Food / The Basics

How to Ripen and Store Avocados


I LOVE avocados!  I eat them almost every day.  That being said, I don’t eat a whole avocado every day.  Avocados are one of those tricky fruits (yes, fruit) that can turn brown easily if exposed to air; that’s, scientifically speaking, called enzymatic browning.  So here’s an easy way that I keep my avocados from turning bad before I get to them.

First off, you’ll want to have a ripe avocado.  Usually stores sell hard avocados.  Simply take them home and leave on the counter (or in a basket) at room temperature until they are tender when squeezed, about 3-5 days.  There is no real way to cheat this procedure, but you can speed it up a little bit if you place the avocados in a paper bag or next to some bananas – the trapped ethylene gas the fruit emit will encourage ripening. (This works great for peaches too!)  If you aren’t going to eat them right away, place the ripe avocados in the fridge to arrest any further maturing.  You will want to start using them within 4-5 days (as nature will eventually take it’s course); the less time in the fridge the better the taste will be.  I tend to buy 2-3 avocados a week and rotate with this cycle so I always have ripe avocados ready to use.  It’s such a bummer if you want to make guacamole but the store only has rock hard avocados!

Next, using a knife slice off a serving of avocado from the whole fruit.  Do not peel the entire fruit or remove the pit.  The goal here is to leave as much of the avocado as possible whole.  Immediately after cutting, cover directly with saran wrap; I like the Press n Seal kind because it creates a tighter seal. (Don’t wait until you have finished eating your sandwich…the quicker the better.) You’ll want to put as much contact of the wrap to the exposed surface as possible.  Next, place the wrapped avocado in an air tight container (such as tupperware) and store in the refrigerator.  Using this method I can usually get an avocado to last around 3-4 days.

Keep in mind that when you are serving a dish with avocado (like guacamole), you can keep browning at bay with a couple of these same tricks.  Try these tips: serve with the pit in the dish; cover with saran wrap directly making contact to the top until ready to serve; and finally, the use of lime or lemon juice will also help create a barrier against oxidization, so squeeze some across the top.

Enjoy those avocados!