Here are a few tips for storing avocados that you can use to get more mileage out of the fruit that you buy:
Avocados are notorious for turning brown quickly after they are cut open, due to a process called oxidation. Keep in mind that avocado is not necessarily spoiled or rancid just because the flesh has turned brown. The best test for the freshness of avocados is the nose test, as avocados that are turning will give off an off-putting smell.
For those of you who find half of an avocado to be the perfect portion, rather than the whole, I recommend using an avocado saver. This nifty kitchen tool will store the uneaten half of the avocado in a perfectly sized, air-tight compartment that will prevent the flesh from turning brown. Put it in the refrigerator and the next day you can enjoy the other half of your fruit, still beautifully green.
If you want your avocados to ripen faster than they ordinarily would, store them in a brown bag with other types of ripening fruit such as bananas or apples. As fruits ripen they release ethylene gas, which promotes and speeds the process. Grocers sometimes expose their un-ripened fruit to this gas in order to quickly ready their product for sale.
When to store avocados in the refrigerator?
There are times when it makes sense to keep your avocados in the refrigerator rather than the counter top. Refrigeration keeps them from ripening, so doing so allows you to stagger the time frame in which your fruit ripens. Usually when I buy a half-dozen avocados I put three or four of them in the refrigerator, taking one out each day so that I have one piece of fruit that becomes perfectly ripe for several days in a row.
Keep in mind that there are some drawbacks involved with refrigeration, however. First, refrigeration causes a loss of flavor and texture. This will be more noticeable the longer the fruit has been refrigerated, although some people have more sensitive palates than others.
Secondly, sometimes the avocado will never fully ripen properly once the process has been interrupted by refrigeration. When this happens, part or all of the fruit may remain rock-hard without ever becoming edible.
Best practice is to eat your avocados fresh, storing them at room temperature, as this results in best taste and prevents nutrition loss. This is not always possible or convenient, however. During these times, take advantage of the tips provided in this article in order to better control the ripening of your fruit.
For the Avocado Aficionado
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