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? Don’t say anything more.
However, it can be frustrating when you buy a batch of avocados only to watch them spoil before you can enjoy them. And TikTok users have followed the latest trend with storing avocados in a container filled with water in the fridge. The claim is that they can be kept for up to a month and still be enjoyed. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, this is a big no-no.
An FDA statement states, “The primary concern is the possibility that any residual human pathogens (e.g., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., etc.) that may reside on the surface of the avocado could potentially multiply during storage when immersed in water”.
Listeria is a serious infection usually caused by ingestion of food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. CDC data shows that about 1,600 people get listeria each year, leading to about 260 deaths. The infection is most likely to make pregnant women and their newborns sick, adults 65 years of age and older, and people with weakened immune systems.
Storing avocados correctly is essential to prolong their freshness and prevent waste. Here are some tips on how to store avocados properly:
1. Matures at room temperature: If you have unripe avocados, let them 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 maturity by gently pressing into the skin. A ripe avocado will yield slightly to pressure.
2. Refrigerate When Ripe: Once your avocados are ripe, you can slow the ripening process by storing them in the refrigerator. This is especially helpful if you have more avocados than you can consume right away. Keep them in the crisper drawer to maintain a constant temperature and humidity.
3. Store Cut Avocados: If you have leftover avocado, keep 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 retard 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 a simple weeknight evening meal or a bowl of cereal to help improve satiety thanks to the healthy fats and fiber they provide. Another great way to use up an avocado before it expires is to toss it in a smoothie for added creaminess. Don’t worry, it doesn’t alter the taste.
4. Freeze For Later Use: If you have a lot of ripe avocados, consider freezing them for later use. Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone and remove the pulp. Mash avocado or puree with lemon or lime juice. Place the mixture in an airtight container or freezer bag, squeezing out 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 a close eye on your avocados to prevent them from overripe. If you notice signs of mold or an unpleasant smell, it is best to discard them.
It’s important to make sure avocados are eaten before they spoil to prevent the potential risk of getting sick, Mayhew adds. Ripe, uncut avocados can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week depending on the level of ripeness. If there’s 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, next time you see a social media hack, check the facts with the experts.
When it comes to popular nutrition trends, I’d encourage everyone to be wary of the trends they see online, advises Mayhew. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet that comes from influencers who have no nutritional credentials or background. I would encourage them to consult a registered dietitian for guidance when it comes to their diet.
Are you trying to control your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range here. Or, if you’re looking for a doctor, look here if you live in Illinois or here if you live in Wisconsin.
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