Lawyers are flighty. Sometimes they appear to be ready to eat, but hard as a rock when cut. Other times the avocados look rotten before you get them home. This unpredictability isn’t just expensive ($1.25 each for medium, $2.50 each for large at my local supermarket, as of this writing); it also contributes to food waste.
There’s no magic gadget that will tell you when an avocado has fully ripened, but there are ways to help your avocados last longer so they’re ready for guacamole or toast. Depending on several factors, including how mature your avocado is and what you plan to use it for, there are different ways to retain avocados.
Is it ripe?
Avocado color is a great place to start. The darker the color, the riper the fruit. Unripe avocados will usually be bright green with smoother skin. If you’re going to use them right away, look for dark, bumpy skin that takes on a purple hue.
The touch test is a good way to tell how ripe an avocado is. With your thumb, gently apply pressure to the end where the rod was attached. If the flesh of the fruit does not yield to the soft but firm touch, then the avocado is unripe. Look at the brown knot where the avocado was tied to the stem. If it falls easily to the touch, it is ripe. If it still holds well, it will be ripe in a day or two.
How to store a whole avocado
If you bought an unripe avocado hoping that you could perfectly time your craving for avocado toast, the best thing to do is to keep the avocado whole and place it on a counter, away from any other fruit and vegetable.
Avocados typically last four to five days on your kitchen counter before spoiling. Avocados are delicate, so it is important to check them daily. If your avocado is fresh and ready to eat, you can put it in the fridge, where it will keep for several days. Put it in an airtight container or in the product drawer. If your avocado is in the produce drawer next to bananas or apples, the gas produced by these fruits will speed up its ripening process, so be sure to check it often.
How to store cut avocado
Let’s say you sliced that ripe avocado, only to find your eyes were bigger than your stomach. There are ways to keep a cut avocado from spoiling too quickly.
If the avocado isn’t already diced or mashed, cube it or mash it. Then wrap it in plastic wrap, making sure the wrap directly covers the avocado and there are no air bubbles. This will help keep oxygen out of your avocado and prevent it from browning. You can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.
You can also save half an avocado with the skin and pit intact. Leaving the skin on actually prevents oxidation and keeps the inner flesh fresh. You can buy clever storage solutions from avocados. Still, the easiest way to preserve half an avocado is to rub some olive oil or lime juice over the flesh of the avocado, cover the whole thing (even the skin) with a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. This will help prevent oxygen from seeping into the avocado and spoiling it and should keep it intact for two days.
You can also store half an avocado by placing it pit side down in an airtight container, with a little water in the bottom. Water keeps the flesh and kernels moist without accelerating aging processes. You will probably notice that some of the outer skin has turned brown, but you can easily remove it.
How to freeze avocado
Yes, ripe avocados can totally be frozen. There are several ways to do this. Just understand that freezing an avocado reduces its creaminess, so while you can still use frozen avocados in guacamole and in smoothies, don’t plan on consuming them plain.
To freeze an avocado, remove the pit and peel it. After that, sprinkle lemon or lime over the flesh and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Store the avocado so it doesn’t spoil too quickly in a sealed plastic bag or vacuum seal.
If you plan to eat your frozen avocado straight from the freezer, it’s best to puree or blend it first. Blend the avocado with a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice using a blender. Place the puree in an airtight freezer bag and store in the freezer. This should last about four months.
Marie invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments to https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.coma frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living”.
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