Food storage hacks: How to keep avocados ripe and edible for ‘up to two weeks’
Avocados are consumed in millions of UK households, but if not stored correctly they can overripe and spoil quickly. Express.co.uk spoke to Charles Haverfield, Packaging Executive at US Packaging and Wrapping about keeping avocados fresh and green for longer.
Charles began: “The shelf life of your avocado will depend on how ripe the fruit is when purchased.
“Obviously, buying an unripe avocado will take longer – if your avocado is still bright green, it will need about a week before you can eat it.
“A fully ripe, uncut avocado can last up to two weeks after purchase if stored properly.
“To slow down the ripening process and prevent your avocado from turning into a mushy brown mess, put it in the fridge which will help keep it firmer and fresher for longer.”
The expert also explained why avocados turn brown when the flesh is exposed. He said: “Avocados are highly perishable fruit and are particularly vulnerable to browning once cut. This is because, like many fruits, avocados have an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase that reacts when oxidation occurs.
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“When the avocado flesh comes into contact with oxygen, a reaction occurs that changes the pigment to brown and reduces the quality and texture of the fruit.
“Because of this, it’s best to leave your avocado cut as long as possible before eating to ensure you have the best quality avocado.”
So is there a way to tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe and ready to eat? Charles said: “Colour and firmness will help you determine if your avocado is perfectly ripe.
“First you have to check if the color of the skin is dark enough. An underripe avocado will still be a paler shade of green rather than the classic dark green or brown shade.
“You should also give the avocado a gentle but firm squeeze to test the texture. A ripe avocado gives a little without being too soft. An avocado that gives too easily is undoubtedly overripe and mushy, while one that doesn’t and feels too firm will take longer to mature.”
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If your avocado is underripe, “there are several ways you can speed up the ripening process”. The expert added: “Keeping your avocado in a warm, sunny place will help the ripening process go faster. But be sure to keep testing the avocado’s firmness to prevent it from overripe.
“You can also try keeping avocados in a fruit bowl with other fruits that release the ripening gas ethylene, such as bananas and apples.”
As for the best ways to store an avocado, Charles revealed: “There are different ways you should store avocados, depending on how ripe they are and how quickly you want to eat them.
“If you have a ripe avocado that you plan to eat within a day or two, or your avocados are not yet ripe, leave them on your counter away from bright light. Room temperature will allow the avocado to continue ripening, which will not be a problem if you want to eat quickly.
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“But if you want to keep the fruit fresh for a longer period of time, putting them in the fridge will slow down the ripening process.
“Freezing avocado slices is another solution for those who want their avocados to last for several months but are not as concerned about texture.
“One viral hack you shouldn’t follow is keeping avocados in water,” he added. “Submerging avocados in water may apparently help them stay healthy, but doing so would put them at greater risk of contamination.
“Moist conditions are the perfect breeding ground for nasty bacteria like listeria and salmonella, so avoid this trend to prevent illness.”
Charles continued: “A better solution if you want to extend the shelf life of your cut avocados is to spritz them with lemon juice. Citrus fruits work great for preserving avocados since the acid reduces the activity of polyphenol oxidase, slowing the avocado flesh from browning.
“Freezing avocados can be a great way to keep the fruit longer, even lasting up to four months when stored in the freezer – perfect for saving those ripe avocados you don’t want to waste.
“However, avocado lovers should be aware that the thawing process can affect the texture of the flesh, so don’t expect perfectly creamy and firm avocados after thawing. Because of this, it’s best to only freeze avocados that you plan to mash or blend, ie use in a smoothie or make guacamole with.
“To freeze avocados, remove the skin and cut them into chunks or slices before storing in a ziplock freezer bag. Allow the frozen avocado chunks to thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.”