The dos and don’ts of avocado storage.

Avocados are famously finicky—it sometimes feels like they go from unripe and hard to overripe and mushy in the blink of an eye. Here’s how to store them so you don’t miss your window:

How Long Do Avocados Last?

Avocados on white background Getty 4/27/20
Credit: Wanwisa Hernandez / EyeEm/Getty Images

Wanwisa Hernandez / EyeEm/Getty Images

An unripe avocado will last a few days to a week at room temperature. Fully ripe avocados, meanwhile, will last about three to five more days in the fridge.

How to Ripen Avocados—And How Do You Know When They’re Ripe?

Credit: Poh Kim Yeoh / EyeEm/Getty Images

Poh Kim Yeoh / EyeEm/Getty Images

Avocados are different from many other fruits because they don’t ripen on the tree. Instead, they don’t reach full maturity until after they’ve been harvested.

To speed up the process, you can stick an unripe avocado in a paper bag with a banana or an apple. This works because these fruits have a plant hormone (ethylene) that triggers ripening. The paper bag traps the ethylene gases that they naturally produce, so the avocado ripens quicker than it would have stored by itself.

How to Store Whole Avocados

Fridge avocado Getty 4/27/20
Credit: byryo/Getty Images

byryo/Getty Images

Avocados in different stages of ripening should be stored in different ways.

  • Ripe avocados feel firm but give to gentle pressure and have dark green/black bumpy skin. Store ripe avocados in the refrigerator for three to five days.
  • Unripe avocados are lighter in color and are quite hard. Store unripe avocados at room temperature until they’ve reached peak ripeness. Speed up the process by storing them with bananas or apples, as detailed above.
  • Overripe avocados are very mushy and may have dented skin. Throw these avocados away.

How to Store Cut Avocados

Credit: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Store cut avocados in the fridge. It’s important to note that, once cut, the green interior of the fruit will quickly begin to turn brown. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t look very appetizing.

You can slow down browning by coating any exposed flesh with fresh lemon juice. After applying the juice, wrap the avocado pieces in plastic wrap or beeswax and store in the fridge for two to three days.

Another way to store cut avocado is to submerge the pieces in water and place the covered container in the fridge for two to three days.

Can You Freeze Avocados?

Yes, you can freeze avocados! But it’s important to make sure they’re at peak ripeness before you do. Unripe avocados will probably never ripen if they’re frozen.

You don’t need to jump through any hoops if you’re freezing a whole avocado—just put the fruit in the freezer and call it a day. If you’ve already cut into the avocado, mash it and mix in a little lemon juice to prevent browning.

Stored properly, avocados can last three to six months in the freezer.