Everything You Need to Know About How to Select, Store and Freeze + Recipes!
October 2022 Issue
Everyday Cheapskate by Mary Hunt
Avocados are fickle. Sometimes they seem to be ready for consumption but then hard as a rock when cut into. Other times avocados look like they’ll be rotten before you get them home. This unpredictability isn’t just expensive ($1.25 each for medium, $2.50 each for large at my local supermarket, as I write); it also contributes to wasted food.
There’s no magic gadget that will tell you when an avocado has ripened fully, but there are ways to help your avocados last longer so they’re ready for guacamole or toast toppings. Depending on several factors, including how ripe your avocado is and what you plan to use it for, there are different ways to store avocados.
Is It Ripe?
The avocado’s color is a great place to start. The darker the color, the riper the fruit. Unripe avocados will usually be bright green with smoother skin. If you’ll be using them right away, look for dark, bumpy skin that is changing to a purple hue.
The touch test is also a good way to find out how ripe an avocado is. With your thumb, gently apply pressure at the end where the stem was attached. If the fruit’s flesh does not yield to the gentle but firm touch, then the avocado is not ripe. Look at the brown nub where the avocado was attached to the stem. If it falls off easily when touched, it’s ripe. If it is still holding on tightly, it will be ripe in one or two days.
How to Store a Whole Avocado
If you’ve bought an unripe avocado in the hope that you can perfectly time your avocado toast craving, the best thing to do is to keep the avocado whole and place it on a countertop, away from any other fruits and vegetables.
Avocados usually last on your kitchen counter for four to five days before they spoil. Avocados are tricky, so it’s important to check them daily. If your avocado is fresh and ready to eat, you can put it in the fridge, where it will hold for several days. Put it in an airtight container or the produce drawer. If your avocado is in the produce drawer next to bananas or apples, the gas produced by these fruits will speed up its ripening process, so be sure to check it often.
How to Store Cut Avocado
Let’s say you cut into that ripe avocado, only to discover your eyes were bigger than your stomach. There are ways to keep a cut avocado from going bad too quickly.
If the avocado is not already diced or mashed, either cut it into cubes or mash it. Next, wrap it in plastic wrap, making sure that the wrap covers the avocado directly and there are no air bubbles. This will help keep oxygen out of your avocado and stop it from turning brown. You may also want to add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.
You can also store half of an avocado with the skin and pit intact. Leaving the skin on actually prevents oxidation and keeps the interior flesh fresh. You can buy some clever avocado storage solutions. Still, the easiest way to preserve half of an avocado is to rub some olive oil or lime juice on the avocado flesh, cover the entire thing (even the skin) with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. This will help prevent oxygen from seeping into the avocado and spoiling it and should keep it intact for two days.
You can also store half an avocado by placing it pit side down in an airtight container, with a little bit of water on the bottom. Water keeps the flesh and pits moist without speeding up the aging processes. You’ll likely notice some of the outer skin has turned brown, but you can easily remove it.
How to Freeze Avocado
Yes, ripe avocados can totally be frozen. There are a few ways to do that. Just understand that freezing an avocado reduces its creaminess, so although you can still use frozen avocados in guacamole and in smoothies, don’t plan to consume them plain.
To freeze an avocado, remove the pit and peel. After that, sprinkle some lemon or lime on the flesh and cover it tightly in plastic wrap. Store the avocado from spoiling too quickly in a sealed plastic bag or a vacuum seal.
If you plan on eating your frozen avocado straight out of the freezer, you’re better off pureeing or blending it first. Blend the avocado with a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice using a blender. Place the puree into an airtight freezer bag and store it in the freezer. It should last for about four months.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services.
Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living. ©2022 Creators.com
Spooky Spiderweb Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs with a Halloween twist? Yes, please! These spiderweb deviled eggs are the perfect addition to your spooky season spread. Take a break from the sweets, get the kids in the kitchen, and make this festive recipe that is sure to satisfy your spidey senses.
12 hard boiled Eggs, unpeeled
6 drops Blue food coloring
6 Tbsps Mayonnaise
2 drops Green food coloring
2 tsps Yellow mustard
2 tsps White vinegar
Salt, to taste Black sesame seeds (optional)
1 Avocado, pitted
Mix water and blue food color in a large bowl. Crack the shells of the hard boiled eggs gently with a spoon. Do not remove the shell. Put the cracked eggs in the water and food coloring mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove eggs from the refrigerator, peel carefully, and cut eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the egg yolks and transfer to a bowl. Set the whites aside. Mash the yolks with the avocado, mayonnaise, green food coloring, mustard, and vinegar and pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Garnish with black sesame seeds.
Halloween Guacamole Dip
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 12
4 ripe Avocados
2 cups Tomatoes, finely chopped and drained
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1/4 cup Onions finely chopped
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsps fresh Cilantro, chopped
Blue corn chips
1/4 cup Sour cream or Mexican crema (for decoration)
Remove pit and scoop avocado into a medium-sized bowl. Use a spoon to mash avocado up. Add 1 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes, diced onions, lime juice, salt and fresh cilantro and mix to combine. Place into serving bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup diced tomatoes on the edges of the guacamole dip. Place sour cream/Mexican crema in a pastry bag, using a small fine tip (or zip lock with corner slightly trimmed off). Decorate spider webs on top, using a toothpick to fine tune and spread webs and an black olive to create spider. Serve with tortilla chips.
Spooky Avocado Toast
Makes 4 Avocado Toasts
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
4 pieces of toast
1/2 red bell pepper
1 boiled Egg
Additional Decoration Options: Seaweed, Mini Pickles, Radishes
Slice the avocados in half, remove pit and scoop out the avocado into a bowl. Add lemon juice and pinch of salt and pepper, then mash with a fork and combine.
Prepare the toppings for faces: Use tear-drop shaped olives for hair and scars (or cut seaweed). Cut thin boiled egg slice and place olive rings on top for eyes. Chop the red bell pepper into small pieces to make lips and fangs. Spread the mashed avocado onto the toast pieces and decorate. Here are some examples of cute designs—but let your imagination run wild!