There was a time when avocados were maligned as fattening and never to be eaten. Thank goodness those days are behind us!
Rather than being afraid of these green, creamy fruits, most of us are afraid that they’ll go bad before we can eat them.
If you buy avocado by the baker’s dozen, you may be wondering, about your storage options. We all know how tricky it can be to use avocados before they go bad.
Can you refrigerate avocados? Yes, you can refrigerate avocados. This is the best way to store them once they are ripe. Avocados continue to ripen at room temperature. Perfectly ripe avocados will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To extend the lifespan of your avocado, the best thing you can do is keep it safe and cool in your fridge.
In this article we’ll discuss all the best ways to store avocados, be they green or be they ripe, as well as some best practices for refrigerating avocados whole and cut.
Everything you need to know about keeping your avocado fresh for as long as possible is covered below, and there are even a few tips for saving avocados that weren’t refrigerated quite soon enough.
How to Store Avocados
Storing avocados is something of an art form. You need to be intimately aware of the ripeness of your avocado every day, sometimes checking multiple times a day just to be safe.
If you store an unripe avocado in a too-cold environment, it may never ripen. If you leave a ripe avocado in a warm environment, it can turn to a black mush seemingly in minutes.
There are plenty of ways to preserve the life of your avocado, but you will have to be vigilant in keeping an eye on its ripeness.
A very green, unripe avocado can sit on your countertop, out of direct sunlight for up to 5 days before getting too ripe. If you’d like it to ripen faster, place it on a windowsill exposed to sunlight or nearer to your oven.
Once your avocado is a day or two away from perfect ripeness, you may want to transfer it to your fridge, if you’re not going to eat it right away. Keep it where it won’t be jostled around too much or exposed to the constantly fluctuating temperatures of an opening door.
If your avocado is ripe, you definitely want to store it in your refrigerator. This will slow the ripening process, though it won’t completely stop it. You will want to eat your avocado within a day or two of becoming ripe, even if it’s stored in your fridge.
How to Store Avocados Long-Term
If you have a huge collection of avocados and no way to eat them all before they become over-ripe, your best solution will be to freeze them for long-term storage.
Wait until your avocados are ripe, or about a day before being ripe, before you try to freeze them.
If you know you’re going to be using the avocado for a dip or spread in the future, the easiest way to freeze them is to puree them first in a food processor with a little bit of fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. The citrus will protect the fruit in the freezer and keep it fresh.
Once it’s well mashed (if needed), transfer it to a freezer-safe bag, spread it out into a thin, even layer, and seal tightly, removing as much air as possible. Label the bag with the date. The mashed avocado will last for 3–6 months.
When you’re ready to use your avocado, they will have a slightly different texture, but once you give the mash a good stir and add some spices, you’ll never notice.
Refrigerating Avocados – Best Practices
Do avocados need to be refrigerated? No, not necessarily. But if they’re not placed in your fridge when they’re ripe or close to, you better plan on eating them quickly. Avocado will go from perfectly ripe to overripe and mushy before you realize it.
You should refrigerate avocado as soon as they are mostly dark green or black with fairly bumpy skin.
If you can press into the fruit and feel some give, they’re ripe enough to merit being placed in your fridge. If you press into them and it feels soft, they should be eaten ASAP and absolutely be refrigerated if not immediately consumed.
Best Ways to Store Avocados
Refrigeration actually happens to be one of the best ways to store your avocados, especially if they are ripe, to preserve them until you’re ready to eat them.
But there are other ways to store your avocados if you need to ripen them up or don’t have room in your fridge. Below, we’ve put together a convenient chart detailing where and when to store your avocados.
|Cool, dark location||Unripe avocados with leisure time to ripen|
|Sunshine||Green avocados in a hurry to ripen|
|Countertop||Avocados 2–3 days from perfect ripeness|
|Freezer||Too many ripe avocados|
Ideal Avocado Storage Temperature
The ideal storage temperature for avocados is about 68 F. A freshly picked avocado will take about 3–5 days to ripen at this temperature, provided they’re also outside the range of direct sunlight.
Most refrigerators are about 40 F, which is quite a bit cooler and will slow the ripening process substantially. Although depending on how long you need to store your avocados, this may be your ideal temperature.
How to Store Half an Avocado
If you’ve opened your avocado and used half, you can save the remainder safely for 3–5 days, depending on how ripe it was when you cut it.
To preserve the quality as much as possible, keep the pit inside your avocado. This will help stop it from browning due to air exposure.
Another trick is to brush the exposed area with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. If you don’t have citrus, you can also use a little bit of olive oil.
Wrap the remaining avocado in plastic wrap and place it in a safe location in your fridge where it won’t get squished.
Alternatively, you can place your avocado face down in a Tupperware container and fill it about ¾ of the way full with cold water. Seal and place it in the fridge. The water might extend the life of your avocado for an extra day or two without any browning at all.
Can You Refrigerate Avocado After Cutting It?
Yes, after cutting an avocado the best way to preserve it is to keep it refrigerated. Always save your pit until the entire avocado is eaten. Keeping the pit with avocado after it’s been cut reduces browning, even if it’s sliced or chopped into many pieces.
As soon as you know you’ll be storing your avocado you want to reduce it’s exposure to air as much as possible to prevent browning. You’ll also want to eat your cut avocado within a day for the best quality.
Refrigerating Sliced Avocado
If you have citrus juice available, use a pastry or basting brush to lightly coat all exposed surfaces. If you don’t, you can use olive oil but this will alter the taste and texture when you’re ready to use your avocado.
Pull out a sheet of plastic wrap and spread your avocado slices in a layer so that the pieces are overlapping in an organized manner. The more they’re touching each other, the less the pieces will be exposed to air.
