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Have you heard the joke about avocados? It goes like this …
Timeline of a ripe avocado:
Noon: Not yet.
12:02: Not yet.
12:05: Almost ready.
12:06: Just kidding.
12:09: OK, eat me right now!
12:12: Haha, never mind, too late.
As every avocado aficionado knows, there’s a narrow window when avocados are perfectly ripe, green, smooth and creamy on the inside. Jokes aside, research shows you’ve got just a few days between when an avocado is ripe and before it spoils.
But how can you make your ripe avocados last a little longer?
The first step is to know when exactly your avocado is ripe — and your avocado will give you a few telltale signs that it’s ready to be cut open and eaten (or mashed for guac!). Ripe avocados are green on the outside, approaching black, according to Avocados from Mexico, an avocado brand.
They’ll also have a bumpy texture and yield to gentle pressure, but they aren’t mushy. (If you’re buying an avocado that you’ll want to eat in three to four days, opt for smooth, green avocados that feel firm when pressure is applied.)
But let’s say you cut open an avocado and want to store it for another meal or snack — without it turning brown.
The best way to do this, according to the California Avocado Commission, is to sprinkle your cut avocado with lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar and then wrap it tightly in a plastic wrap or an airtight container, and refrigerate it. The process will prevent your fruit from browning.
While a tight plastic wrap will do, you could also purchase a reusable avocado storage container to ward off oxidation, which is what browns an avocado.
Another method that many people swear by: Storing the avocado with some sliced onion. One Mic writer tried five tactics for keeping a sliced avocado fresh and found the onion trick to be the one that worked best. The only catch: Your avocado will taste like onion after a few days of snuggling with one, so this tactic is best for when the avocado is destined to end up in a savory dish (rather than a smoothie or a sweet recipe).
Oh, and if you’ve heard that adding the avocado pit to guacamole can prevent it from browning, this falls more into the myth category as the pit really only prevents browning on the guacamole surface that it’s touching, explains Live Science.
Now that you’ve got storing an avocado down to a science, learn the correct way to cut an avocado, according to chefs.