, let’s say you’ve bought some rock-hard avocados that won’t be ready for a few days, but you really want to use them soon. If you get a little creative with the way you store them, you can actually accelerate the ripening process.

Keep in mind that avocados – like many other fruits – will continue to ripen after they are picked. So, no matter what you do, they will ripen eventually on their own. But if you don’t want to wait a week to make your famous guacamole, try these storage tricks:

1. Skip the Refrigerator

The cold will only slow the ripening process. This method is great for foods that are ready to go but not so much for underripe avocados.

2. Keep Them at Room Temperature

You can let your avocados chill on your countertop for a few days, ideally out of direct sunlight at room temperature.

3. The Paper Bag Method

Put your underripe avocados in a brown paper bag with a few other fruits and roll the top closed. Keep it on your kitchen counter for a day or two, again out of direct sunlight. The other fruits will naturally release chemicals that accelerate ripening. The closed bag helps ensure the avocados get all the chemicals. Bananas and apples work particularly well.

Now, some people buy underripe avocados on purpose because they don’t plan on using them for a while. If you’re looking to make your avocados last, you can throw them in the fridge. Depending on how ripe the avocado was when you bought it, you can keep it fresh for up to a week in your refrigerator.

4. How to Store Unripe Avocados That Have Been Cut

Unripen Avocados That Have Been Cut

You were all pumped up to make your favorite avocado toast, but when you cut into the avocado, you realized it was still a few days from being ready to eat. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

You don’t have to suffer through the unpleasantness of eating unripe food, and you also don’t have to throw it away! Save your money and follow these tips:

1. Store Them on the Counter

You can keep your cut avocados out at room temperature for a day or two to help them soften. Just make sure you cover them with plastic wrap or keep them in a Ziploc bag to prevent oxidation. It doesn’t have to be airtight – a little oxygen will actually be helpful in this case.

2. Use an Acidic Agent to Prevent Browning

In addition to keeping them out of the fridge, give your cut avocados a generous sprinkle of an acidic agent. Lime juice, lemon juice, or vinegar will do the trick. One tablespoon for every two regular-sized avocados should work. This is especially important if you’re going to let them get some oxygen.

If you’re looking for a way to make your avos last a long time, try this:

3. Pickling

Yup, that’s right. You can pickle avocados. Just cut up your avocado into cubes or slices and submerge them in a vinegar brine. If you want to get fancy, you can add extra spices. You can get as creative as you like!

Avocados will stay good like this for about one week, as long as you refrigerate them and keep them submerged in the brine. Don’t be alarmed if they being to look discolored – avocados tend to take on the color of the brine. You’ll know they’re going bad when they start to become mushy and lose their shape.

Pickling foods allows you to store them for longer because the vinegar brine inhibits the growth of bacteria, preventing them from ‘going off’.

4. Freeze Them

A lot of people don’t know you can freeze avocados, but it’s actually a great way to preserve them – if you do it right. Whole or sliced avocados don’t freeze well, but avocado mashes do just fine. Just add a little lemon or lime juice and seal it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.

It’s important to note that this technique doesn’t always work well for avocado mashes that have other ingredients in them, such as guacamole. The avocado itself will be fine, but the other components like tomatoes, cilantro, and onions might not freeze well.

5. How to Store Guacamole and/or Avocado Mashes

Guacamole breakfast and a jar of avocado mash.

Everyone loves good guac. It makes a flavorful addition to many foods like burgers, tacos, and even salads. You can also just eat it on its own with some tasty tortilla chips. Not only does it taste great, but his crowd-pleaser is simple to make.

There are tons of guacamole recipes out there. It seems like just about every restaurant has a proprietary blend. But no matter where you go, most guac recipes tend to have a few basic ingredients in common: cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and lemon or lime juice.

This is no coincidence. All these ingredients serve a double purpose. Not only do they add flavor to the guac, but also the acids in the onions, tomatoes, and citrus juice help keep the whole thing fresh.

But sadly, the natural acids are not usually enough to prevent oxidation and discoloration. If you want to keep your guac fresh for days, do this:

1. Keep in a Plastic Container with a Tight-Fitting Lid

This will help keep out a lot of the air.

2. Use Plastic Wrap

Once the guac is in the container, press a sheet of plastic cling wrap on top of the mixture. Pat it down around the edges and make sure there is no air left underneath. When you put the lid on the container, make sure the edges of the cling wrap are closed inside. This is also a good technique to use when you freeze mashed avocados. The cling wrap helps make an airtight seal.

3. Keep the Container in the Fridge

Again, this helps keep the oxygen away, and the low temperature will help prevent spoiling.

4. Keep It Covered while It’s Out

When it’s time to enjoy your guac, don’t throw out the cling wrap unless you intend to eat it all right then and there. One of the best ways to preserve it is to only uncover what you’re going to eat. Take a scoop, and then replace the cling wrap. You can also put the amount you want in a separate bowl and put the rest back in the fridge!

6. How to Store Avocado Smoothies

Avocado Smoothies

It might seem strange at first, but avocados actually make a great addition to any smoothie. In addition to all their vitamins and minerals, avocados add a smooth, creamy texture to smoothies. As a bonus, they don’t add the calories and animal fats found in dairy.

The best way to store an avocado smoothie is to freeze it. Just make sure the container you freeze it in is airtight to prevent freezer burn. Put it in the refrigerator 30 minutes for up to an hour before you plan on drinking it, and you’re set!

You can also store your smoothies in the refrigerator if you prefer a less frozen texture. Just keep in mind that the shelf life of these smoothies will be 3 or 4 days maximum.

A bowl of avocado mash with a tortilla sticking on top surrounded by a whole avocado, a cut avocado, cut limes, chilis, and nacho tortillas.