If you still have the pit, place it in the center and arrange your slices around it as best you can.
Wrap the plastic around the avocado carefully, pressing gently to remove all air. Place the wrapped avocado in a Tupperware container to protect it from being squished while in your fridge.
Refrigerating Chopped Avocado
If your avocado has been chopped into cubes, transfer it to a Tupperware container just large enough to fit your avocado but without a lot of extra space.
If you have lemon or lime juice, squeeze some into the container and give the avocado a toss to coat all edges. Again, you can use olive oil if you don’t have citrus juice, but it will alter the flavor and texture when you’re ready to use it.
If you still have the pit, place it in with your chopped avocado. Make sure your Tupperware container is tightly sealed before placing it in your fridge.
Refrigerating Mashed Avocado
Mashed avocado is probably the easiest to store. Make sure you have some lemon or lime juice well mixed into the mash and then transfer it to a Ziploc bag.
Lay it out onto your counter and press it down so that the avocado is in an even layer and all the air is squeezed out of the bag. Seal it tightly and place it in your fridge where it won’t get squished.
Should You Store Unripe Avocados in Your Fridge?
You can store unripe avocados in your fridge, but it’s better to wait until they’re almost ripe before refrigerating them.
Keeping avocados cold before they’re ripe can lengthen the ripening process to the point where they can actually go bad before they ever ripen, which defeats the purpose of refrigerating them at that point.
We hope you enjoyed this ultimate avocado storage guide! We have also included these related avocado questions, just in case we’ve left you wondering about anything else.
How Can You Make an Avocado Ripen Quicker?
If you have a hard, green avocado that you want to ripen more quickly, there are a few tips and tricks that you can put to use.
The easiest and most natural solution is to place it in direct sunlight. As with most fruits and vegetables, the warmth and natural energy of the sun will speed up the ripening process by a day or two.
If that’s not quick enough, a slightly faster method to ripen avocados is to place it in a paper bag with a banana.
Bananas ripen quickly and, as they do, they release a gas called ethylene that speeds up the process of any other fruit or vegetable exposed to it. The paper bag traps the gas and helps ripen your avocado potentially overnight, depending on how green it was to start.
How Do You Know When an Avocado is Ripe?
Avocados have three main signals that they’re ready to eat: color, firmness, and the texture of their skin. A ripe avocado should be nearly black in color with a bumpy, ripply skin. It will be firm, but with some give.
You don’t want a soft or mushy avocado unless you’re ready to serve up some guacamole. If you press around where the stem once was, you should be able to press into it without leaving an indentation. If it’s too hard, it isn’t ripe yet. Too soft and it’s past it’s prime.
If you’ve cut into an avocado that wasn’t as ripe as you thought it was and you want it to ripen faster, that can be accomplished as well.
First, to keep your avocado from browning because it’s been exposed to air, keep the pit inside. Lightly brush lemon or lime juice over the exposed flesh and then place the two halves back together. Hold them in place as best as you can with an elastic band.
While leaving it on the counter will help it ripen more quickly, now that it’s been opened you want to protect it from air exposure and airborne bacteria. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for safekeeping. Check back on it in a day or two and it should be ready to eat.
How Do You Keep Avocados From Ripening Too Fast?
The best way to keep an avocado from ripening too fast is to put it in your fridge and keep it at a regulated cold temperature.
Putting it in your crisper bins is a great place for an avocado, so long as it doesn’t get squished. Bumps and bruises can be just as distasteful as an avocado that ripens too quickly, so try to be gentle with it.
Once in your fridge, your avocado will ripen very slowly and will stay fresh for about a week.
How Long Do Avocados Last?
A freshly picked avocado will take about 4–5 days to ripen if they’re stored in a cool, dark location. During this time they’ll be considered fresh, if not yet quite edible.
Once an avocado is ripe, it will last about 1–2 more days maximum before it becomes overripe – if it’s kept at 65 F or warmer. If you place it in your fridge before it’s overripe, you can extend the shelf life for up to 3 days.
If a green avocado is placed in the fridge while it’s still green and hard, it will stay fresh a maximum of 7–8 days. After this point, even if it’s not entirely ripe, it will not be properly fresh either and will start to develop brown spots inside the fruit.
What Can You Do With an Overripe Avocado?
If you forgot to refrigerate your avocado before it got too ripe, don’t worry. You can still use it as long as it doesn’t smell bad or feel slimy!
Our favorite ways to use avocados (meaning sometimes we let the avocado overripen as an excuse to use it these ways) include:
- Avocado chocolate pudding: Puree an overly ripe avocado with some cocoa powder and honey or maple syrup.
- Avocado smoothie: Make your smoothie as normal, but with the addition of a super-ripe avocado. It might change the color a bit, but it turns out creamy like dessert.
- Avocado Coconut Mousse: Place the solid fat from a can of cold coconut milk in a food processer with a soft avocado and a bit of honey to taste and blend until smooth.
Can You Use Frozen Avocados?
It may come as a surprise that you can freeze avocados and, what’s more, you can even use them later while they’re still frozen.
Here’s an easy-to-follow and quick tutorial from the Pelican Communications channel on YouTube by chef Lee Maycock on making fresh guacamole from frozen avocados.
Conclusion: Can you Refrigerate Avocados?
To wrap things up and answer the question, can you refrigerate avocados, yes, you can. Whether or not you should depends entirely on what stage of life your avocado is at and what your goals for that avocado may be.
Refrigerating avocados is the best solution when you’re trying to slow the ripening process or prolong the lifespan and usability of a perfectly ripe avocado.