January 30, 2014

All About Storing Avocados (plus other tips and recipes)

Well, it's been awhile...I hope you all enjoyed your holidays! I took a nice break and spent some time with family. We had a great time and ate some good food. Speaking of family, my sister and I like to argue about the best way to store avocados. She puts them in the fridge as soon as she brings them home (unripe). I am adamantly against that method and did some testing to prove her wrong. My favorite method is the first one listed below. Although I'd rather eat my avocados at room temp, sometimes this isn't possible so this method allows me to eat avocados everyday.

I love avocados. (Though I guess not as much as my niece who loves them so much she wants to "marry them!") Seven of my recipes use avocados and I'm sure there will be more. I would live in California just to have inexpensive avocados. Maybe even my own tree. Oh, how wonderful that would be. Now, I have to ration my avocados so I have enough. Those babies are expensive. When I catch a sale, dropping the price to $1 per avocado, I load up. Unfortunately this means that sometimes I just can't eat them fast enough. I mean I could, but that whole rationing thing still applies.

All About Storing Avocados (plus other tips and recipes)

So today, I'm sharing with you all the ways to store avocados: whole, cut, and pureed. While I love the taste of avocados and am known for just digging in with a fork (and a dash of salt), there are plenty of good reasons to learn to love avocados. And if you don't like them plain, avocados are very versatile and can be added to many recipes, sometimes quite hidden (see end of post). But first...

Health Benefits
According to the California Avocado Commission, one medium Haas avocado:
  • Contains Vitamin B, folic acid, and oleic acid (monounsaturated fat); all good for your heart.
  • Provides Vitamins B, C, E, K, and B6, plus more potassium than a banana. 
  • Helps improve the absorption of nutrients from other foods. 
  • Provides 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. 
  • If that's not enough, avocados protect your eye health, help blood sugar regulation, boost the immune system, and help promote lower body weight. 
Basically, it's the perfect food (if I do say so myself).

With all the benefits of eating avocados, and even if you only consume them in the form of guacamole, there's nothing worse than cutting open that avocado to see a mushy brown mess. (If it's just a little, I scrape it out and devour the rest.) So after lots of research and personal testing, here are all the ways you can store that nutritious green fruit so you always have some around:

All About Storing Avocados (plus other tips and recipes)
Pic taken after 2 weeks of storage (Stored in refrigerator as soon as slightly ripe)

How to store whole avocados

Regular Storage/To slow ripening/Preserving
  1. Allow to ripen on the counter. Once avocados are just ripe enough to eat (just slightly soft), stick them in the refrigerator (preferably in hydrator drawer). It's important to put them in fridge before they get too soft for longer-lasting storage. They should yield slightly when light pressure is applied. For Haas avocados (the only ones I've eaten), the skin will begin to darken. They will last about a week. For best taste and texture, eat within 5 days.  This is the best method I have found. Based on experience, if you catch them at the right time, they stay ripe for up to 2 weeks. (Though it is best to eat them within 5-7 days.)
  2. Place on counter or pantry away from other fruit. A cool area out of the sunlight will allow them to last longer
  3. Place avocados in a single layer in a box and store in cool area. This tip came from Mimi Avocado. (I'm jealous of all those avocados!) Storing them in a single layer is supposed to slow ripening. Check avocados daily. This did work better than the counter for me. See the post here.
  4. Freeze pureed avocados. When avocados have ripened, remove the peel. In a food processor, puree fruit with about 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice per avocado. Here's a post on this.
  5. Place unripe avocados in refrigerator to halt ripening. Remove several days before you plan to eat. *This method is tricky and I don't recommend it because sometimes the avocados take quite awhile to ripen after removing them. Also, for me, the texture seems off with this method. I don't personally use this method.
To speed up ripening 
  1. Place in brown paper bag. Store at room temp. Will ripen in 3-4 days. Check them daily.
  2. Place in brown paper bag with an apple or banana. Store at room temp. Will ripen in about 2 days. Check daily.
How to store cut avocados *If they exist if your house.
  1.  Place plastic wrap over the flesh of the avocado or place in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Press gently on the plastic so it's touching the surface of the fruit. You can also use lemon or lime juice before covering in plastic. *My preferred method is plastic wrap, partly because it's easy. Though if it browns slightly, I just scrape off the top layer.
  2. Place avocado in airtight container, such as Tupperware or Mason jar . Sprinkle lemon or lime juice or rub with olive oil first.
  3. Place chunks of red onion on bottom of container and avocado on top (skin down). For guacamole, place large chunks of onion on top. Seal in airtight container The sulfur from the onions is supposed to prevent avocado from browning. *Another preferred method for me. 
  4. Brush with lemon juice or olive oil to slow oxidation. Place in airtight container or bag. Olive oil works well!
  5. Store submerged in water. Apparently this is the method that chefs use. *I tried it and it worked, though my already soft avocado became a little too soft and watery for my taste.
  6. Soak in salt water before making guacamole. Check out the tip from Zenbelly for guacamole that doesn't brown.
  7. Storage gadgets: If you're into gadgets, there are avocado savers you can purchase.  
*Preventing contact with oxygen, whichever method you choose, is best.
All About Storing Avocados (plus other tips and recipes)
Pic taken after 2 weeks of storage (Stored in refrigerator as soon as slightly ripe)

A few avocado tips:
  • When parts of avocado turns brown: If your cut avocado (or guacamole) does turn brown or have brown spots, just scrape out the brown spots. The remaining avocado or guacamole is okay to eat. But if the smell is off, toss it!
  • Ripening: Some fruits produce ethylene gases which trigger the ripening process. To speed ripening, place them together (in a brown bag). To slow ripening, store them apart. Avocado can be stored with an apple or banana to speed ripening. Find list of fruits producing ethylene gas here.
  • If you cut an unripe avocado: If you cut your avocado and it's still hard, sprinkle lemon juice on the surface, place the two halves back together, put avocado in airtight container and store in the fridge. It may take a day or two, but the avocado will still ripen. Check daily.
  • How to cut, slice, peel, and pit avocados from Avocado Central.
  • A video for slicing, removing, pit, etc: Watch this video. My recommendation: when removing the pit with a knife in this way, if you are prone to accidents, don't put the avocado in your hand. You can do this just as easily by leaving the avocado on the table. Just be gentle when placing knife in pit. 
  • Choosing avocados at the store: This tip, courtesy of Erica at Northwest Edible Life, shows you how to flick off the stem to see if your avocado is overripe. Head over to her post for more on this plus lots of pics. *In my pic below, the one on the right was still good. But, as you can see from the color, it's not as dark brown as the ones shown in her post. This method may not be accurate 100% of the time, but generally it has worked pretty well for avoiding the rotten ones at the store. 
All About Storing Avocados (plus other tips and recipes)

 More on Storage:

My Avocado Recipes:.
Recipes Around the Web: 

How do you store your avocados? Do you have any tips to add?

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Shared at: Natural Family Today, Thank Goodness It's Monday, Natural Living Monday, Teach Me Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday,

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