How To Store Avocados: Can You Refrigerate Avocados?

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Avocados are known for their difficulty. They are delicious when ripe. But working out when exactly they are ripe is very difficult. They seem to only be ready to eat for about 7 minutes. 

They are also one of the most difficult foods to store. Avocados need to be stored differently when they are whole and when cut open. How to store avocado can be tricky whether you have a cut avocado or uncut avocado.

Overall, the answer is yes, avocados can be stored in the refrigerator. But, they can be affected by the cold in various ways.

Refrigerating Avocados Whole

Putting an avocado in the refrigerator when whole can help to slow down the ripening process. This means that it’s best to place an avocado in the refrigerator when it is ripe. This is when it is soft to the touch but still a little firm. If it is overly soft or squishy, then it is likely bruised or overripe and brown.

You can also tell the ripeness of an avocado from its outer color. If it is a pale or bright green, then it is definitely not yet ripe. If it is a dark green, brown, or black, then it is more likely to be ripe.

Avocados can ripen unevenly. Which you will definitely know if you have ever cut open an avocado only to find that half of it is soft and the other half is hard.

Unripened avocados can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. They will continue to ripen while in the refrigerator. But they won’t ripen enough to be eaten. So you’re going to need to remove the avocado from the refrigerator a day or two before you want to eat it. This will allow the avocado to ripen enough to be able to eat.

When the avocado is in the refrigerator, it’s important to make sure that it’s safe. Avocados are delicate fruits and can be easily damaged. So make sure that it is secure and won’t be knocked by other products. It also needs to be in a place where it won’t fall. Avocados seem to be prone to rolling and flying out of the refrigerator. 

If the avocado is knocked or bumped, then this can cause bruising. This makes the flesh become too soft and brown.

That said, if you want to eat the avocado sooner, it’s fine to leave them to ripen in a fruit bowl. They can also be kept in a cupboard. So while it will slow down the ripening process, keeping avocados in the refrigerator is not necessary for keeping them fresh.

Refrigerating Avocados When Cut Open

Refrigerating avocados is a little different when they have been cut open. It’s rare that you will need a whole avocado. People mostly only need to use half of the avocado. So, how can you store the other half? 

You should absolutely store opened avocados in the refrigerator. But this can often cause them to go hard or turn brown.

To keep them fresher, make sure to leave the other half of the avocado in its skin with the pit. Then, wrap it up. You can use saran wrap. But we recommend something more sustainable and plastic free like beeswax or soy wax wraps. 

Adding acid to avocados can help to stop them from going bad in the refrigerator. Covering the surface of the avocado with lemon juice or lime juice will prevent it from reacting with oxygen. This delays the oxidation process which is how food goes bad. 

Of course, not everyone likes the taste of lemon juice or lime juice. But, fortunately, lemon juice goes very well with avocados. 

Open avocados can last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. But this is only technically. They will become quite hard after a day or so. So it’s best to eat the other half as soon as possible. 

If the avocado has been chopped up or mashed, then it won’t last quite as long. Even with lemon or lime juice on it, there will be an increased surface area. This means that oxygen will be able to oxidize more of the avocado. Make sure to keep any avocado that has been chopped up (more than just in half) in an airtight container. 

Can You Keep Guacamole in the Refrigerator?

If you have some leftover guacamole, then you definitely need to keep it in the refrigerator. But it will need to be covered.

Placing the guacamole in an airtight container will prevent oxygen from entering it and oxidizing the avocado. 

If you have already added some lemon juice or lime juice to the guacamole, then it will potentially last a little longer. But, this will not work quite as well as on the solid surface of an avocado.

This is because the lemon juice or lime juice will need to cover the entirety of the smashed avocado. This is very difficult unless you completely douse the guacamole in the lemon or lime juice. 

Can You Freeze Avocados?

You can and you definitely should. But, you should consider a few things first. Like pretty much any other food, avocados will have a change in texture and consistency once defrosted. 

Freezing an avocado whole will stop it from ripening. They can be left in the freezer for up to 6 months. But they will generally begin to worsen after around 4 months. 

But, don’t just throw a whole avocado into the freezer. This will not work well and will be difficult to defrost. There are several ways to freeze avocados.

