Avocado has a permanent place in our hearts (and in our kitchens). It’s packed with vitamins and healthy fats, has a vibrant color that perks up any dish and—most importantly—it’s damn delicious. That’s why it’s so frustrating that our favorite fruit has the bad habit of going from an underripe and flavorless rock to an overripe ball of mush in the blink of an eye. Luckily, if you know how to store avocados properly, that problem will be a thing of the past—and we have the full scoop.
How to Pick the Best Avocado at the Store
Here’s a fun fact for you: Avocados are technically berries. And although their skin seems tough, this fruit is more tender than you think. You wouldn’t open up a pack of raspberries in the produce aisle and start pinching each one between your fingers, would you? The same principle applies to avocados, which are easily bruised by excessive groping. So when you’re searching for ready-to-eat avocados, use a gentle touch or you might prod your piece of fruit into an unappetizing state before it ever has the chance to ripen. Still, color is not a reliable indicator of ripeness so you will need to feel things out. The best way to do this is by putting your pointer finger away and using your palm instead. Cup the avocado in the palm of your hand and give it a gentle squeeze to see how soft it is. Fruit that feels completely firm needs a few more days to ripen but if the avocado gives too much, you can expect the meat inside to be mushy. An avocado is at its prime when it yields just a little in your palm.
How to Store Unripe Avocados
Storing avocados is a game of strategy. It’s often wise to buy them unripe but if you bring home more than one, you’ll need to stagger their ripening time so you don’t end up with a bowl full of fruit that demands to be eaten up in a single day. To avoid this dilemma, pick one or two avocados and place them in a paper bag on the countertop to accelerate the ripening process—just be sure to scrunch the bag closed so the ethylene gasses (i.e., the magic that makes fruit ripen) stay sealed in. This trick will help a once-firm avocado reach the creamy and robust pinnacle of ripeness in just a couple days, so only bag an amount of fruit that you can reasonably eat in a short period. Then leave the rest in the open air of your kitchen (away from direct sunlight and other fruit) to ripen at a slower pace. Psst: Those bananas and apples in your fruit bowl also produce ethylene gasses so if you crowd your avocados in there, don’t expect delayed ripening.
How to Store Ripe Avocados
By some miracle, the selection of avocados at the store was enormous and each one was spot-on, so you got bought a bunch of ready-to-eat babies. Then you got home and realized you were not, in fact, ready to eat six avocados in one day. A perfectly ripened avocado is a thing of beauty but alas, this fruit is known to peak and decline rapidly. Don’t worry, you can buy yourself some extra time by storing ripe avocados in the fridge—just make sure they’re chilling in a separate spot from your other fruits and vegetables (see earlier note about the ethylene gasses). When stored this way, avocados will stay creamy for two to three days.
How to Store a Cut Avocado
Sometimes, all you can eat is half an avocado (we said sometimes). So what do you do with the other half? Stick it in the fridge. But first, use a few simple tricks so your half-eaten fruit doesn’t get brown and rubbery. If you’re storing an avocado half, aim to save the part that still has the pit—avocados stay fresh longer when the stone in the center has not been removed. Drizzle the halved fruit with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to prevent unwanted browning and cover it with plastic wrap before stashing it in a safe spot of the fridge where it will stay fresh for a few extra days (just make sure to check on it every day). For avocado that has been pitted and cut into wedges, you’ll need to move a little faster—but you can get another day of deliciousness if you simply drizzle the slices with lemon or lime juice and store them in a single layer inside an airtight container.