We have a buy-one-avocado-at-a-time rule in our house unless we have ABSOLUTE plans to make guacamole within 24 hours. The reason we have this rule is because we struggle to keep avocados fresh, green, and firm before using them. We always “think” that we will surely eat that second or third avocado in plenty of time. After all, we want avocados with everything: as a creamy swipe on toast with a side of Millionaire bacon, piled on hearty turkey sandwiches, or nestled beside nuts, strawberries, olives, and crackers on a snack plate. If you are like us and tend to over-purchase these green, delicious gems, it’s important to know how to store avocado properly. We are obsessed with keeping fruit fresh, as you can see in this article about how to store pineapple.
How to pick an avocado
You’re in the grocery store and you’ve been caught squeezing the avocados. Despite the odd looks, you’re trying to find the PERFECT avocado. But ask yourself: Do you need one that is ready to use to today, tomorrow, or the next day? Or in a week?
Observe the color of the avocado. The darker the avocado, the more ripe it is.
Place the avocado in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze without using your fingertips. Your fingertips could bruise the avocado. At this stage, you are trying to get a sense of how soft or firm the avocado feels.
Firm avocados are not ripe yet; the harder they are, the less ripe. This means that they will not be ready for use for several days (3 to 5 days).
A slight give in the avocado means that it is almost ripe. An avocado at this stage will likely be ready in 1 or 2 days.
A soft avocado is a ripe avocado. If the avocado is soft but not mushy, it should be consumed within 24 hours.
How to store avocado
Unripe avocados should be stored on your countertop away from heat but not in the refrigerator until they are ripe. The ideal temperature to store an avocado is about 68 degrees.
Do not store the avocados with bananas and potatoes unless you want to quickly ripen your avos. Avocados produce ethylene just like bananas and if you keep your avocados with the bananas they will ripen faster.
How to store a cut avocado
The sooner that you follow the steps below to store the unused portion of an avocado, the better preserved the avocado will be. When you cut an avocado consume the portion without the seed first. The seed helps keep the other half fresher in the refrigerator by covering a portion of the flesh.
The process below will extend the life of your avocado by 1 to 2 days:
- Rub lemon or lime juice on the exposed portion of the remaining flesh.
- Place whatever portion of the avocado remains in a plastic bag and remove as much of the air from the bag as possible before sealing it.
- Place the bagged avocado in a plastic container.
- Place the container in the refrigerator
Can you eat an avocado with brown spots inside?
It really depends, so you will need to eyeball it and maybe even taste-test it. Small brown areas that don’t go very deep are safe and probably in fine flavor, but if the spots are very soft to the touch, or have light gray or black spots, the flesh is breaking down and mold may be forming. This will affect the flavor and texture significantly.
When to refrigerate avocado
Once an avocado is ripe, you should place it in the refrigerator. At this stage, the avocado should be consumed within two days.
You can also use an avocado storage device such as this one.
Can you freeze avocado
Whole avocados do not freeze well but freshly mashed or chunked avocado will freeze for up to three months without an “off” taste. The advice is to add in a tablespoon of lemon juice or lime juice and mix it with the mashed avocado before freezing. Be sure to defrost your avocado in the refrigerator when you are ready to use. It may be mealier than when used fresh because the cell walls break down, but if you are just making guac or in a spread, it may go unnoticed by your eaters.
Over the years, I have had more than my fair share of avocados go bad on me. And it took me a long time to learn how to choose a good avocado for when I needed it. It is purely my fault for over purchasing and not remembering to transfer them to the fridge.
Grow your own avocado tree! It takes 3-6 weeks for an avocado pit to crack open and germinate, depending on breed and temperature. Just be patient, about 90% of all avocado pits start to grow at some point. You will soon have your own little avocado tree with this avocado growing kit.