How to Store Avocados So They Stay Fresh for as Long as Possible

Learn where to keep ‘em, how to freeze ‘em, and more.

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Avocados are a notoriously fickle fruit—one second they seem like they're days away from being ripe enough to enjoy, and the next second you're left with an overripe mess with a one-way ticket to the garbage. This unpredictability isn't just expensive and aggravating, it also contributes to food waste.

While there's no magical gadget that will clue you in to the frustratingly small window you have to eat a perfectly ripe avocado, there are some tricks you can use, and steps you can take to ensure your avocados last long enough to become homemade guacamole or a healthy toast topper. As you'll see, exactly how you store an avocado depends on a few factors, including how ripe the fruit is, and what you intend to use it for.


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How to Store a Whole Avocado

If you've purchased an avocado that isn't yet ripe in the hopes that you can perfectly time that guacamole craving (we've all been there!), the best way to store the fruit is to keep it whole and place it on your countertop, away from other fruits and vegetables. An unripe avocado will typically last on your countertop for four to five days. However, since avocados can be tricky, it's important to check for ripeness daily. You'll know your avocado is ripe when it yields under light pressure from your fingertips and boasts a dark green to black skin with a bumpy texture.

If your avocado is already ripe (or is getting there) you can place it in your refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for several days, depending on its level of ripeness. When putting your avocado in the fridge, it's best to store it in an airtight food storage container or in the produce/crisper drawer. Just note that if your avo is in the produce drawer with bananas or apples, the ethylene gas from these fruits will speed up the ripening process, so check it frequently.


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How to Store Cut Avocado

Sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you cut into an avocado, only to later realize you can't quite eat the whole thing. Luckily, there are a few ways to store cut avocado so it lasts (a bit) longer. If the avocado is already diced or mashed, your best course of action is to grab a food storage container. However, instead of using the corresponding top, cover the container with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap comes in direct contact with the avocado and there are no air pockets. This will help prevent oxygen from getting in and turning your bright green avo flesh brown. Some people also add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice, but that obviously changes the flavor of the avocado and (speaking from personal experience) is a hack that doesn't always work. Chances are, some of the avocado flesh will turn brown, but you can always scrape off and discard those bits when you're ready to enjoy the leftovers. If it's stored well, avocado flesh should last in the fridge for an additional day or two.

Believe it or not, you can also store half an avocado with the skin and pit intact. In fact, leaving the skin on and the pit inside actually helps prevent oxidation, and keeps the interior flesh fresh. While you can purchase some clever half-avocado storage solutions, the easiest way to preserve half of the fruit is to rub some olive oil or lime juice on the flesh, then cover the whole thing (even the skin side) tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator. Again, this will help prevent pesky oxygen from seeping in and ruining a perfectly good fruit, and should keep the avocado intact for about two days.

While many TikTok users swear that storing cut avocado in water prevents the fruit from turning brown, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently spoken out against this viral hack, noting that keeping an avocado in water can actually render it unsafe to eat. "The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens (i.e. Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., etc.) that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water," an FDA official told Good Morning America.


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According to the official, research performed by FDA scientists has proven that this storage method has the potential to be harmful. "[The research] has shown that Listeria monocytogenes has the potential to infiltrate and internalize into the pulp of avocados when submerged in refrigerated dump tanks within 15 days during refrigerated storage," the official added.

And if you think that giving the exterior of the avocado a good scrub is the answer, think again. "In this case, even surface disinfecting the avocado skin prior to slicing would not be able to remove the contamination," the FDA official concluded.


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Can You Freeze Avocado?

Yes, ripe avocados can totally be frozen, and there are a few ways to do it. Just know that freezing an avocado changes the fruit's creamy texture, so while you can still use frozen avocado in guacamole or in a smoothie, we wouldn't recommend eating it plain.

To freeze an avocado half, remove the pit and skin. Then, sprinkle some lemon or lime juice on the flesh and cover the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap. To minimize the avocado's contact with oxygen even further, place it in a vacuum-sealed bag or an airtight plastic bag.

If you plan on using your frozen avocado for a smoothie or dressing, you're actually better off puréeing it first. Using a blender, purée the avocado with a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice until it's smooth. Then, transfer the purée to an airtight freezer bag, where it should keep for approximately four months.

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