Avocados are a popular fruit consumed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Determining when it is the best time to eat your avocados is tricky. Does avocado go bad? Knowing when your avocados will rot will help you use the fruit in time.
Avocados go bad. The shelf life of avocados depends on how it is stored.
- An unripe, unpeeled avocado will go bad in 3-7 days at room temperature.
- A ripe, unpeeled avocado will go bad in 1-2 days at room temperature.
- An unripe avocado will go bad in about 2 weeks in the fridge.
- A ripe, cut avocado will go bad in 2-3 days in the fridge.
- A ripe avocado will last 3-4 months in the freezer.
- An unripe avocado will last 5-6 months in the freezer.
Does Avocado Go Bad? How Long Does Avocado Last?
Avocado is a fruit, specifically a berry. Mexico supplies the majority of the world’s avocados. The avocado trees flourish in their humid, tropical climate. 95% of the avocados found in the United States are Hass avocados.
The most popular avocado cultivar consumed in the United States is the Hass avocado. Hass avocados are native to California. Due to their popularity, Mexico began producing Hass avocados. Other cultivars include Reed, Fuerte, Zutano, and Bacon. The Hass avocado grew in popularity due to its nutty, rich, and creamy taste.
Hass avocados grow quicker and have a longer shelf life. Hass avocados have a longer shelf life due to their thicker skin. Thick skin protects the fruit from damage during transport. Unlike other avocados, a Hass avocado is dark green with bumpy skin. Other avocados are a lighter green with smooth skin. As a Hass avocado ripens, the skin gets darker resembling a color close to black.
Avocado turns brown due to oxidation. We expose the avocado to oxygen after breaking the skin. The oxygen causes the fruit to brown. The browning of your avocado does not mean it is bad. It is simply a chemical reaction. Apples experience the same reaction. The brown part of an avocado is safe to eat. If you prefer not to eat it, scrape off a thin layer of the brown part. Underneath the layer will be green avocado. Other than oxidation, young avocado trees may produce fruit with brown streaks. This is still edible.
Avocados go bad due to improper storage. If you notice the entire fruit is brown after removing the skin, it is best to discard it. Eating a spoiled or moldy avocado can make you sick. Avocados are a sensitive fruit and often expire faster than others.
How long an avocado will last depends on how ripe it is when you purchase it. A firm avocado will ripen or soften in four to five days. This is helpful knowledge in case you are planning to use your avocado on a specific day. You can test how ripe an avocado is in the store by gently pressing it.
If you are able to press into it, it is ready to eat within the next day or two. If you cannot push your thumb into it, it is unripe. An unripe avocado will need four to five days before it is ideal for consumption. If the avocado feels very squishy, it is likely bad. Testing the avocados at the store is a good way to avoid buying bad avocados.
The ripening process of an avocado begins once it is picked from the tree. Understanding how ripe or unripe an avocado is, will help you make a better decision at the store.
How Long Does Avocado Last Outside?
It is best to store an unripe avocado outside at room temperature if you plan to eat it in the next few days. Storing avocados outside will allow them to ripen naturally.
Firm, unripe, unpeeled avocados will last 3-7 days at room temperature. It is always best to keep the avocados in their skin until ready to eat to avoid oxidation.
Soft, ripe, unpeeled avocados will last 1-2 days at room temperature. A peeled or cut avocado will only last 6 hours outside of the fridge before it browns. Once the avocado has completely turned brown and it is not just the top layer, it is best to throw it away.
There are ways to preserve a cut avocado if it is outside of the fridge. Fill a bowl with cold water and place the cut avocado into the bowl to preserve it. The cold water will slow down the ripening process. Another method is to place the cut avocado into a tightly sealed plastic bag. The plastic bag will act as a barrier to oxygen, which will slow down the browning process.
How Long Does Avocado Last in the Fridge?
It is best to store ripe avocados in the fridge if you are unable to eat it in the next day or two. The fridge will help slow down the ripening process.
Unripe avocados will last about 2 weeks in the fridge. It is not ideal to keep unripe avocados in the fridge as this slows down the ripening process. An unripe avocado may never ripen if kept in the fridge. In the event that you have many avocados you would like to preserve, place the unripe avocados in the fridge. When you are ready to eat it, remove it from the fridge and allow it to ripen for 2-3 days.
Ripe, cut avocados will last for 2-3 days in the fridge. Place your avocado in a plastic bag before placing it in the fridge. This will prevent other food smells from mixing with your avocado
Ripe, uncut avocados will last for a week in the fridge. It is best to place a ripe avocado in the fridge if you are unable to eat it in the next day or two.
How Long Does Avocado Last in the Freezer?
It is best to freeze avocados when you have many of them and would like to keep them for a long period of time.
Ripe avocados will last 3-4 months in the freezer, and unripe avocados will last 5-6 months. For 6 months, the frozen unripe avocado will remain at a high quality. Once a frozen avocado thaws, it will be watery, mushy, and slimy. If you plan to use the avocado for smoothies or guacamole, this texture will work fine.
