Avocados pack a mean punch full of nutrients. They are full of vitamins and minerals, and they are loaded with healthy fats and tons of fiber.
The only downside with avocados seems to be using them within their peak ripeness.
Am I the only one who feels like one day your avocado isn’t quite ripe and two days later it’s turned to a brown mush?
These 5 tips will help you store your avocados to maximize freshness and prevent food waste.
1. The brown bag banana trick
You have your heart set on making guacamole to bring to a party, but all the avocados at the grocery store are hard as a rock. You can get avocados to ripen faster by putting them into a brown bag with a bunch of bananas and keeping it closed at room temperature. Bananas release an ethylene gas that causes fruit to ripen. Kiwifruit and apples also produce this gas and can be used for this purpose as well. If the idea of your food being exposed to ‘ethylene gas’ freaks you out, don’t worry – this gas is actually a plant hormone and is a normal part of the ripening process.
2. Storing avocados to help extend their peak ripeness
On the flip side of the banana trick, if you’ve purchased your avocados at perfect ripeness, don’t store them in the fruit bowl with the other fruits! Being in close proximity to fruits that release lots of ethylene gas will continue to ripen the avocados, and they might get brown before you have a chance to use them.
If you are going to be using ripe avocados in the next day or two, store them on the counter away from other fruits. If you’re avocados are starting to ripen faster than you can use them, toss them in the refrigerator drawer to help slow down the process.
3. Select avocados at varying ripeness levels
If you’re buying avocados to use all throughout the week, choose a few avocados at different points in ripeness. Look for a couple that are dark and soft for the first couple of days in the week and a couple that are green and harder for the end of the week. The unripe avocados will gradually ripen at room temperature and be nice and soft when you are ready to use at the end of the week.
4. Keeping unused avocado from turning brown
Sometimes you only need to use half of an avocado. You stick the second half in the fridge and the next day you come back to a brown and slimy avocado surface. Ick.
Once the avocado is cut, it releases an enzyme that causes the flesh to oxidize and turn brown when exposed to oxygen in the air.
My mom shared with me a tip to put half of an avocado in a sealed container with a piece of onion. The gases released from the onion help slow the browning of the avocado. To prevent the avocado from tasting like onion, put the onion in first and the avocado skin side down.
If you don’t have an onion handy, I find is the next best trick (but not the best for the environment, unfortunately) is plastic wrap. Tightly wrap the avocado in plastic wrap to help reduce the amount of air exposure to the avocado.
Whatever way you are using to help keep the avocado fresh, always use the half that doesn’t have the pit in first. Leave the pit in the other half until ready to use. This will help reduce the surface area of the avocado that is exposed to oxygen.
Even though these methods help, they only slow down the browning process so much so try to use your leftover avocado within a day or two.
5. Get the most avocado bang for your buck
This last tip really isn’t about storing avocados at all, but it’s an observation that I found to be pretty helpful when picking out avocados. Obviously you want to choose avocados for their ripeness first and foremost (or under ripeness if you aren’t using for a while).
But have you ever noticed that there are two different shapes of Hass avocados? Sometimes they’re round and sometimes they’re pear shaped. For years I thought nothing of this, but then I started to realize that the round shaped avocados tend to have a larger pit and the pear shaped avocados usually have a smaller pit. So you get more usable avocado by choosing those that are pear shaped.
Although this trick isn’t guaranteed 100% of the time, I find that it is pretty accurate more often than not.