Outlines how to keep avocados fresh, after testing and ranking the 6 top ways tested, plus how to store whole avocados, how to freeze them and how to get them to ripen faster. The avocado is known as a versatile supplier of vitamins and nutrients. But what is the best method for how to keep avocados fresh to prevent fruit that has been cut or processed into guacamole from turning brown?
Nutrient-rich, healthy, tasty and versatile: the avocado has become an indispensable part of modern cuisine. But as soon as the fruit has been cut or made into a delicious guacamole, the problem begins: the pulp turns unappetizingly brown far too quickly. After a night in the refrigerator, a cut avocado can usually hardly be used. But how does the healthy fruit stay fresh longer?
There is a lot of vitamin and nutrient power in this fruit, which we all love. But the delicious green things can often be really sneaky “browners”. You probably know that too: sometimes you just can’t manage to use up a whole fruit. Before you know it, it has already happened: instead of beaming at you in fresh green, the remaining half only has a sad brown left for you. Almost like it resents you for separating it. The brown pulp is not harmful, but unfortunately it is no longer really appetizing either.
How to keep avocados fresh: the 6 top ways tested
The pulp of the avocado contains an enzyme that oxidizes in the air – this is what gives it its brown color. For this reason, the meat under the core of a sliced avocado, for example, often stays green if the cut areas have already changed color. A ready-made guacamole should keep fresher longer if you add lemon juice or simply add the avocado seeds to the bowl until just before serving.
Everyone swears by a different strategy for keeping their avocado green. This fact clearly called for a test: 6 tips, 4 avocados, a few storage boxes and off we went. We put 6 “anti-aging” methods to the test.
How to keep avocados fresh: Store the avocado airtight in a zip bag
Place the avocado half in an airtight zip bag (which you also use for your aircraft hand luggage). Pull the bag so far that a small opening remains. Breathe out deeply and then suck all the air out of the inside of the bag with your mouth, so that – almost – a vacuum is created. Place the bag in the refrigerator. The aim is to protect the avocado from the oxygen in the air, which causes the brown color.
The problem in practice: Even during preparation, the vacuumed state did not last long. The bag was filled with air again after a short time – even after several attempts with different bags. These zippers don’t seem to be really airtight. So wait and see what the avocado thinks of the method.
How to keep avocados fresh: Keep the avocado in a water bath
This is how it’s done: Fill the bowl with cold water, carefully slide the avocado half into it and put the bowl with the avocado in the refrigerator. The water completely shields the avocado from oxygen. Since the avocado contains a lot of fat, the water cannot harm it.
How to keep avocados fresh: Treat the avocado with olive oil and cling film
Brush halved avocado generously with olive oil and then cover with cling film – so that as few wrinkles and air pockets as possible appear. Put in the fridge. Thanks to the oil, the film adheres well to the fruit and forms an additional protective layer against the oxygen.
How to keep avocados fresh: Save the avocado with onions
Cover the bottom of an airtight storage box with halved or sliced, raw onions, add the halved avocado, close the lid airtight and place in the refrigerator. The antioxidants in the sulfur fumes from the onion are said to help slow down the oxidation process and thus delay the browning. You can use a Tupperware box or another airtight container in which you place the avocado together with the halved onion.
The typical onion smell does not rub off too much on the avocado – if you are sensitive, you should still test this storage method first before attempting to store larger quantities of avocado dishes in this way. However, if you don’t mind the onion, they claim you can use this method to store a cut avocado in the refrigerator for several days without the healthy fruit getting brown spots.
Red onions particularly help prevent oxidation. The sulfur compounds contained in it prevent the avocado from turning brown as quickly. They should be kept airtight in the refrigerator. It is enough for the red onion to come into contact with the skin, which also prevents the avocado from taking on the onion aroma.
How to keep avocados fresh: Rub avocado with lemon juice
Drizzle the pulp of half the avocado with lemon juice and rub it in thoroughly. Place the grated avocado in an airtight box in the refrigerator. Lemon and lime juice also contain antioxidants that are supposed to prevent browning for some time. Citric acid is a powerful antioxidant and slows down the oxidation of the avocado. A few squirts in the guacamole not only spices up the sauce, but also keeps it fresher longer.
How to keep avocados fresh: Store avocado with its own stone
Another extremely effective method and trick that Central and South Americans use to keep the avocado flesh fresher longer is to leave the avocado core in the cut half of the avocado. So to prevent oxidation, it helps to leave the kernel in the avocado half, as the enzymes it contains prevent it from turning brown, they say. So if you only want to eat half an avocado, use the seedless half first and don’t remove the core from the second half. Place the avocado with the core in an airtight freshness box and place in the refrigerator. Like onions and lemons, your own avocado kernel should also contain enzymes that prevent the fruit from turning brown.
Control sample and results for the experiments
In order to have a comparison value, a pitted half of the avocado, without any special treatment, was placed with the flesh side down in an airtight freshness box and also moved with the other avocado experiements to the refrigerator.
In their boxes, bags, foils and bowls, the fruits could stay quite fresh for 24 hours. After that they start to turn brown anyway. Unfortunately – also to our disappointment – there is no clear favorite among the 6 tested tips. But the control fruit turned out to be a little surprise.
