The beloved avocado has one fault: its narrow window of ripeness. Here's how to store them so they last as long as possible. 

Cutting into a fresh, ripe avocado to reveal the buttery-smooth, green flesh is pure bliss. But avocados aren't without their flaws. Not only do they provide a very small window of ripeness, but they also rapidly oxidize (turn brown) when the flesh meets air. 

Learn to store your avocados the right way, whether they're whole or cut, ripe or unripe. With a little extra care, you can keep your avocados ripe for both sweet and savory applications. 

How to Tell if an Avocado Is Ripe

A perfectly ripe avocado will yield to pressure, and have a darker peel than an unripe one. But they should not be mushy or have deep indentations, as this indicates they're past ripe. 

An unripe avocado will have a bright green peel, and will not yield at all to firm pressure. 

In order to pick the right avocado for your needs, you'll need to consider when you intend to use it. A ripe avocado should be used within two to three days of purchase, otherwise it will spoil. If you don't plan to use your avocado until several days after purchasing, consider going with a slightly underripe fruit so it has time to ripen.

How to Store Whole Avocados 

Whole avocados are much easier to store than avocado halves because the peel protects the flesh from oxidation. But you can still take measures to prolong the life of your avocado (or speed up its ripening). 

Storing Whole Ripe Avocados 

Ripe, ready-to-eat avocados are best stored in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. Keep them in the low-humidity crisper drawer of your fridge (most crisper drawers will have a vent that allows you to adjust the humidity levels). They'll last between two and three days when stored this way. 

Storing Whole Unripe Avocados

Unripe, not-yet-ready-to-eat avocados should be stored at room temperature to speed up the ripening process. Leave them on the countertop, out of direct sunlight. Ripening could take up to five days, but be sure to check their ripeness daily by gently pressing on them to see if they yield to pressure. 

How to Store Cut Avocados 

Once you cut into an avocado, you've exposed it to its worst enemy: oxygen. Avocado flesh turns brown when opened to the air because of a reactive enzyme, a process otherwise known as oxidation. 

Trying to keep a cut half of an avocado ripe is an uphill battle. But there are some preventative measures you can take to protect that beautiful green flesh from turning brown and unappetizing. 

Storing Ripe Avocado Halves

Fresh and ready avocado halves are a sight to behold. But they won't stay that way for long. To keep them from turning brown, seal the flesh with a sprinkle of lemon juice, lime juice, or olive oil, then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

You can also protect the avocado flesh with water. Fill a container with water and place the avocado half flesh-side-down in the water. Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Storing Unripe Avocado Halves 

While a ripe avocado half is a beautiful thing, there's nothing worse than cutting into an avocado only to find the flesh firm and inedible. But before you toss it, try these tips. Sprinkle the flesh with lemon or lime juice, place the halves back together, and wrap with plastic wrap. Stick it in the fridge and check its ripeness each day. 

How to Freeze Avocados 

If you know that you won't be getting to the avocado anytime soon, you can freeze it for later use. Freezing avocado as a puree is the best method because it ensures the citrus juice will penetrate all of the flesh, keeping it from browning. Here's how: 

  1. Place two peeled, pitted avocados into a blender and add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. 
  2. Blend until smooth. 
  3. Transfer the pureed avocado to a freezer-bag and squeeze all the air out. Freeze for up to five months. 

Thawing Frozen Avocado

When you're ready to put your frozen avocado to use, the best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator overnight. But if you're in a hurry you can also use the defrost feature on your microwave. Now you're ready to throw together a tangy dip or, of course, some guacamole

How to Store Guacamole

Storing guacamole presents the same issue as storing cut avocado — you have to protect that top layer from browning. The best way to do this is by placing your leftover guac in a storage container and topping it off with about a half-inch of water. 

Refrigerate for up to four days, pour out the water, and stir when you're ready to use it. Read our guide on how to keep guacamole from turning brown for more details.