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Holy guacamole—you need these tips and tricks!
There are a lot of avocado lovers out there these days—the average consumption has actually tripled in the past decade or so! If you’re team avocado, you probably know that the secret to perfect avocado toast and perfect guac is pretty simple: You need perfect avocados! The only problem is that this luscious, buttery fruit (yep, it’s a fruit—a berry, to be exact!) can be a bit temperamental in terms of shelf-life: One day you’ve nabbed a deal on a bag of rock-hard avocados, and then a few days later you’re left with sad, mushy orbs. So how do you find the sweet spot? You just need to know how to store avocados so that they’re nice and ripe when you need them most. Read on for the scoop.
First things first: How do you know which avocados to buy at the store? If you’re a big avocado family, you might want to buy a few avocados in varying stages of ripeness. Buy a ripe one that’s ready to eat right away (it should yield to gentle pressure when you squeeze it), then one that’s firm-ish but starting to soften (it’ll be ready in a day or two) and another one that’s hard as a rock and needs a few days. That way you’ll have what you need for recipes like taco salad, nachos or tortilla soup—all week long!
If you have whole avocados that are underripe, store them at room temperature on the countertop where they will ripen naturally. (Check out these tips if you need them to ripen pronto!) Once the avocados are ripe—their flesh will yield when gently pressed—store them in the refrigerator, where the cold will slow down the ripening process. You’ll actually be able to extend the shelf life of a ripe avocado by about two days!
While whole avocados should be stored at room temp, cut avocados are a different story. Once cut, store them in the fridge—check out the tips below on how to prevent them from browning too much. If you cut into your avocado and it’s not as ripe as you had hoped, all is not lost! Just rub the cut sides with lemon juice, then put the two halves back together, wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a few days, then try again.
Ideally, you should only refrigerate avocados once they’re ripe. Refrigerating an underripe avocado will slow down the ripening process, which in theory may lengthen its overall shelf life, but it may also impact the overall development of flavor and texture of the avocado once it’s brought back to room temperature to continue ripening.
Avocado flesh will naturally begin to brown from the oxidation process, which is when the cut side is exposed to air. The trick to slowing down the browning process is to seal the flesh of the avocado in order to limit its exposure to oxygen. Here are a few ways to do it: