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How Long do Avocados Last? Your Avocado Storage Questions Answered

Close up of cut avocado with whole avocados in the background
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Avocados are a savory fruit that have a nutty taste and creamy texture. As an added bonus, they are also very nutritious!  They can be enjoyed by themselves as a healthy snack, mashed into guacamole, spread over toast or used in a wide range of dishes from nachos, salads, tacos and even hamburgers.  I like to add them to my smoothies.  

But what is the best way to store this versatile fruit to make sure you can enjoy it before it goes bad?  We will dive into this question and others as we explore the practical matters around storing avocados.

How Long do Avocados Last on the Counter?

Grouping of avocados with varying levels of ripeness.
Baloncici / Shutterstock

While this will be a recurring answer, how long an avocado will last on the counter at room temperature depends on its ripeness.  Hard, unripe avocados will typically last on the countertop up to 4-5 days (though it can last up to 7 days) as long as it is not cut.  However, I would check them each day as they can be finicky and go bad quickly.  Once ripe, you can leave them on the counter for an additional 1 to 2 days.  If you want to extend the life of an avocado, you can put in the fridge and get a few more days out of it as the fridge slows the ripening process.

If you cut your avocado and don’t want to use it all, you will want to store the remaining cut avocado in an airtight container in the fridge.  The oxidation process begins to turn the avocado brown immediately after cutting and exposing the flesh to air.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you store avocados in a bowl with other fruits, such as apples or bananas, they will ripen faster.  This is because these fruits emit a gas called ethylene that speed up the ripening process.   Common foods that emit ethylene gas are apples, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, peaches, pears, peppers, tomatoes, and, you guessed it, avocados.  I would try and store your avocados in a separate place than other ethylene producing foods to maximize the life of your avocados. Also, make sure they have plenty of air flow so the ethylene gas emitted by the avocados themselves don’t speed up the ripening process.  

I try to buy avocados at different levels of ripeness so I that can enjoy them throughout the week. 

How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe?

Grouping of avocados.  You can tell the ripeness of an avocado by it's color, texture and firmness.
maramorosz / Shutterstock

In my opinion, best way to tell if an avocado is ripe is by feel.  Give the avocado a firm squeeze with your finger tips and if it gives a little but is not too mushy,  it is ripe.  A ripe avocado has similar firmness to a ripe pear.   If it’s too hard, leave it on the counter or put back in the fridge until it softens up a bit.  Throw it out if it feels mushy at all and causes indentations when you squeeze it.

You can also tell in an avocado is ripe by its color.  A ripe avocado usually has a dark green to blackish color.  If it’s a green color with not much black, it is usually not ripe enough.  If it’s all black with a tint of brown and no hint of green, it could be bad.  Though, I would also feel the avocado to confirm its ripeness.

A third way to tell if an avocado is ripe is by the texture of its skin.  Avocados will generally have smooth skins when they are not ripe.  As they ripen, their skin will form bumps. A ripe avocado will have a bumpy texture to its skin.  

How Long do Avocados Last in the Fridge?

Three avocados with one cut in half.  Once ripe, avocados can last in the fridge uncut for two or three days
RaymondZ / Shutterstock

How long avocados last in the fridge depends on how ripe they are when put them in the fridge and whether or not they have been cut.

A whole avocado that is not ripe can last in the fridge up to two weeks in the refridgerator. It will continue to ripen but at a slower pace. However, ripening an avocado in the fridge can impact the texture and taste. The ideal temperature to ripen an avocado room temp. Once ripe, you can move into the fridge to extend it’s life by two or three more days with no impact to taste or texture.

Whether ripe or unripe, whole avocados should be placed in an airtight container or in the produce drawer of your fridge.

If you cut an avocado but don’t want to use all of it, I would put what you don’t use into an airtight container and store in the fridge where it should be good for one to two days. The flesh may start to turn a brownish color due to the oxidation but you can still eat it. You can use lemon or lime juice to slow this process, which does change the flavor a bit but I like the flavor lemon or lime juice add to avocados.

Can you Freeze Avocados?

Frozen cut avocado in a bowl. Avocados store well in a freezer and can last around one month if cut.  If uncut, avocados can last up to three months in the fridge.
Merrimon Crawford / Shutterstock

Yes. When avocados are ripe, they can be frozen with little to no impact to their quality or texture. In fact, I like to buy frozen avocados at the grocery store for my smoothies.

You can freeze avocados whole, leave the skin on and freeze them in halves, or remove from the skin entirely and freeze avocado that has been cut into slices.

However way you decide to do it, I would make sure you store it in freezer bags or appropriate freezer containers, making sure you squeeze the air out before putting in the freezer. Also, to avoid any browning, I would sprinkle lemon or lime juice over the exposed flesh prior to freezing.

