The Best Ways to Pick and Store Avocados

kitchen tips and hacks Oct 09, 2022
Rip avocado cut into half

Do you love avocados but hate them going over-ripe and having to throw them away? In this article, I’ll show you how to best pick and store the avocados you buy, so you can finally solve this money-draining problem!

The Problem with Avocados

Let’s face it – avocados generally aren’t cheap, and it can be pretty disappointing to pick up an avocado, anticipating to enjoy it, only to cut it open and find it has already spoilt on the inside. Every time I have to throw one away, I can’t help but cringe at the realization that I’ve just lost a few precious dollars’ worth of produce and need to go avocado-less for the day. Has this happened to you before?

With rising food and gas prices now, having this happen can be even more frustrating. Nowadays, it has become even more important to stretch our food dollars and make what we buy last longer. So how DO you take care of costly store-bought avocados, so you can enjoy them stress-free, without fear of having to use them up fast before they spoil? This article will give you the best tips on how to store and enjoy avocados, saving you money and needless frustration in the process!

Why Eat Avocados in the First Place?

Avocados look unassuming, but they are actually loaded with many key nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central database, a raw avocado (201 grams in weight) actually contains approximately 4 grams of protein, 13.5 grams of fiber, 975 milligrams of potassium, along with many other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, choline, and folate. The high fiber content of avocados promotes gut health, and avocados are also high in specific antioxidants such as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important in eye health. Active research continues on the potential antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective effects of avocados.

How to Pick Your Avocados

As beneficial as avocados are to health, it’s a practical problem that many of us face. Avocados can be expensive, and then there’s the storage issue. They seem to either take too long to ripen up, or they seem to all ripen at the same time, making you scramble to use them all quickly or risk having some go over-ripe and spoil. So how do you solve these issues? Let’s talk about how to pick avocados first.

At the store, decide first on how soon you want to eat the avocados you buy. If you plan to eat them soon within a few days, then you can pick avocados that feel a little bit soft to the touch when held in the hand. But if you want them to last longer at home before eating them, look for avocados that feel hard and firm to the touch.

Best Ways to Store Avocados

Then once you bring home some avocados, decide how quickly you want to eat them and how many you want to ripen at the same time. For example, our family usually enjoys 1-2 avocados at a time and about 2-3 in a week. So since avocados usually take about 3-4 days to ripen naturally, I usually put 1-2 on the kitchen table or countertop to ripen on their own, while the rest goes into the refrigerator in a produce compartment drawer. After I use up those ripened avocados, I will then take out another 1-2 to ripen naturally at room temperature. This method will allow you to enjoy your avocados over time, without all of them ripening at the same time.

Keep in mind, though, that the ripening process can be quicker or slower depending on the climate you live in and the internal temperature of your home environment. So, if you live in a humid and hotter environment, then the avocados will likely ripen much faster when left at room temperature. But if you live in a colder climate, then expect the ripening process to take a little longer.

Now what if you want your avocados to ripen faster? If so, one way to do this is to put 1-2 unripened avocados inside a paper bag with a ripe banana and then close up the opening of the bag. Give it a day or so, and that should help with the ripening process. That’s because ripe bananas release a lot of ethylene, which is a plant hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit.

Once your avocado is ripe, if you can’t use it right away you can put it back in the refrigerator and it should be able to keep in its ripened state for a few more days until you are able to use it.

How to Tell if Your Avocado is Ripe

There are many different varieties of avocados, with some having vibrant and smooth green skin, and others having much darker olive green and leathery textured skin. For example, the Hass avocado changes color as it ripens, from dark green to a purplish black color. On the other hand, the Shepard avocado tends to stay the same green color as it ripens. But in both cases, as the avocado ripens, it should begin to get softer to the touch and also get softer near the stem. The goal is to enjoy the avocado when it is just at the right ‘softness’. An avocado has likely become over-ripe if the skin starts to look slightly dried out, it is very soft to the touch, and some indentations under the skin remain when the avocado is pressed. 

Want Another Option?

Do you love avocados but don’t want to bother with the process of buying, storing, and gauging avocado ripeness and have avocados take up fridge space? Here’s another option for you then – just buy it frozen! Yes, there are actually frozen packages of diced avocados you can buy, at a relatively reasonable price, considering how expensive fresh avocados already are. The benefits? You can then thaw the amount you want, whenever you want, to use as salad toppings, in tacos, in smoothies, to make guacamole, or as an ingredient in other dishes as you desire. 

This way the avocado won’t go bad before you can use it, but you can still enjoy many of the benefits of avocado. So, if you like this option, check the grocery stores near you to see if they carry frozen chopped avocado pieces.

I think I’ve now given you plenty to think about regarding avocados in this article. So the next time you grocery shop, don’t fret if you see a bag of avocados on sale, and feel the urge to get it, but don’t know if you should. I want you to go for it, because I’ve shown you now in this article easy ways to store, preserve and enjoy them both now and into the future. Enjoy!