Avocados have to be one of my favorite foods. I love putting them in my smoothies after a morning workout, or slicing one open to put on my sandwich for lunch. And they’re a creamy garnish for a hearty and flavorful vegetarian burrito bowls.
Heck, I’ve even been known to use them as a base for pudding.
Fun fact that many readers out there might not realize: It’s actually a fruit, not a vegetable.
One of the wonderful things about living in California is that I can get this fruit year round, for a very affordable price. And in the summer, I can get twenty of them for five dollars!
That being said, it’s crucial that you know how to properly store them, so they don’t go bad before you can enjoy them. You should also know that no two are the same.
With more than seven different varieties commercially available (at least in California), there are many different types to choose from. Hass is the most popular and it’s available throughout the U.S., but Reed is my favorite – it’s larger, and the flesh is very creamy.
The counter is best
When it comes to storing this fruit, if you plan to eat it within the next 1-2 days and it’s already ripe, you’ll want to leave it on your counter.
Another time when you’ll want to leave it on your counter is when it’s still hard, before it has had a chance to ripen.
This green, pear-shaped fruit is very unique in the fact that it only starts to ripen after it’s picked. If you buy a few and they’re still hard, leave them on the counter, as they’ll continue to mature.
When to use the refrigerator
There are a few times when you’ll want to store this fruit in the refrigerator instead, typically whenever you want to slow the ripening process. If you purchase a big bag of these that are precisely right (i.e. perfectly ripe), place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
Also, if you cut one in half, place the unused half in the refrigerator.
As soon as you cut one open, it will start to oxidize and turn brown. While this doesn’t affect the flavor, it might not be something you want to serve to others.
If this is the case, keep the pit with the avocado half you’re saving, and drizzle a little lemon or lime juice on the cut flesh. From there, place it in a plastic bag with the air sucked out, or an airtight sealed container in the refrigerator.
This should keep it from turning brown for a couple of days, but the longer you keep it in the fridge, the more discolored it will become.
Two tips for picking the perfect avocado
I picked my fair share of rotten or under-ripe items in the past, until finally I discovered two tricks that never do me wrong.
If you remember these techniques, you’ll be able to pick a good one every time.
Tip #1: The Stem Test
There is usually a little stem at the top, the narrow portion of the fruit. You can see if you have a good one by removing that tiny plug.
If you take off the stem without any difficulty and it’s green underneath, that’s a good sign that it’s ripe and ready to go. If it’s brown in the area, it’s probably brown on the inside too, and you don’t want that.
If it doesn’t come off easily, it’s most likely not ready yet. Leave these on the counter to ripen a little longer.
Tip #2: The Squeeze Test
Give it a gentle grip – it should budge a little and feel slightly soft, a good indication that you’ll want to take it home because it’s perfect.
Just beware of brown spots or discoloration, signs that the fruit has been bruised, and is most likely brown on the inside.
To recap, be sure to remember these two things and you’ll be fine: if it’s slightly ripe and you plan to eat it in 1-2 days, counter is best.
But if it’s really ripe and soft, store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to dig in.
Use your now perfectly ripened produce in our zesty version of deviled eggs, filled with guacamole!
I hope this article helps you! Feel free to share your best tips and advice below.
About Sarah Hagstrom
Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" (www.theseasonaldiet.com). She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.