So, just what it is about these bumpy little fruits (that’s right! they’re a fruit) that’s got everyone so excited? There are quite a few things, as it turns out:

Taste

Obviously one of the biggest things that makes any food popular is its taste. The great thing about avocados is that they’re one of the rare foods that taste good and are good for you.

Avocados contain lots of (healthy!) fats, which scientists think is a big part of the reason we just can’t seem to get enough of them. Our brains tend to crave fatty foods like cheese, French fries, etc. – they think these foods taste better than say, a piece of broccoli.

Scientists believe that this is a survival mechanism that developed in humans to help ensure we consumed enough fat and calories to make it through lean times. We seem to have taken it to the opposite end of the spectrum in modern times, but avocados are a great, healthy way to satisfy your cravings.

Health Benefits

Avocados come with a myriad of health benefits. Like, a crazy amount. Who knew that one little fruit could work so hard for you?

Avocados are so good for you, in fact, that they’re often referred to as a “superfood”. This special moniker is reserved for only the healthiest of foods. Let’s take a closer look at why avocados deserve this coveted title:

Good fats

Unlike most other fruits and vegetables, avocados contain a lot of fat. You might think this would be a strike against them. But actually, the fats in avocados are really good for you. They’re called “Omega fatty acids”. The average avocado has 14 to 16 grams of these healthy fats.

Good fats can be hard to come by in a lot of other foods. Many people have to get them through their daily supplements (think Omega-3 fish oil pills). But not anymore, thanks to avocados.

Vitamins

Avocados are also a very rich source of vitamins. Not only do they contain 9 different vitamins, but they have them in abundance. One serving of avocado (3.5 ounces) will give you:

  • 26% of the daily recommended value (DV) of Vitamin K
  • 17% DV of Vitamin C
  • 13 to 14% DV of Vitamin B5 and B6
  • 10% DV of Vitamin E
  • 20% DV of Folate

Avocados also contain smaller amounts of Vitamin A as well as thiamine (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and niacin (Vitamin B3). All these little molecules work hard to boost your immune system. As an additional bonus, they keep your hair and skin in top condition.

Minerals

In addition to all those vitamins, avocados also contain a ton of other minerals and nutrients like:

  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorous

Avocados are also an excellent source of potassium – they’re actually one of the best. The average avocado has a whopping 14% of your daily needed potassium. That’s 40% more than a banana. They also even have 2 grams of protein, so they’re a great food to eat after a hard workout.

So, avocados are full of good stuff, but what exactly does it all do? Well, all those good fats help lower bad cholesterol. They’re also thought to be good for brain health and preserving memory. They also help people lose weight, and they help your body absorb good nutrients from other foods. Talk about a superfood.

Versatility

Avocados are a very versatile fruit, which is another reason they are so popular. They can be used in a million different ways – mashed, chopped, sliced, pickled – they can even be grilled or blended into smoothies!

This versatility means it is now easier than ever to reap all their health benefits. Even people who don’t like the taste of avocados can still enjoy them – it can be very easy to obscure their natural taste and texture when mixed with other foods.

So, What’s the Catch?

If you’re thinking that avocados sound too good to be true, you’d be right – to an extent. For all their good qualities and benefits, there are a few downsides.

The first is that avocados can only grow in certain climates. Unless you live in places with a tropical or Mediterranean climate, buying avocados doesn’t help your local farmers and economy.

The second is that, because they can only grow in certain places, most avocados have to be imported. Did you know they’re native to Mexico, and the most popular avo variety sold in the US is a Mexican-Guatemalan hybrid? Having to import them means they can be a bit pricier than locally grown produce. It can also increase the carbon footprint of your meal, sometimes meaning they’re not the most environmentally friendly addition to your salad.

The third issue is that many people find avocados difficult to store. A lot of people just let them sit out on the counter. But as any avo lover knows, if the avocado is already ripe, this will just make it spoil faster. Another common complaint is that avocado will become discolored and turn brown quickly if left out. Luckily, there are many easy solutions to these problems.

There are tons of ways to store avocados and avocado-based foods. It all depends on these key factors:

  • How ripe they are at the time of purchase
  • When you want to use them
  • What you want to use them for

How to Tell If an Avocado Is Ripe

Cut slices of avocado and a ripe uncut avocado.

Before you can do anything with your avocados, you need to figure out the ripeness factor. For many avo lovers, this is the tricky part. But once you learn what to look for, you’ll never have to worry about cutting into an avocado and finding a rotten, mushy mess.

This also will come in handy when you’re picking them out at the grocery store! Avocados can be pricey, so you don’t want to waste your money on overly ripe avocados that will go bad before you have the chance to use them.

By the same token, you don’t want to buy all the ingredients for the perfect guacamole, only to get home and discover that your avocados are still days away from being ripe enough to use.

So, how can you tell when an avocado is ripe? The most important things to look for are:

  • Texture
  • Color
  • Firmness

With other types of produce, you can get away with using just one or two of these indicators. But to see how ripe an avocado is, you’ll need to use all three.

Avocado can be eaten today if:

  • The skin is very dark green or black
  • The skin is bumpy all over
  • The avocado is soft but not mushy – it should bounce back after a gentle squeeze

Avocado will be ready in a day or two if:

  • The skin is dark green or green with black specks
  • The skin is only partially bumpy
  • It feels very firm when squeezed

Avocado should be ready in three or four days if:

  • The skin is green
  • The skin is mostly smooth
  • It feels hard when squeezed

And that’s all there is to it! Once you’ve figured out the ripeness level of your avocados, you can plan when to use them in meals – and how you want to store them.

Final Thoughts

Avocados taste amazing and are great for your health. If you store them right (and it’s so easy), they are well worth the price.

Categories: Food, Storage


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