The avocado from the zip bag had not changed its consistency , but it has turned a little brown all around. Compared to the other test avocados, it shows a slight discoloration on the entire surface, which confirms initial doubts about this method: it was not completely airtight in the bag. So not really recommendable.
At first glance , the avocado that has stayed in the water bath looks like it has just been sliced. Fresh and bright green. However, it changed its consistency overnight. It feels a bit “slimy” and “slimy”. It is still suitable for further processing into guacamole, but if you want to eat it pure and in beautiful strips, you should better choose one of the other methods.
In oil and foil an avocado seems not very good. I would describe this result as the worst in the test. The clearest discoloration was seen here. The consistency hadn’t really changed, but of all the avocados in the test, this one looks the most unsavory the next day.
The avocado that spent its night with the onions is only slightly discolored in the lower area. Its consistency had not changed and it still looked quite appealing overall.
The fruit that was rubbed with lemon juice also showed the least discoloration . It still looks green and is only slightly brownish at the bottom. That seemed to be working.
Even the half that was allowed to keep its core looked appetizing and was still quite fresh. It is similar to the fruit treated with lemon. Only a few light brown welts can be seen. So there is more than just a myth behind the method. On the one hand, the core covers part of the surface so that the pulp does not come into contact with oxygen. On the other hand, the rest of the surface can still be looked at properly.
A clear surprise is the fruit that was not treated. If you looked at the untreated half, there didn’tseem to be any need to do a big hack at the fruit. If you cleanly cut the avocado and place the halves with the cut edge on a flat surface, it is just as well or even better protected than with the other treatment methods. It remains almost as green as freshly cut and only changes color to a minimal extent The prerequisite is a cut that is as smooth as possible .
Final Conclusion: With these tips, your avocado will last until the next day with lemon rub, the core left in the fruit, or sitting flat on a surface.
And if none of the tips worked and it does turn brown: In an emergency, scrape the browned surface of the avocado very thinly with a spoon. That always helps when in doubt!
How to properly store whole avocados
Storage of unripe fruit: It is best to keep an unripe fruit at room temperature. Because when they are stored in the refrigerator, the ripening process is interrupted due to the low temperature.
Storage of ripe fruit: A ripe fruit, on the other hand, can easily be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Extend the shelf life of avocados
Avocados are one of the most fatty fruits. They provide a lot of unsaturated fatty acids that the body can easily convert into energy, are rich in minerals, vitamins, enzymes and help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins from other foods.
Avocados can be incorporated into the diet in a variety of ways. They give smoothies a creamy consistency, they taste great in fresh salads, as a dressing or dip and are a good alternative to butter and other spreads.
There are various tips and tricks for properly storing avocados, keeping them fresh and extending their shelf life.
Why does an avocado turn brown?
Shortly after cutting an avocado, the pulp will turn brown. The reason for this are enzymes that start to oxidize on contact with the air. The avocado isn’t necessarily bad at this point. The top brown layer can often be scraped off, leaving a fresh green layer underneath.
Slowing down the ripening process of avocado
To slow down the ripening process of an avocado, it helps to store avocados in a cool place. Avocados that have not been cut stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
If only half of the avocado is used, the core should remain in the unused avocado half. The core reduces the area on the pulp for oxidation. The pulp can also be rubbed with a thin layer of olive oil or freshly squeezed lemon juice. This creates a natural barrier that protects against oxidation and the avocado retains a large part of its green color.
The cut avocado can also be stored with a cut onion in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Avocado and onion should touch each other. Onions give off sulfur gases, which reduce the oxidation process and protect the avocado from turning brown. A cut avocado can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice or onions can also be added to avocados that have already been crushed, such as guacamole. It should be noted that these ingredients can change the taste of the guacamole.
Preserve avocados for 6 months
Ripe avocados can also be frozen. If frozen, the fruits can be kept for up to 6 months. Avocados can be frozen in pieces or pureed.
For freezing in pieces: wash and quarter the avocado, remove the stone and then peel off the skin. Roll the avocado pieces in freshly squeezed lemon juice and then place in a freezer bag. The avocado pieces should not touch each other, otherwise they will freeze together. The avocado kernel does not need to be frozen.
For freezing pureed avocado: Wash the avocado, quarter it, remove the stone and then peel off the skin. Either mash the avocado pieces with a fork or puree them finely in a food processor. Mix the avocado puree with freshly squeezed lemon juice and then pour it into an ice cube maker for better portioning later.
The frozen avocado can be added to smoothies in the frozen state or defrosted for various recipes such as guacamole, dressings and spreads.
Note: The thawed avocado is no longer as fresh as the fresh avocado.
Accelerate the avocado ripening process
The process of ripening avocados can also be sped up. If you buy unripe and very hard avocados, it can take around 4-5 days to fully ripen. For this, the fruits should best be stored at room temperature.
To speed up the ripening process, the avocado can be placed in a paper bag with an apple. Apples emit ethyl in particularly high concentrations and thus stimulate other fruits to ripen prematurely.
Genevieve Dumas is a design, fashion, food and style writer who has worked on major magazines and mastheads in the United States and Europe.