Say no to this viral avocado storage trend
Avocados have become a staple in many households due to their delicious taste and numerous health benefits. Avocado toast? Yes, please. Homemade guac for #TacoTuesday? Say no more.
However, it can be frustrating when you buy a batch of avocados only to have them spoil before you can enjoy them. And TikTok users have been all over the latest trend with storing avocados in a container filled with water in the fridge. The claim is that they can be stored for up to a month and still be enjoyed. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this is a big no-no.
An FDA statement said, “The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens (i.e. Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., etc.) that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water.”
Listeria is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Data from the CDC shows that an estimated 1,600 people get listeria each year, and leads to about 260 deaths. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.
Properly storing avocados is essential to prolong their freshness and prevent wastage. Here are some tips on how to store avocados properly:
1. Ripen at room temperature: If you have unripe avocados, allow them to ripen at room temperature. Placing them in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple can speed up the ripening process due to the ethylene gas released by these fruits. Check them daily for ripeness by gently pressing the skin. A ripe avocado will yield slightly to pressure.
2. Refrigerate when ripe: Once your avocados are ripe, you can slow down the ripening process by storing them in the refrigerator. This is especially useful if you have more avocados than you can consume immediately. Keep them in the crisper drawer to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity.
3. Preserve cut avocados: If you have leftover avocado, prevent it from browning by squeezing lemon or lime juice over the exposed flesh. Alternatively, you can store it in an airtight container with a piece of onion, which helps delay oxidation.
“Avocados can be used in a variety of ways in different types of meals,” explains Jamie Mayhew, clinical dietitian on the chronic disease management team at Advocate Medical Group in Chicago. “Some of my favorite ways to incorporate leftover avocado into meals are to add it to homemade tacos for an easy weeknight meal or a grain bowl to help improve satiety from the healthy fats and fiber they provide. Another great way to use up an avocado before it expires is to throw it in a smoothie for extra creaminess – don’t worry, it doesn’t alter the taste.”
4. Freeze for later use: If you have an abundance of ripe avocados, consider freezing them for later use. Slice the avocados in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Mash the avocado or puree with lemon or lime juice. Place the mixture in an airtight container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible, and label it with the date. Frozen avocados can be stored for up to six months.
5. Avoid overripe avocados: Keep an eye on your avocados to prevent them from becoming overripe. If you notice any signs of mold or an unpleasant smell, it’s best to discard them.
“It’s important to make sure that avocados are consumed before they spoil to prevent the potential risk of becoming ill,” adds Mayhew. “Ripened and uncut avocados can stay fresh in the fridge for up to one week depending on the level of ripeness. If there is any sign of mold or spoilage, discard the whole avocado.”
By following these storage tips, you can enjoy avocados at their freshest and avoid unnecessary waste. And, the next time you see a hack on social media, check the facts with the experts.
“When it comes to popular nutrition trends, I would encourage everyone to be wary of the trends they see online,” Mayhew advises. “Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet that comes from influencers who do not have any nutrition credentials or background. I would encourage them to consult with a registered dietitian for guidance when it comes to their diet.”
Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range here. Or, if you are trying to find a doctor, look here if you live in Illinois or here if you live in Wisconsin.
About the Author
Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.