Freezing Whole Avocados

Avocados cannot be properly frozen when entirely whole. But, you can freeze avocados by cutting them in half. These are the very simple steps to freezing avocados in halves:

  1. Wash the skin of the avocado and dry it thoroughly.
  2. Cut the avocado in half. Leave the pit in whichever half it stays in.
  3. Drip some lemon juice or lime juice over the surface of the avocado flesh. Spread it across the flesh so as much as possible is covered. 
  4. Wrap the halves in plastic wrap or a wax wrap. It’s best to wrap the halves separately. This will make sure the wrapping is more airtight.
  5. Place them all in a freezer bag or a container. A solid container will be best as it will stop the avocados from being knocked or crushed.
  6. Place them in the freezer. It’s best to place on the bottom of a freezer drawer. This will lessen the risk of them being crushed or bruised. 

Freezing Puréed Avocado

When an avocado is defrosted, it will become mushier than before. This is generally the case when most foods are defrosted. When frozen, foods take on more water. When the food is defrosted, the water defrosts as well. This makes the food much softer.

A soft avocado isn’t necessarily bad. But it won’t have quite the right texture. Most dishes that include avocado require it to be mashed up anyway. So freezing it as a purée can even be a little time-saving hack. Here are the simple steps to freezing avocado as a purée:

  1. Scoop out the flesh from a ripe avocado and prepare it as you usually would. Make sure that it is completely mashed. When it is defrosted, it won’t have quite the same texture so mashing it up afterward won’t work as well.
  2. Place in a sealable bag or an airtight container. We recommend using a solid container. This will simply be easier. It also reduces the risk of the avocado being squeezed and spilling out over your freezer.
  3. Place in the freezer. As you have already mashed up the avocado, you won’t have to worry about it being knocked around and bruised. 

Freezing Sliced Avocado

If you more commonly use avocado sliced up, then the methods above might not work for you.

You can defrost the whole avocado and slice it up. But they will be very soft and difficult to slice up cleanly. 

Instead, you can slice them up beforehand and freeze them as they are. This is the trickiest option out of the three. So make sure to follow these simple steps for freezing sliced avocados. (These steps can also be used for diced or chopped avocados).

  1. Cut open the avocado and slice or chop it in your preferred style. If you’re freezing multiple avocados, it might be a good idea to chop them in different styles for more choice later on. 
  2. Drizzle with lemon juice or lime juice. Rubbing the avocado when cut might distort the shape. But it’s still important to try and cover as much of the surface as possible. A delicate pastry brush will help with this.
  3. Place the avocado pieces onto a lined baking tray. Place in the freezer until they are solid. This should take around an hour, depending on your freezer.
  4. Once they feel solid to the touch, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container. As with the other two options, a solid container is better. This will reduce the risk of the avocado being broken or crushed. This is still a risk, even when the avocado is frozen. 

Using Overripe Avocados

If you threw away every avocado that you misjudged and let over ripen, then you would end up throwing away a whole tree every month. If you often find yourself cutting around the soft brown parts of an avocado, then you definitely need to work on your ability to tell whether an avocado is ripe. 

But, that can take some time and, honestly, most of the time it is still just a lucky guess. So, to stop you from wasting avocado, here are a few ways to use up overripe avocados.

Avocado Ice Cream

This might not sound delicious but just trust us. Avocado does have a slight taste of its own. But it can also take on the flavor of other foods very easily. Due to its creamy texture, when it is blended and frozen, it is similar to ice cream.

To make avocado ice cream, simply blend together two avocados, 1.5 cups of condensed milk or coconut milk, a squeeze of lime juice, and a pinch of salt. This will be a nice enough ice cream in itself. But you can also add other flavors. The best is chocolate. Just had in a tbsp or 2 of cocoa powder. 

This is also a healthy alternative to ice cream. Blended avocado freezes really well. And its creamy texture works surprisingly well. Once it’s all blended together, you won’t even be able to tell that some sections were overripe. 

Chocolate Mousse

Another way to use up overripe avocados is to turn them into chocolate mousse. The process for this is a little similar to making avocado ice cream.

Simply blend the avocado with coconut milk and add in some cocoa powder. Except this time, just leave it in the refrigerator to settle, rather than in the freezer.

Add to a smoothie

Green smoothies can basically have anything green in them. So why not add an avocado? Avocados won’t add much flavor.

But they will make the smoothie much nicer and creamier. And they are full of great nutrients!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze guacamole?

