Storing Avocados in Water To Help Them Last Longer Is Actually a Huge Food Safety Hazard, Says the FDA

Photo: Stocksy/Gabriel (Gabi) Bucataru
Everyone loves a TikTok trend, but let's face it: Your "For You" page could definitely benefit from an occasional fact check. If you've been targeted with a new hack for your favorite green fruit—namely, storing your avocados in water to keep them fresh—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants you to think twice about your storage choices. This, they say, is for the sake of your health and your avocado toast.

For the unordained, the aforementioned TikTok trend claims to keep a ripe avocado fresh in one easy step. You simply fill a bowl or container with water, submerge the avocado in said water, and pop it into the fridge. While the claims are different on basically every TikTok avocado video, some of the app's content producers have stated that the trick keeps the fruit fresh in the fridge for a month or more. If that sounds too good to be true, it's because it is—at least from a food safety perspective.

"The FDA does not recommend this practice," an FDA spokesperson tells Well+Good. "The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens—like Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp.—that may be residing on the avocado surface, may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water." Yikes.

In addition to that initial concern (Listeria! Salmonella!), the FDA spokesperson also notes that even giving the 'cado a good scrub when you're ready to chow down won't necessarily get rid of the harmful bacteria. "Research performed by FDA scientists 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. In this case, even surface disinfecting the avocado skin prior to slicing would not be able to remove the contamination," the FDA says.

These are all things we want to avoid... right? So if you see this "hack" in your TikTok feed, keep scrolling, fam. (And in the meantime, can we all petition for the FDA to get its own TikTok, please?)

Below, we've rounded up a few better ways to store your avocados that don't have the potential of giving you a foodborne illness.

3 ways to store your avocados that don't put your at risk for food-borne illness

1. Place them in a food storage container

Okay, so here's the most obvious tip: Once you've figured out how to ripen avocados effectively and want to save a portion of its creamy goodness, simply pop it in an airtight food storage container or seal it with cling wrap to decrease its exposure to oxygen. For a little extra boost of freshness, you can also rub it down with citrus, a tried-and-true trick of Chef Betsy Wiegand of Great White, a coastal-Californian restaurant. The ascorbic acid found in lemon and lime creates a barrier between your avocado and the air around it, keeping it fresh AF for days to come.

2. Freeze your avocado in an ice tray

As the FDA notes, freezing your fruit doesn't strip it of any of its nutrients. A few years back, we learned that you can mash avocado, spread it across an ice tray, and freeze it for summer smoothies. So consider that trick next time you buy a few too many ripe avos.

3. Freeze the whole avocado

If you can't be bothered with the ice cube tray trick (I hear you), go ahead and freeze the whole avocado until you're ready to eat it. You can then run it under hot water, leave it to sit on the counter for a while, and enjoy it like it's a brand-new piece of fruit. Bam. Then, you can use 'em to make a cup of steamy hot avocado seed tea whenever you're ready.

That said, can you eat a brown avocado in the case you didn't get to it before it developed a little grey spot here and there? In most cases, yes.

Here's why avocados are so dang good for you:

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