Tips on Storing and Ripening Avocados

Oh no! Too many avocados! Whatever will we do? CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.
Oh no! Too many avocados! Whatever will we do? CC BY 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Contrary to popular belief, the avocado is actually a fruit, not a vegetable, as evidenced by its internal seed. In fact, while the tree is technically in the same family as cinnamon, the fruit is actually considered to be a large berry.

This large berry contains creamy, green flesh that is not only delicious, but also boasts a large variety of health benefits. Although they are considered “in season” in late winter through early spring, they are generally available year round (depending on your region), making it a great addition to anyone’s diet.

Avocado Fun Facts!

  • Avocados are also known as alligator pears.
  • While you can grow avocados from the seed inside, the ones that you buy in the stores are typically genetically modified so that the resulting tree will never bear fruit.
  • Trees will occasionally produce seedless avocados, or cuke.

How to Tell When an Avocado is Ripe

You can’t always tell if an avocado is ripe based on the color of its skin. Depending on the variety, it may or may not change color. Hass avocados change from a light green to a dark brown-green when ripe. Whereas Florida, or Fuerte, avocados stay the same color throughout the ripening process.

In general, avocados take anywhere from two to five days to ripen. Regardless of type, when ripe all avocados will be soft and give a little when you press on them.

One trick for assessing ripeness is to flick off the little stem piece on the end, to see what the fruit inside looks like. If it’s still bright green inside, you’re good to go. If it’s dark brown and mushy inside, it may be too far gone. Here’s a great tutorial that visually explains this same concept.

How to Ripen Avocados

From the Tree

If you are lucky enough to have your own avocado tree, it’s important to know that the fruit won’t ripen until it’s actually off the tree. Follow the growing cycle for your particular variety of tree, and when the fruit is ripe, pick it and follow the methods outlined below.

If fruit falls from the tree it will ripen, however use your best judgment to determine the viability of the fruit before bringing inside to use. Most of the time fallen fruit is too far gone to consume.

Ripen Avocados in a Paper Bag

CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.
CC BY 2.0, via Flickr. | Source

Ripening Avocados At Room Temperature

There are a few ways to ripen avocados at room temperature. Regardless of the method you choose, the most important thing to remember is that the avocados should not be stored in direct sunlight.

In a Paper Bag

Place your avocado in a paper bag, and leave out at room temperature. Assess daily for ripeness. To speed up this process, you can add an apple or banana to the bag as these fruits will give off more gas ripening the avocado faster.

On the Counter

This is my favorite way to ripen avocados. Just stick them in a bowl on the counter, away from sunlight and hot lights. Leave them there for several days, assessing daily for ripeness.

Ripening Avocados in the Refrigerator

You actually can’t ripen avocados in the fridge, because the cold slows down the ripening process, sometimes stopping it all together. In fact, when avocados are picked, they are shipped all over in refrigerated trucks to keep the fruit from ripening until it reaches its intended destination. However, you can easily store avocados in the fridge.

How to Store Avocados

In general, avocados need to be consumed pretty quickly upon ripening. While there are a couple of ways to store your avocados, the best way depends on how many you have on hand, and how quickly you tend to consume them.

How to Reduce Avocado Oxidation

To keep your avocados from turning brown when you cut them, you need to add an acidic agent, and limit air exposure.

Acidic Agents

  • Lemon juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Orange juice
  • Vinegar

Limit Air Exposure

  • Cover tightly with clear plastic wrap or place in an airtight container.
  • When using plastic bags, remember to release excess air.

How to Store Whole Avocados

If you haven’t cut your avocado yet, and you’re planning on consuming it within the next week or so, the best way to store the fruit is in the refrigerator. But, if you aren’t going to eat your avocado anytime soon, or if you have a large volume of fruit, you may be better off freezing it.

How to Store Avocados in the Refrigerator

Whole Avocados

Store whole, uncut, ripe avocados in the vegetable drawer of your fridge for up to 10 days.

Cut Avocados

If your avocado is cut in half and still has most of its fruit, just sprinkle both halves with an acidic agent, put the seed back in, and place both halves back together. Then, wrap the fruit with plastic-wrap, or place in an air-tight container. Plastic wrap works better at keeping it air-tight, because it sits against the skin of the fruit.

If too much fruit is gone, slice or mash the remaining fruit, sprinkle with an acidic agent, and store in an air-tight container.

Cut avocados do not last long, and should be consumed within one day for optimum freshness.

My Frozen Whole Avocado (Halves)

These are from my freezer. As you can see they're green as can be. I didn't use an acidic agent either.
These are from my freezer. As you can see they're green as can be. I didn't use an acidic agent either. | Source
Avocados from my freezer. The fronts are a little oxidized, but still very usable. Great for smoothies!
Avocados from my freezer. The fronts are a little oxidized, but still very usable. Great for smoothies! | Source

How to Freeze Avocados

If you aren’t going to eat your avocado right away, or if you have a large volume of fruit, consider freezing. You can freeze whole or pureed, depending on your needs and preferences.