A frozen avocado will not last forever. Make a note of when you placed the avocado in the freezer. This will help you thaw and eat them before they lose their quality and need to be thrown away.
Avocados have a varying shelf life when kept outside, in the fridge, and in the freezer. Whether an avocado is ripe or unripe and peeled or unpeeled also impacts how long it will last.
How to Tell if Avocado Is Bad and How To Know if Avocado is Fresh
There is a fine line between a perfectly ripe avocado and an overly ripe, bad avocado. Trial and error is the best way to master this determination
A fresh avocado is soft with a light to dark green skin. A good avocado will be soft enough for you to gently press your finger into it, but firm enough that you do not dent it. A dark green avocado skin resembles a ripe avocado. If you are purchasing a Zutano or Fuerte avocado, check the firmness to determine its freshness. These types of avocados will remain a light green through the ripening process.
A bad avocado is mushy with blackened skin. While you are testing the avocado’s firmness, if it feels mushy and your finger leaves a dent, it is likely already rotten. Cutting an avocado is the easiest way to determine if it is bad.
If there is a sour smell, the avocado is bad. If you notice your avocado has stringy flesh after cutting it, it is best to smell it. Growing conditions can cause stringy flesh, but if it has a bad smell, the avocado is bad. Similarly, you should smell the avocado if there are dark streaks in the flesh. Growing conditions can also cause this. If there is not a bad smell in either condition, it is safe to eat.
How to Store Avocado
Properly storing an avocado will reduce food waste. Once you determine whether your avocado is ripe or unripe, you can choose the best way to store it.
Room temperature in a dry place: Since the avocados will continue to ripen, it is best to use this method when you are planning to eat them in the next few days. A kitchen cabinet will work well.
Refrigerator: If you are not able to consume the avocado when it is ripe, the fridge will help preserve it. Place it in a plastic bag before putting it into the fridge. If you cut your avocado, squeeze lemon or lime juice on it and place it in a tightly sealed plastic bag. The lemon or lime juice will slow down the browning process.
If you only need half of an avocado, keep the other half with the pit in it. Before putting it in the fridge, squeeze lemon or lime juice over it, and place it in a plastic bag. Storing the half with the pit reduces the flesh’s exposure to oxygen. You can also use this method if you accidentally cut into an unripe avocado.
Can You Freeze Avocado? How?
Yes, you can freeze an avocado. Freezing ripe or unripe avocados is ideal if you will not be able to eat them before they spoil.
Remove the skin and pit. For the best storage in the freezer, start by removing the skin and pit. The skin and pit can affect the taste once the avocado thaws.
Cut the avocado in half. If you prefer, you can also dice the avocado.
Cover the avocado in lemon or lime juice. This will help avoid browning of the flesh.
Place the avocado on a baking sheet. Using parchment paper and a baking sheet, place the avocado pieces on the sheet. Place the sheet into the freezer for an hour or two. This step in the process avoids the pieces from clumping for long term storage.
Place the frozen avocado into a tightly sealed plastic bag. You can also use plastic wrap or aluminum foil if you prefer. Remember to mark your calendar in order to consume the avocados before they spoil.
You can also freeze mashed avocados. Be sure to squeeze lemon or lime juice over the mashed avocado. Place it in a bag or covered bowl and freeze it.
How to Thaw Avocado
When you are ready to eat the frozen avocados, remove them from the freezer to thaw. Thawing will take approximately 30 minutes at room temperature.
Since thawed avocados are mushy, watery, and slimy it is better to mash them up before using them. Smoothies and guacamole are examples of a good way to use the thawed avocado. It is best to not use thawed avocados for meals like avocado toast due to the texture.
Frequently Asked Questions About Avocado’s Shelf Life
How can I extend an avocado’s shelf life? The key to getting the best use from your avocados is determining how fast you will use them after purchasing them. Freezing an avocado is the best way to extend its shelf life. But, the quality will not be the same as a fresh avocado. If your avocado is ripe, placing it in the refrigerator will add a few days to its shelf life before it spoils.
Can I accelerate the ripening of an avocado? Yes, you can. Place the unripe avocado into a brown paper bag along with a banana, kiwi or apple, and close the bag. Bananas, kiwis, and apples release ethylene. Ethylene is a gas that causes fruits to ripen. The paper bag speeds up the ripening process. Placing an avocado in a brown paper bag by itself will still speed up the process. The process is simply faster when placing a banana, kiwi, or apple with it.
Why do avocados turn brown so fast? Avocados are delicate fruits. An enzyme in avocados called polyphenol oxidase causes the browning of the flesh when exposed to oxygen. The skin and pit of an avocado act as a barrier to protect from browning. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid the browning, especially after an avocado is cut.
Avocados begin to ripen once farmers harvest them. Assessing the avocados’ firmness and color before purchasing them will help you avoid rotten avocados. This will also help you determine how to store your avocados to preserve freshness. Understanding how to choose the right avocado and how to store it will ultimately reduce food waste.