Should You Refrigerate Avocados?

Here's what you need to know about when to refrigerate avocados and for how long.

A perfectly ripe avocado is a beautiful thing. Cutting into one and finding an interior that's buttery, smooth, and a beautiful light green hue is a satisfying feeling. Perhaps you've heard that avocado should never go in the refrigerator, that it prevents them ripening or turns the green flesh black. Is that true? Should you ever store a ripe avocado in the refrigerator? What about an unripe avocado? And what are you supposed to do with the leftover half of an avocado? To answer all of these questions, we consulted some food professionals.

Unless the avocado you buy at the supermarket is already ripe, you should ripen it at room temperature. If you have an already ripe avocado, you have a choice: Cut into it and enjoy it, or pop it in the fridge to help keep it at peak ripeness for a few more days.

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Kevin Takarada, founder of MakiMaki Sushi in New York City, notes that putting an avocado in the refrigerator will slow down further ripening. He says that you can hold a ripe avocado in the fridge for around five days. Ann Ziata, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City recommends checking your avocado a few days after putting it in the fridge. "The riper the avocado, the less time it will last in the fridge," she says. "If it was only slightly ripe when you put it in, it may last three to four days or even longer."

If you cut into an avocado only to realize it is underripe, don't fret. Ziata recommends coating the avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil, covering it in plastic wrap, and keeping it in the refrigerator until it softens.

If you're only planning on eating half an avocado, Takarada recommends keeping the pit inside the other half and wrapping the exposed surface with plastic wrap. Consume the half of the avocado within a day or two, and if you find the cut surface has browned, simply cut off the top layer to reveal light green flesh underneath. For avocado slices, Ziata recommends topping them with lemon juice and olive oil, then covering them with an airtight lid or a layer of plastic wrap that's flush against the slices before refrigerating.

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