Overbuying avocados can cause you a problem: too many avocados and not enough time to enjoy them before they go bad. What happens when you only need half an avocado?
The refrigerator is not suitable for storing unripe avocados
Extremely low temperatures activate an enzyme called pectinase, which breaks down the cell walls inside the fruit, causing the pulp to soften quickly and unevenly.
Why do avocados turn brown?
Unless you eat your avocados right after you get home from the grocery store, you may notice that any leftover avocados quickly turn from green to brown. While the flavor of a light-brown avocado is not that different from a fresh-cut, dark-green avocado, a spoonful of brown guacamole piled onto tortilla chips is unappetizing. The brown color is just oxidation - something that also happens to other produce, like apples and potatoes, when they're exposed to oxygen. All three substances transform almost immediately, but apples and potatoes can be protected from oxidation by being immersed in water. Unfortunately, this isn't a solution for avocados, but there are ways to slow down the process.
How to store sliced avocados
Sometimes, half an avocado is enough for our needs and waste is unacceptable. You can buy avocado storage, but in a pinch, there are some easy ways to store cut avocados.
The peel is still there
If you haven’t scooped out the avocado flesh yet, don’t! If possible, leave it in the hide and keep the pit intact. The skin and pit prevent oxygen from reaching the pulp, limiting exposure and inevitably turning brown. To preserve the rest, place plastic wrap directly over the pulp so air does not get into it, and store it in the refrigerator. It should stay green for at least two days.
Store with onions
You can place avocado halves in an airtight container with sliced onions and refrigerate. The smoke from the onions will slow down the browning process. Your avocado will stay green for at least two days, but it may absorb the flavor of the onions. This could be a benefit depending on what you plan to do with it.
If you've already scooped out the avocado pulp, you can still salvage it. Mash avocado with a spoon into a non-reactive container. Then, instead of placing a lid on the container, place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the avocado, making sure there are no air bubbles. As with the skin, avocados should stay green in the refrigerator for at least two days. To slow down the process further, you can add an acid like lemon or lime juice. If the mixture does look brown, just scrape off the top layer to reveal the green avocado underneath.
Long-term storage of avocados
If you want to get more life out of your sliced avocados, it's time to think outside the box. One option is to preserve it by pickling. You can pickle almost anything. Pickled avocado slices are a great stand-alone snack, but they're also great on sandwiches. You can also freeze them.
How to store whole avocados
Avocados should be stored on the counter so they can ripen properly at room temperature. Don't store avocados in paper bags; paper bags trap the natural ethylene gas in avocados and actually speed up the ripening process.
The best place to store whole avocados that aren't ready to eat is in the refrigerator. Refrigeration slows down the ripening process. Ripe or nearly ripe avocados are best refrigerated. If you refrigerate unripe avocado, it will eventually ripen, but the texture and flavor may be affected. If your avocados are ripe, place the whole, uncut avocados in an airtight container or in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. It should keep for about two weeks, depending on how ripe it is.
Myth-busting ways to preserve avocados
The internet is awash with ideas for storing avocados, but they don’t actually work that well. Here are some:
Store them with olive oil
Some people suggest that a thin layer of olive oil will prevent the avocados from turning brown for a day or two. The idea is that the oil creates an oxygen barrier so it doesn't turn brown. While it might buy you a little time (if you use a lot of oil), your avocados will be brown before the end of the day.
Heat and ice shock
The trick is to immerse a whole avocado (skin on) in boiling water for 10 seconds, then in ice water. While it may stop browning for a while, it changes the flavor and texture enough to make it not worth the effort.
pitted avocado puree
Have you ever encountered an avocado core in a bowl of guacamole? Some people believe that placing a core in a bowl of guacamole will prevent it from browning. While the pit can prevent cut avocados from browning, it's not a magic bullet. Adding pits to guacamole won't stop it from turning brown.