Freezing Whole Avocados

You only need to do a little prep to freeze a whole avocado. First, cut in half, and remove the seed and skin. Then, place the avocado halves in an air-tight container or freezer bag. You may use an acidic agent before freezing, but I don’t find this necessary.

Freezing Pureed Avocado

Mash avocado by hand or puree in a food processor Either way, remember to add in an acidic agent while mixing. Generally, you want 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or other acidic agent to every two avocados.

Whether whole or pureed, frozen avocado will only keep for three to four months in the freezer. If you’re freezing them in a plastic freezer bag, write the freeze date (or use by date, or both) on the outside of the bag with a permanent marker to help remind you of the deadline.

Quiz Time!

Do you like avocados?

See results without voting

A Tip for Freezing Whole Avocados

While some people don’t like the end result of freezing avocado whole, I didn’t notice a difference.

Use frozen, whole avocado in smoothies for an extra boost. Works great as its own smoothie, or when added with fruit like bananas and strawberries.

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Comments 19 comments

lucybell21 profile image

lucybell21 3 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

Very helpful. my boss loves these! So I will pass this onto him.

Insightful Tiger profile image

Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

I love avocados and I have recently discovered how delicious they can be in a smoothie.

I learned some new things in this hub. I didn't know that avocados could last that long in the refrigerator, but I believe it because I just bought a some the other day and they don't seem to be ripening at all.

Thanks for all the helpful tips! well done :)

Voted up and "liked".

dearabbysmom profile image

dearabbysmom 2 years ago from Indiana

I've just started eating avocados and haven't had a clue how to keep them once cut. So this was perfectly timed and I thank you for the information. Voted up and useful!

snerfu profile image

snerfu 2 years ago from Madurai, India

Nice article very informative.

Rota profile image

Rota 2 years ago

alligator pears..that's a pretty apt name. congrats on being hub of the day

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

Congratulations on the HOTD award! Thanks for sharing the information. I have avocado tree in my home country but seldom that I´m there when the avocados are harvested. I did not know that I could freeze them. Good tips and useful.

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I love avocados and sometimes, I can't find them where we are so when there are some, I want to stock more. The freezing instructions are really useful.

My Bell profile image

My Bell 2 years ago

I'm a huge avocado lover and I find these tips very useful as we've tossed way to many over the years. I will definitely follow many of these tips. Avocados are so delicious and so good for you. Congrats on your HOTD!

BarbaraCasey profile image

BarbaraCasey 2 years ago from St. Petersburg, Florida

Thanks for the tip about freezing avocados. Great idea for when they're on sale. Super hub... congrats on HOTD.

Chris Telden profile image

Chris Telden 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.

Very interesting avocado trivia, thank you. I actually do ripen my avocados in our fridge. Maybe it's got a weird climate in there, but for us, refrigerator storage slows down ripening but does not stop it. Avocados keep up to 10 days there and will go from hard to perfectly green and tender somewhere in that time, while room temperature storage gets me brown mush too suddenly.

I've also learned it's important not to handle/squeeze the dang things too much. Kind of like Schrodinger's cat-in-the-box thought experiment in physics, once you squeeze it to determine if it's ripe, you've affected the outcome. ;)

RoadMonkey profile image

RoadMonkey 2 years ago

I have only ever had a few avocados and recently tried growing one from seed. It was an interesting experiment for my granddaughter to see but once it got cold outside, the plant died off, even though it was on the windowsill inside the kitchen.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

I don't find that avocados have much flavor. I eat them because my wife says they are good for us. The lime and lemon to reduce oxidation seem interesting to me because they could add flavor as well. A very informative hub.

Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

Great information here! I get frustrated when I buy avocados and they don't store well. Or I don't use them in time. I love them, and could eat them every day - but of course that would be about a million calories! I've never thought of freezing them - good idea, and I am glad to know it works!

Congrats on the HOTD - this is a keeper!

traveleze profile image

traveleze 2 years ago from Preston

Great hub was looking for information like this

Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

Very interesting article. I didn't know much about adocados, after reading this I have a whole lot more knowledge.

One thing I learned is that my Avocado tree that grew from a seed, which was a brought one from the supermarket, will never have fruit on it. Very disapointing, it's a nice tree.

Congratulations for the HOTD - you deserve it.

JulieStrier profile image

JulieStrier 2 years ago from Apopka, FL Author

It is a shame that the avocados from the store will never produce fruit, although it does give you a great looking tree (as you learned). We actually bought an avocado tree for this reason, although it has only given us one piece of fruit, I'm hoping we'll get a lot more this year.

MichelleC Robinson 2 years ago

Very interesting, informative, and helpful. Thank you. I will use the tips for choosing avocados, ripening, and freezing them.

Anjali Joshi profile image

Anjali Joshi 2 years ago from Rajkot, Gujarat

I love avocados and sometimes, I can't find them where we are so when there are some, I want to stock more. The freezing instructions are really useful.

JulieStrier profile image

JulieStrier 2 years ago from Apopka, FL Author

The only thing I've found is that they won't keep forever in the freezer, so make sure you use the ones you put in there fairly quickly (within a month or two) for best results. Of course, your mileage may vary.

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