If only storing avocados was as easy as eating them!
You muse, while staring at a mound of black, mushy fruits you forgot to check on last week after placing them inside a pantry basket to ripen.
There goes your guacamole through the door!
Your $50 worth of avocados find their way into the garbage bin, leaving you in disbelief. Don’t lose hope.
Avocado storage is not rocket science. Learning how to store avocados guarantees that you will enjoy freshly whipped up guacamole, avocado on toast as well as creamy avocado smoothies all year round.
This post covers avocado storage in detail.
Where to store avocados
Avocados thrive in a cool, dark, airy place. You have several options on where to store them:
- A kitchen pantry
- Root cellar
- Kitchen counter, away from traffic
Besides physical location, the type of avocado storage containers you use matter.
- For whole, unripe avocados, a fruit rack, bowl, tray, cardboard box or plastic container are ideal.
- For cut or mashed avocados, use airtight containers or Ziploc bags.
Now that you know where to store avocados, how do you actually store them? Read on to find out!
How to store whole, ripe avocados
- Only wash before using.
- Wipe off any visible dirt or soil.
- Place on a single layer on an uncovered container of your choice. Never stack ripe avocados as this causes mushing and browning.
- Store at room temperature.
- Keep checking for spoiled ones and discard. Signs of spoilage in avocados are:
- Visible mold growth on the skin and eye.
- Discoloration and blackening of skin.
- Sunken flesh
For excess ripe, whole avocados, refrigerate. This slows the ripening process, while keeping the flesh firm. How do you store avocados in the refrigerator?
Place in plastic bags, squeeze out trapped air and tie the bags.
Allocate them a separate spot so that they remain untampered with. Also, never place them beneath heavy foods which will squash them.
Use within 3 days at most.
How to store ripe, cut avocados
Cut, ripe avocados are highly perishable. Refrigerate them for prolonged usage. Here is a quick way:
- Sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice.
- Place in airtight containers or Ziploc bags.
- Pop into the refrigerator. Place in shelves.
- Use within 1 week.
How to store mashed avocados
- In case of excess mashed avocados, mix with lemon or lime juice.
- Divide into smaller portions that can be used once.
- Spoon them into Ziploc bags.
- Squeeze out excess air as you are sealing the bags.
- Depending on how soon you want to use them, either refrigerate or freeze.
How to store unripe avocados
- Check for any bruises, dents or visible mold. Separate these from others.
- Store at room temperature to ripen slowly.
How to store guacamole
Unlike mashed avocados, guacamole consists of several other ingredients, besides avocados. These include: chopped onions, chilli peppers, tomatoes, parsley, lemon or lime juice and seasoning.
When storing guacamole, take into account that the shelf life of all these ingredients vary.
As such, the shelf life of your guacamole sorely depends on the fastest spoiling item.
- Store guacamole in airtight, heavy-duty containers. This prevents the strong odor of onions from reaching other foods.
- Refrigerate for short-term use.
How do you keep avocados from ripening too fast?
Whereas ripening of avocados is inevitable, you can slow it down by taking into account 4 factors:
- Avocados produce ethylene gas which hastens ripening and causes softening. For this reason, never store unripe avocados with ripe ones.
- Never store unripe avocados near other ethylene producing foods such as apples, potatoes, ripe bananas, blueberries or mangoes.
- Store away from heat or direct sunlight. These exacerbate ripening.
- Refrigerate ripe avocados to slow down ripening.
How to keep avocados fresh
For cut avocados, retain the seed on the flesh of one half. Use the other half. The seed prevents the flesh from oxidization which causes browning.
Other quick methods you can use to keep avocados fresh include:
- Sprinkle lemon juice on the exposed flesh.
- Brush the flesh with vegetable oil.
- For whole avocados, store away from moisture as it causes softening of flesh.
- When storing avocados in an open place, keep fruit flies and pests at bay. Fruit flies hasten deterioration by lodging onto the skin, biting and laying eggs on the skin.
How to preserve avocados
Besides storing avocados for short-term use, you can enjoy these creamy, decadent and nutritious items all year round without compromising on quality. Really? Yes!
Here are simple techniques on how to store avocados long-term and make them last longer:
Can you freeze avocados? The simple answer is yes! Moreover, it is very simple. Here is a step-by-step process:
- Select ripe avocados.
- Peel and remove the seed.
- Portion into small slices or cubes. You are also free to mash them to a pulp.
- Mix well with lemon or lime juice.
- Lay them on a lined baking sheet.
- Flash freeze. This simply means freezing for a few hours before storage.
- When well frozen, scoop out and transfer into freezer friendly airtight containers.
- Preferably, use medium-sized bags that you can use once to prevent re-freezing.
- Label and date the bags well.
- Freeze and enjoy.
Well frozen ripe avocados remain in top quality for 6-8 months.
Pop frozen avocados right into your blender when making smoothies.
Can you freeze whole, unpeeled avocados?
Unless you want to end up with runny, gooey blob! This is a no-no! Once thawed, whole, unpeeled avocados are unappealing. The flesh becomes runny and stringy.
Pickling ripe avocados is effective for reducing spoilage.
Avocados lend themselves well for pickling. Due to their soft flesh, they easily pick up flavors. Imagine waking up to pickled avocado spread on warm whole meal bread!
The pickling process is straightforward, even a novice can hack it.
When pickling at home, stick to the stated ingredient ratios. Most pickling recipes come with a list of required items.
However, if you have done this before, you already know what you need: These include:
- Sterilized mason jars
- Pickling solution. A simple one uses a mixture of water, salt, sugar or vinegar. You can also add spices and herbs of your choice.
Before pickling avocados:
- Clean well even if you will peel the skin. This prevents cross-contamination.
- Exercise high hygiene throughout the process. If possible, use gloves.
- Slice avocados evenly into your desired shapes. Uniformity ensures the solution permeates well into each piece.
When pickling avocados:
- Prepare the brine solution beforehand. Let the mixture simmer and reduce into a concentrated solution. Allow it to cool.
- Arrange avocado slices neatly onto mason jars. If using herbs and other vegetables, place them cautiously to avoid breaking the avocado slices.
- Pour the brine into the pieces, ensuring they are well immersed.
- Cover well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the contents to marinate well.
- Store unopened jars in the pantry, in a cool, dark place. They keep well for 2 weeks.
- Refrigerate opened jars and consume within 1 week.
Enjoy your pickled avocados in salads, sandwiches, appetizers or as spread on toast.
Other important factors to consider in avocado storage
Avoid unnecessary handling to prevent dents and bruises.
Unless you are an avocado farmer or producer of cold-processed avocado oil, avoid bulk buying to minimize wastage. Remember, fresh produce is the best in terms of nutritional value and quality.
When using avocados, make use of the seeds too! Here are simple, creative ways to use avocado pits:
- Grind and use in smoothies
- Use in composting
- Make dye and indelible ink (for the creatives)
Final thoughts in storing avocados
Being highly perishable and delicate, avocados require extra care when handling and storing. However, storing them is not as complicated.