How Long Do Avocados Last in the Freezer?

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If stored properly, you can expect your frozen avocados that have been cut to last around a month with no degradation of texture or quality. However, frozen whole avocados can last up to three months, provide the skin has not been cut at all.

What are Ways to Speed up the Ripening of Avocados?

Using Ethylene Producing Fruits and Vegetables

Avocados with bananas and apples.  Storing with ethylene emitting fruits such as apples and bananas can help speed up the ripening of avocados.
Andrei S / Shutterstock

As we mentioned above, fruits such as apples and bananas emit a gas called ethylene that speeds up the ripening process for ethylene sensitive foods, such as avocados. Now if you don’t know about this, it can work against you in your food going bad faster than anticipated. However, you can also use this process to your advantage and speed up the ripening of your hard avocados to make them guacamole ready in time for this weekend’s game!

To maximize the ethylene’s effectiveness, I would put the avocados and whatever ethylene emitting fruit you decide to use in a brown paper bag together on the counter. A hard avocado should be ripe in two to three days doing this, though I would check it daily to make sure it doesn’t get too ripe and go bad.

This is my favorite way to speed up the ripening of avocados if you have the time as it doesn’t impact the taste or texture.

Use the Oven to Ripen Avocados

Inside of an oven.  You can also soften avocados in the oven
Jaroslav Moravcik / Shutterstock

If you are in a time crunch, a quicker way to soften avocados is in the oven. This process takes anywhere from one to three hours, depending on how soft the avocado is to start. I say soften rather than ripen as the avocados don’t have same nutty flavor and creamy texture when they are softened this way. However, in a pinch this will work.

To soften in the oven start by tightly wrapping your avocados in foil and placing on a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish. Add to a preheated oven set to 200 degrees and check the softness every 5 to 10 minutes. Once you are happy with the softness, remove from the oven and let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, once cool enough to handle, remove the wrappings and let them chill in fridge for an hour or so.

Use the Microwave to Ripen Avocados

Inside of a microwave.  You can also use the microwave to soften avocados.
Lipskiy / Shutterstock

I hesitate to suggest this method because it does significantly degrade the taste and texture of the avocado and can even cause them to give off an oder. However, if you are desperate and can’t wait the few hours it would take to soften avocados in the oven, then you can soften avocados in the microwave in about 10 minutes.

Start by cutting the avocado in half and removing the pits. Then wrap the two halves in a microwavable safe wrapping and heat on medium-high in the microwave for thirty second intervals, checking the softness after each time. Once you are happy with the softness, let cool for a minute or two, remove the wrappings and place the two halves in the fridge for five to ten minutes.

How to Tell if an Avocado has Gone Bad?

Close up of an overripe avocado.  Looking at the color of an avocado is one way to determine if an avocado has gone bad.
JAMAC / Shutterstock

Like many foods, you can use your senses to tell if an avocado has gone bad.

I start by giving it a good firm squeeze as I would if I were determining whether it was ripe. If the avocado feels mushy or leaves an indentation when you squeeze it, I would get rid of it.

If you notice the skin of your avocado looks unusually black, wrinkled or dimpled then it is probably time to get rid of it. Though, I would validate with the squeeze test.

When you cut into your avocado and notice it has an overall dark color or stringy texture to its flesh, then it is time to throw it out. Also, it is definitely a goner if you notice any mold. However, if you notice brown spots but the overall color looks good, your avocado is still good. You can just cut off the brown spots and enjoy the rest of it.

Finally, if you notice an unpleasant oder (other than any that may result from softening in the microwave) or unpleasant taste, then you should definitely get rid of it. Like any food, when in doubt, throw it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you ripen an avocado in the microwave?

Avocados can be softened in the microwave but their taste and texture will be impaired. However, if you are desperate, avocados can be softened in ten minutes using the microwave.

To soften avocados in the microwave, start by cutting your avocados in half and removing the pits. Then wrap in a microwavable safe wrapping and heat on medium-high for 30 second intervals, checking after each interval. Once you are happy with the softness, remove from wrapping and chill in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and you are ready to go.

Can you eat an avocado if it has brown spots?

Yes. If the overall color and texture of an avocado looks good but it has isolated brown spots, it is still good. You can just cut off the brown spots and enjoy the rest of the avocado.

Are avocados good for you?

Yes. Avocados are considered a superfood due to their high concentration of nutrients, monounsaturated fats (good fats) and fiber. In fact, avocados have been associated with reduced risks of chronic diseases.

Final Thoughts on How Long Avocados Last

Avocados are superfood that is both healthy and tasty! In addition, it is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of dishes and dips. We hope you have found this article informative and useful! Happy cooking!

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