You absolutely can. For guacamole, just follow the same steps in the section on freezing puréed avocado.

Guacamole is of course very different from puréed avocado. But the freezing process is still the same.

Can you store avocados at room temperature?

When you buy avocados in the store, they are kept in the produce aisle and not in the refrigerator. So, does this mean you can store avocados at room temperature? It absolutely does!

It isn’t necessary to keep them in the refrigerator. It’s just useful if you don’t want to eat them straight away.

Can you eat unripe avocados?

You can. But we don’t recommend it. It’s unlikely that eating an unripe avocado will make you ill. But it will be difficult to cut up and prepare.

It also won’t taste as nice as a ripe avocado. Unripe avocados are very firm and difficult to even chew.

Are avocados bad for the environment?

This is a difficult question to give a definitive answer. Avocados require a lot of water to be produced. One avocado requires 320 liters of water. This is a huge amount of water. So it’s important to make sure that avocados are only a small part of your diet. 

Avocados can also cause a strain on those who farm them. Due to the popularity of avocados, they are known as “green gold” in South America. They are prioritized over the farming of other foods. This can result in food insecurity.

This is because the vast majority of avocados are exported, rather than grown for the local community. As an individual, there isn’t a huge amount you can do about this.

But, if you can, reduce your consumption of avocados, try to buy as locally as you can, and make sure you buy from reputable and fair trade sources. You can also get involved in campaigns to improve working conditions and the environmental impact.

Top Tips

While pretty much everything you need to know about refrigerating avocados is mentioned above, there are still a few things to know. Here are some top tips for making sure your avocados are always fresh and delicious. 

Buy several at different stages of ripeness.

Working out when an avocado is ripe can sometimes seem impossible. But one way is from the color of its skin. Avocados begin with skin that is bright green.

As they ripen for eating, their skin becomes darker. They will be ready when the skin is a very dark green (almost brown) and they are soft to the touch. 

If you want to buy multiple avocados but don’t want to risk them going bad, buy them at different stages of ripeness. Buy one that is bright green and firm, one that is dark green and slightly soft, and one that is dark and soft. 

Keep avocados in the salad/crisper drawer.

Avocados will stay much fresher if kept in the salad drawer. Especially if your refrigerator allows you to control the level of humidity and temperature of the drawer.

The extra level of coldness will help to keep the avocados fresher for longer. If you keep avocado in the crisper drawer, then it is definitely necessary to store it in a solid container. Even if the avocado is whole. There is a much greater chance of it being bruised in the crisper drawer.

Try pickling avocados

Pretty much any food can be pickled. But avocado might be a surprising one. Pickled avocado definitely isn’t something you see very often. This is mostly because avocados are soft and the food traditionally used for pickling are fresh but hard.

But avocados are great for pickling. As already mentioned, avocados can take on a lot of flavor. This can be sweet or savory. The avocado will take on the flavor from the salt, spices, and vinegar used in the pickling process.

But, once bitten into, they will provide their signature creaminess.

Pickled avocados are great when eaten as they are. Or they can be mashed onto toast or crackers. This is essentially like having ready-seasoned avocado. As pickling is a method of preservation, this will also make the avocado last a lot longer.

Don’t refrigerate firm avocados

The best time to refrigerate an avocado is just as it has become ripe. This is when it is a little soft to the touch. Refrigerating slows down the ripening of an avocado. So it might sound sensible to refrigerate it before it is ripe. But, if you do this, then there’s a good chance it won’t ripen at all. 

The best thing to do is to leave it to ripen at room temperature (in a cupboard or in the fruit bowl). Then, if it feels as though it is ripe, but you’re not ready to use it, it’s time to refrigerate it.

Conclusion

So, overall, the answer is yes! You can definitely refrigerate avocados. In fact, you can do loads of things with avocados. They might be a difficult and delicate fruit at times (yes, they are a fruit…). But they are incredibly versatile and always worth buying. 

Just so long as you don’t let them go bad, that is! It’s easy to let avocados over ripen. But they require a lot of water to produce and are pretty expensive. So, if you throw out an avocado, you’re also throwing out a lot of money and water.

So, even if the avocado won’t be nice eaten as it is, make sure to try out one of the dishes above. Or, keep it in the refrigerator or even freeze it! You have a lot of options before you decide to throw out an avocado.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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