Love Avocados, Hate the Guesswork? How to Confidently Buy, Prep, and Store Avocados

Happy National Avocado Day! Avocados are a staple in many of our recipes, like this fudgy and flourless avocado brownie recipe, and we just can’t get enough of it! But, sometimes avocados can be tricky to prep so we put together a detailed how-to guide so you can confidently pick, cut, and store avocados!

Avocado nutrition

How Nutritious are Avocados?

The short answer: avocados are very nutritious. 

You may have heard that avocados have a lot of healthy fats, but what does that mean? 

Over 75% of the fat in avocados is the unsaturated type. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats such as avocados can reduce the LDL “bad” cholesterol level in the blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

The healthy fat can also act as a nutrient booster by increasing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Avocados contain 80 calories per 50g serving (⅓ medium avocado)3g of fiber per 50g serving, and help you feel fuller for longer. A simple switch from mayo-based spreads to mashed avocado is a superb alternative.

How to Pick Avocados

how to pick avocados

Picking out avocados is all about color, feel, and when you plan to eat them. 

Darker tones indicate an avocado is riper and lighter colors are generally still fresh. In terms of the feel, lists four stages of ripening:

  • Firm 
  • Breaking
  • Ripe 
  • Overripe

Firm avocados are at the most beginning stage and have no “give” when you apply gentle pressure. Buy them if you plan to eat them four to five days from the day of purchase, and store at room temperature (65-75 °F). 

In the breaking stage, avocados have a softer feel but won’t yield to gentle pressure. The seed is typically difficult to remove, and the flesh might be too firm to mash. Give the avocado an extra day or two at room temperature (65-75 °F) to ripen.

Ripe avocados are ready to eat! They give into gentle pressure and feel softer, but not mushy. It’s the perfect consistency for making guacamole!

Overripe avocados are very mushy with deep indentations. Their flesh is a brownish color. If the avocado is spoiled, it produces a pungent smell. It is best to throw this one out.

How to Store Avocados

Firm, uncut avocados can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, whereas ripe, uncut avocados can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. They will continue to ripen in the refrigerator but at a slower rate.

Scroll down to learn how to store leftover avocados.

How to Prep Avocados

Keep it Clean

Always wash your avocados. It may seem obvious, but you want to make sure to practice safe food preparation.

how to wash avocados

Cutting an Avocado

  • To cut an avocado, place the avocado on its side on a stable surface.
  • With one hand, hold the avocado from atop.
  • Using the other hand, hold the knife sideways at the narrower end.
  • Make a rotating motion with the avocado while the knife slices around the seed.

how to cut avocados

Removing the Seed 

Slip a spoon between the seed and flesh and gently wiggle the seed out of the fruit.
*Tip: Leave the seed in the avocado if you don’t plan to use it that day.

How to pit avocados

Peel the Skin Off

Peeling the skin off an avocado is like peeling the skin off an orange. Just slice the avocado in half or quarters and peel! Keep in mind, this method works best on ripe avocados. You can also scoop the avocado out with a spoon (as long as you don’t mind the mess!)

How to peel avocados

How to Store Leftover Avocados

Sometimes, eating half of an avocado is more than enough. In this case, leave the skin and seed in the remaining half, squeeze lemon or lime juice on the flesh, and place it in an air-tight container. Store it in your fridge for up to three days. Scrape and discard the brown pulp when you’re ready to eat. 

If your leftover avocado is skinless, you may want to finish it because it will brown quicker, especially if it is cut into thin slices (like what you see on sushi rolls).

Did you make guacamole? Store guacamole in an air-tight container. Place a clear plastic wrap touching the guacamole’s surface. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Remember to discard the top oxidized layer before serving!

how to store avocado

So there you have it! Now you can confidently buy, prep, and store avocados. If you’re ready to make an avocado-inspired recipe, try one of the following:

Brownie Recipe (it’s fudgy and flourless!)

Cranberry Pistachio Chicken Salad

White Bean Chicken Chili

To learn more about healthy eating, speak to a registered dietitian, by contacting the CU Wellness Clinic.

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center