Avocados have a special place in the hearts of wellness enthusiasts—and, well, anyone who’s into brunch—but they’re kind of an unstable object of affection. Their prime ripeness window seems to fly by faster than a HIIT workout, and as such, some people swear by refrigerating them to keep them from browning quickly. But is this really the best way to store the fickle fruit?
According to Kris Sollid, RD, keeping your avocados in the fridge isn’t necessarily a bad idea—but it depends on how ripe they are and whether or not they’ve been opened.
Here’s the deal: Next time you bring an avo home, the first thing you should do is test it for ripeness. Sollid suggests giving it a gentle squeeze, since the color isn’t always the best indicator of ripeness. If it’s ripe, it should be firm, but “with a little give.”
If it’s still hard—or if it is ripe and you’re planning to use it right away—your avocado can be left out in a fruit bowl. Want to save your ripe avocado for later? That’s where your fridge comes in. “If you are not planning to use them right away, ripe, uncut avocados should be stored in the refrigerator to extend their window of ripeness,” says Sollid, the Senior Director of Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation. “Just check in on their softness after a couple of days.”
Once you’ve sliced, diced, or mashed your avocado (maybe with one of these helpful tools to help you avoid avocado hand), things change slightly. You want your avocado to keep its fresh, green color for a few days, and you’ll need to follow these steps to do so.
First, Sollid says to splash it with lemon or lime juice, since acids like these help to slow the browning process. Next, cover it with clear plastic wrap. Make sure to get a good, tight seal—and if you’re covering guacamole, push the air bubbles out. “Oxygen speeds up browning, so for an extra layer of protection you can place your wrapped avocado in an airtight container,” he adds. “Always store your opened avocado in the refrigerator.”
Eventually, your avocado will turn brown. But that doesn’t mean it’s inedible, says Sollid. “If you want to break out leftover avocado slices or guacamole but notice they have an unappealing brown top layer, simply scrape it off and serve,” he suggests. Oh, and be sure not to waste the pit either—it’s the healthiest part.
This simple (but brilliant) hack will save your avocado if it’s about to go bad. Or you could just start buying Costco’s new avocados that stay fresh for twice as long.
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