Have you ever bought what seemed like a perfectly good avocado only to get home and find out it’s gone bad?
Or have you ever needed half an avocado and didn’t know what to do with the other half and it ended up just going to waste?
I’ve had both of these situations happen and over the last few years, as my avocado intake has gone up (lookin’ at you, avocado toast), I’ve learned some helpful tips for buy & storing avocados.
Knowing which avocado(s) to buy really starts with figuring out when you’re going to be using the avocado. If you want to go home and make guacamole, you need to find avocados ripe at the store. Or maybe you meal planned and you’re making tacos in a few days that you want to top with avocado, you’ll want a less ripe avocado because it will ripen in time for tacos.
You can tell an avocado is ripe when you give it a gentle squeeze and you can feel it give a little. It has a slight softness but doesn’t feel like mush and there shouldn’t be any obvious bad spots. Often, but not always, the outer layer will be darker, nearly black when it’s ripe but firmness is the best indicator.
An avocado is not ripe when it’s hard as a rock and has almost no give when gently squeezed. And generally, but once again not always, the outer layer will be bright green. (Example: avocado in the upper left corner of the photo above)
When I’m shopping at the store, I look for color first (green if I need it in a few days, black if I need to use it in a day) but always test for firmness and make my purchase based on that.
Remember those tacos I mentioned earlier? Let’s say you need to bump that recipe up a day or two and you’ve got an unripe avocado on your hands… how can you make it ripen quicker?
Or maybe your guacamole plans got canceled and you’ve got a ripe avocado but no time to use it yet, how do you keep it from getting over-ripe?
That brings us to storing avocados…
HOW TO STORE AVOCADOS
In general, you should store your avocados on the counter. I give some detail below for when you can put them in the fridge.
To make an avocado ripen quicker, you can store it in a brown paper bag on the counter. This helps speed up the ripening process. It’s not an instant process though so if you put a bright green, hard-as-a-rock avocado in the bag and hope to use it the next day, it probably won’t be ready. But if you’ve got a firm avocado you want to use in 2 days or so, the paper bag can help.
On the flip side of that, let’s say you’ve got a ripe avocado on your counter but don’t have time to use it yet. You can put it in the fridge to stop the ripening process. I’ve found a ripe avocado will stay nice and ripe in the fridge for about 2 days, sometimes 3. Just remember the avocado has to be ripe; an unripe avocado won’t ripen in the fridge.
And one last storing tip for when you only need to use half an avocado — cut the avocado in half and use the side without the seed in it for your recipe. Leave the seed in the other half, wrap it in plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the surface of the avocado then store in the fridge. The seed helps keep air from coming in contact with the avocado (which makes it turn brown) so you have less surface area exposed to air. When you’re ready to use this half, remove the seed and you may need to skim off some browning on the surface but it will be much less than if you stored it without the seed.
- Always shop by touch, a ripe avocado is slightly soft but not mushy.
- Store avocados on the counter.
- To help an avocado ripen quicker, store it in a brown paper bag.
- To keep an avocado from over-ripening, put it in the fridge.
- If you’re only using half an avocado, leave the seed in the other half.
- Practice makes perfect, the more you buy & use avocados the easier it gets to tell when they’re ripe.
I hope these tips have been helpful!
Have you ever used one of these tips? How did it turn out? Have any other tips you would add? Let me know in the comments.
And if you have a friend who loves avocados as much as I do, be sure to share it with them!