How Long do Avocados Last (And Why)?

Exact answer: 3-4 days

Avocado has become a highly popular fruit, in recent years for its nutritional value and diverse uses. The blackish-brown fruit when sliced open has a large brown seed surrounded by an appetizing green flesh. It can be used in salads, soups, smoothies, and as a substitute for spreads and dips.

It boasts of containing high fiber, low sugar, almost 20 vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium among others. It is high in monosaturated fat that helps in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol.  The presence of folate in the fruit helps in reducing the risk of cancer and depression.

How Long do Avocados Last?

StorageTime
At room temperature/ shelf3-4 days
Refrigerator7-10 days
Freezer3-6 months

Usually, most of the recipes call for a ripe avocado, but it may not always be possible to find a perfectly ripe avocado. So when you get an unripe avocado home from the store, you need to wait till it ripens.

 It can take anywhere from four to seven days for an avocado to ripen when left at room temperature or on the shelf. But you can speed up the process by wrapping it in a brown paper bag and the avocado will be ready in one to three days.

A ripe avocado is one which upon application of a bit of pressure should be soft but not mushy.

Once an avocado is ripe, it lasts for three to four days on the shelf, seven to ten days in the refrigerator, and three to 6 months in the freezer.

An avocado that is rotten or gone bad can be identified through the smell and color of the fruit. A molding under the stem, the flesh color turned black or brown and a musky odor is an indication that the avocado is no longer consumable.

Also if you want to store half of the opened avocado, it can be stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator in intact condition.

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Why do Avocados Last That Long?

Generally, most of the fruits have a shelf life of few days to a week, avocados are no exception. Fruits and vegetables go bad or rot due to the action of microorganisms/microbes and enzymatic reactions. To avoid the rotting of fruits and vegetables, they are stored in hygienic conditions at specified temperatures. Such highly specific conditions may not be mimicked in a home environment.

Microbes can affect the fruit due to changes in moisture content and temperature. They affect the structure of the fruit thereby increasing the rate of decay. Enzymes that are present in the fruit naturally also undergo reactions that speed up the aging process of the fruit.

The process of refrigeration and freezing restricts or inhibits this process of structural damage due to the extreme temperatures of the process.

So when an avocado is left on the shelf the microbes thrive due to favorable temperatures and changes in the moisture content of the fruit. When refrigerated, the low temperatures are unfavorable for microbes to affect the fruit structure. This delay of structural damage drastically increases when the fruit is frozen in a freezer. It should be kept in mind that above mentioned time is for a ripe avocado, an unripe avocado when refrigerated or frozen may never even ripen and eventually just rot and not be fit for consumption.

Conclusion

Keeping all this in mind one can plan when to buy an avocado, how to store it before consuming it the next time, and for how long it can be stored and used before it rots. Also make note that even though avocados are packed with nutritional aspects, they are high in calories. Because of the high calorific content, the consumption should be limited to small quantities or as prescribed by nutritionists. As the saying goes, too much of anything is good for nothing.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1082013204043763
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1082013219826825