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When do Avocados go bad?

All fruits go bad, and avocados are no exception. I am a great avocado lover, and so are my family members.

It is very easy to tell when other fruits like mangos, bananas or apples go bad. Avocados on the other hand are a bit complicated. You can’t tell whether or not they have really gone bad until you cut into them.

Until recently, I had a problem figuring out when avocados go bad and how to properly store them so that they have a longer shelf life. Thank God for the internet! I did some research and I am glad to say that I love the results. I no longer have to worry about my avocados going bad.

So, when do avocados go bad? Avocados usually have a short shelf life. Ripe avocados can last in your refrigerator for 3-4 days and in a well aerated pantry for 2 days. If you store them for longer than that, they may go bad. Unripe avocados take about 5-7 days to ripen when in the pantry and can go bad 2-3 days after that.

There are different types of avocados in the market. All of them tend to have different characteristics. They behave differently when ripe and when they go bad.

This article summarizes all my knowledge about avocados. I hope that it answers all your questions.

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Avocado types

Like I said earlier, there are different types of avocados in the market. It is important that you know them. That way, it will be easier to tell when they have gone bad.

The most common type of avocado is the Hass avocado. This is most likely the one you buy all the time. The skin of Hass avocado is usually green when unripe and it turns black or purple as it ripens. The other types of avocados are green avocados. These ones do not change color when they ripen.

One can easily confuse the green avocados for the Hass avocado. You may be waiting for your green avocado to turn black as it ripens and it ends up going bad and you have to throw it out. Knowing the type of avocado you buy is important so that you don’t make this mistake.

How do you know when your avocados are ripe?

Telling when your avocados are ripe is a skill that everyone needs to learn. Sometimes you can get it wrong and cut into your avocado too soon or too late. Well, don’t feel too bad about it, even experts get it wrong sometimes.

All avocados usually are soft and depress in your palm when they are ripe. This is the most common sign that you should probably eat your avocado or move it from the pantry to the refrigerator.

Do not use your fingers to check if the avocado is ripe. You might end up bruising its skin. Instead, use your palms. If the avocado feels too soft, it is definitely overripe or it has already gone bad.

For Hass avocados, the skin color should change from green to black. If it is still green, it is definitely unripe.

I always shop for firm avocados when I have no plans of eating them any time soon. However, if I want to eat them that very day, I go for the ones that are slightly soft. I don’t recommend buying the ones that are too soft because they may be overripe.

I also like buying avocados that still have their stem. From my experience, their flesh never has brown spots, unlike the ones that have no stem.

If you cut, slice, dice, or mash avocados place them in an airtight container and add a sprinkle of lemon juice. The juice will prevent the avocados from turning brown and they will maintain their yellow-green color.

How long do avocados last

Ripe avocados can last in your refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the pantry for 2 days. If you store them for longer than that, they may go bad. Unripe avocados take about 5-7 days to ripen when in the pantry and can go bad 2-3 days after that.

Avocados that have been cut, mashed or slice can stay fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator as long as you add some lemon juice to them so that they retain their amazing color.

If you store the avocados well but they get a few brown spots, remove the spots and enjoy the avocado. However, if the whole avocado has turned brown, just throw it out.

Storing avocados

Proper storage of avocados is essential if you want them to have a long shelf life. This is how I store my avocados.

I store my most fresh fruits in the pantry at room temperature. I always ensure that the place I store them is super dry. Avocados and moisture are not good friends. Alternatively, I store them in the kitchen cabinet when I have no space in the pantry. Unripe avocados should never be stored in the refrigerator because they will not ripen the way they should and they also won’t taste good.

If you want your unripe avocados to ripen at a faster rate, wrap them in a brown paper bag before placing them in the pantry or kitchen cabinet. They will be ready in 3-4 days.

For the ripe bananas, the refrigerator is the best place for storage. It keeps them fresh or longer and helps them retain their yellow-green color. If you leave ripe avocados at room temperature, the flesh will turn brown in a day or two.

How to spot a bad avocado

The flesh of fresh avocados is usually yellow-green in color. If the flesh has a few brown spots, it has not gone bad, so you can just remove the brown spots and enjoy your avocado. However, if the flesh has turned brown, the avocado has gone bad and you should throw it out.

The few brown spots in your avocado might have been caused by bruising during transportation or even being exposed to cold temperatures while still unripe. They could also be caused by the removal of the avocado stem.

Some avocados usually have thick fibers or strings inside them. Most of the time, such avocados have been harvested from young trees or they have not been stored properly. It is not unsafe to eat the fibers. Fibers are never a sign that the avocado has gone bad. However, I don’t like eating avocados that have fibers in them. I like my avocados soft and smooth. If you are like me and you find fibers inside your avocado, it is okay to discard throw it out.

There are other signs of spoilage like bad smell and molds. If you see any of these signs, toss the avocado out. Better safe than sorry.

Signs that your avocado has gone bad

  1. Skin that is too dark

Some avocados change color distinctly as they ripen. The most common one is the Hass avocado. If the skin is too black, it is either overripe

  1. Brown/ dark flesh

A ripe avocado usually has yellow-green flesh. If it is rotten, the flesh usually has black spots or it is dark brown in color. If it has one or two brown spots, it is probably still okay to eat it because the spots could have been caused by bruising. Just remove the parts that have brown spots and enjoy the rest of your avocado.

Dark streaks in the flesh of your avocado is a sign that your avocado has gone bad and you should throw it out. However, some avocados may have dark streaks yet they are not spoilt. Use your sense of smell to decide if it has gone bad.

  1. It is too soft

We have all seen that when checking for ripeness, you use your palm to gently squeeze the avocado. If you use your palm to check if the avocado is ripe and your palm leaves an indentation, the avocado is either too ripe or it is rotten. Dented skin is also a sign that the avocado might have gone bad.

  1. Molds

The mold that grows in avocado is usually gray or white.  Do not sniff the molds because inhaling them may trigger breathing problems. When you cut an avocado and see molds, just throw it out. Do not remove the part that has molds and eat the rest of the avocado. Molds show that the whole avocado has gone bad.

  1. Strange taste and flavor

All ripe avocados usually have a pleasant nutty flavor and a mild aroma. If the avocado goes bad, it will have an unpleasant aroma and it will also taste bad or sour. If the avocado tastes or smells bad, you should discard the avocado.

The flavor of spoiled avocado usually varies. However, it is very easy to tell if the taste of an avocado is off. You can tell that an avocado has gone bad just by the way it smells or tastes.

My take is, whenever in doubt about the taste of avocado, throw it out. It is probably spoilt.

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