There are few things as satisfying as cutting into a perfectly ripe avocado, gently removing the seed, and then digging into the smooth, green flesh. Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits to include in your diet — they’re packed with nutrients, fiber, and essential antioxidants.
Unfortunately, avocados are also notorious for their short shelf life. There is a very narrow window between ripeness and a mushy, brown avocado.
To minimize waste and maximize the benefits of your fruit, itâ€™s best to learn how to store avocados to prolong their shelf life.
Avocados are very forgiving in terms of preservation. You can store them whole, cut, or even mashed.
1. Mashed Avocado and/or Guacamole
If you want to store guacamole or mashed avocado, add a drizzle of lemon or lime juice to the mixture to prevent browning.
Pack the mixture tightly in a glass container to remove air pockets. Pour around Â½ inch of water on top and seal the container as tightly as possible. Mashed avocado will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
2. Cut Avocados
Storing a half-cut avocado is similar to keeping a mashed version of it. All you need is lime or lemon juice and cling wrap or some water.
Drizzle lemon or lime juice on the ripe avocado flesh and cover it tightly with cling wrap. You can also place the cut side of the avocado in some water and put it in an air-tight container.
If you cut into an unripe avocado, drizzle lemon or lime juice on the flesh and then join the two halves and cling wrap them together. Refrigerate the avocado and check the ripeness every day.
3. Whole Avocados
Unpeeled avocados are safe from oxidation and easier to store, but they can still ripen quickly if you donâ€™t pay attention.
Refrigeration slows down the ripening process so you can make your avocados last longer. Just put them in the low-humidity drawer, and they should keep for two to three days.
You can keep unripe avocados on the counter until they ripen in a few days. Check for ripeness by gently pressing on the skin. Ripe avocados will yield to pressure.
How To Store Avocados — 7 Best Methods
So now we’ll get into the specific methods that will help you extend the shelf life of your delicious avocados.
On the Countertop
The easiest and most convenient way to store avocados is to keep them on the countertop at room temperature. Once ripe, they must be consumed within two or three days.
Unripe avocados, which are generally harder and lighter in color than ripe ones, can be stored similarly. If you want to speed up the ripening process, you can put them in a paper bag with bananas or apples. For more information about getting avocados to ripen, read our blog post on 6 methods for ripening avocados.
If you want to store ripe avocados in the long term, you can freeze them for up to six months.
Freezing a whole, ripe avocado is pretty simpleâ€”just put it in a freezer bag and remove the air pockets. For sliced or mashed avocados, you must add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice before freezing. This prevents browning.
Simply leave it to thaw in the refrigerator for an hour or two to defrost.
The best time to pickle avocados is when they are on the verge of ripening.
To pickle avocados, mix one cup of water, one cup of white vinegar, and one tablespoon of salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Slice three medium avocados in big chunks. Place them in an airtight mason jar and pour in the pickling mixture. Let the jar cool down before putting it in your refrigerator.
For the best flavor, wait at least 24 hours before using it in your recipes. Pickled avocados can last in the refrigerator for one week.
For a Mexican-inspired flavor, try this pickled avocado recipe.
In the Refrigerator
Store avocados in the refrigerator when you want to slow down the ripening process. The best time to put them in the fridge is when they are just about to ripen. You can store unpeeled, whole avocados in the refrigerator for two weeks.
You can also store a cut or sliced avocado, but you need to prevent the flesh from oxidizing and browning. Drizzle a little lemon juice on the exposed flesh before wrapping it in cling wrap. The citric acid of lemon will slow down oxidation, so you donâ€™t have to worry about a brown and mushy avocado.
Vacuum Sealing Bags
Once you slice an avocado, it reacts to the oxygen instantly. Extended exposure to air will make the flesh turn brown. To stop the oxidation, you have to act fast.
This is where vacuum sealing bags come in handy. You can preserve the avocado and prevent browning entirely by sealing it in an airless bag.
The best news is that you can vacuum seal avocado in any form: sliced, mashed, or mixed with other ingredients for guacamole. You can even freeze these bags for long-term storage.
You can find a range of special avocado storage solutions that can help prevent your freshly cut avocado from going brown or bruising.
These keepers are usually shaped like avocado to ensure your fruit fits perfectly and doesnâ€™t take too much space in your fridge. The avocado is placed cut-side down to limit the air it comes in contact with.
When you buy an avocado keeper, make sure you get one thatâ€™s BPA-free and of food-grade quality.
Use an Acidic Agent to Prevent Browning
You are already familiar with the lemon or lime juice trick to prevent browning. But you can use other types of acids to ward off oxidation.
Place an unpeeled avocado flesh-side down on a bed of chopped onions in an airtight container. Onions are rich in sulfur compounds that slow oxidation that causes browning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Avocados Keep Better In Water?
Avocado skin and flesh turn brown as it ripens. If you have a whole, uncut avocado, you can prolong its ripe window by submerging it in water in an airtight container and then putting it in the fridge. The lack of oxygen slows down the oxidation and ripening process, and you can keep your avocado fresh and edible for a bit longer.
You can also place a cut or sliced avocado in a container flesh-side down and pour about Â½ inch of water on top before sealing it. Again, the water and limited air exposure can extend the avocadoâ€™s edible lifespan.
How To Tell When Avocados Have Gone Bad
A ripe, healthy avocado has dark green to nearly-black skin with a slightly bumpy texture. It must be slightly firm when squeezedâ€”it should yield a bit but not feel mushy. Ripe avocado flesh is light green with a yellow tint.
There are a few ways to tell if your avocado has gone bad. If your fingers leave indentations when you squeeze an avocado, it is overripe. When you slice it open, and the flesh has gone brown or moldy, it should go straight to the trash.
If the flesh is only just beginning to brown in a few spots and the rest is still mostly green, check for a sour smell or stringy sections. In either case, the avocado cannot be salvaged.
Final Words On Storing Avocados
Sometimes you don’t need to use up a whole avocado, yet you still want to the benefits of this delicious fruit in your meals. So instead of resigning yourself to wasting leftover fruit, why not try one of the methods for storing avocados? It may motivate you to bring avocado into your diet more!
Did we miss a great avocado storage method you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below! To learn more about avocados in general, read our avocado blog posts.