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There’s something so satisfying about slicing into a perfectly ripe avocado — the flesh buttery and pliant, but not mushy. Loaded with healthy fats and macronutrients, avocados make for a delicious and sustaining snack on their own, and take meals to the next level with their decadent creaminess and flavor. But the avocado is also a finicky fruit, its flesh oxidizing the moment it encounters air. If you’re merely looking for a few slices to ramp up your salad, you’re left with more than half an avocado destined for a sad, mushy brown fate.
While the only way to truly preserve an avocado’s peak ripeness is to eat all of it on the spot, there are a handful of tricks to keep the green fruit relatively fresh.
Save the pit
You might be familiar with this one: When you halve an avocado, use the side without the pit first. Store the side with the pit still intact in the refrigerator for up to a day. Alternatively, if you’ve made guacamole or diced the avocado, store it in an airtight container along with the pit(s). Airtight containers are preferable to plastic bags or wrap, because, as the name suggests, they’re much better at keeping air out.
While this trick works well for short-term avocado storage, it’s not ideal for more than a few hours. The pit will keep the flesh it covers perfectly green because that portion is not exposed to air, but it won’t preserve much more than that. You can, of course, scrape off the slightly brown portions to reveal much greener avocado flesh beneath.
A slice of lemon
There are many iterations of the idea that some form of citric acid will help keep your avocados green, but one time-tested trick promises the best results. If you only need to keep your avocado fresh for a few hours — say, you’re prepping lunch for the office that morning — try cubing the avocado halves in a cross-hatch pattern (but don’t fully remove them from their skin). Take one or two slices of lemon and sandwich them between the two avocado halves. Wrap the avocado “sandwich” tightly so that it all sticks together.
Grab an onion
This unexpected combination is the best way to keep your avocado fresh for days. If you don’t plan on using the remnants of your avocado for more than a few hours, cut off a large chunk of onion and place it in an airtight container with the remaining avocado. Store the container in the fridge. While it’s not totally clear why the odd couple works so well together, The Kitchn suspects it has to do with the sulfur compounds released by the onion. Don’t worry about taste: The avocado keeps its characteristic flavor. This tip works for guacamole, too!