If you’re wondering how to keep an avocado fresh after you cut it, you’re definitely not alone. Lots of folks love making avocado recipes at home, but many of them don’t use a whole avocado in one sitting — especially if they’re cooking for one. Luckily, you don’t have to force yourself to eat more avocado than you need to if you have some left over: All you have to do is learn how to store avocados properly after you cut them.
How to Store Half an Avocado
You know that pesky browning you see on your leftover avocado half after you put in your fridge? That’s called “oxidation,” the avocado’s natural reaction to oxygen after being cut and exposed to air, according to the California Avocado Commission. As any avocado fan knows, this process can happen pretty darn quick. That also means your goal is to prevent, or at least limit, oxidation in order to keep the avocado as fresh and green as possible for as long as you can.
One expert-approved way to do this is to squeeze lemon or lime juice on the exposed surface, place the avocado in an airtight container or tightly-covered plastic wrap, and then put it in your fridge. According to the Hass Avocado Board, this method is effective because the citrus juice acts as an acidic agent while the airtight wrap or container limits the oxygen exposure your avocado gets after being cut. While leaving in the avocado pit can also help limit oxygen exposure, a wrap or container will probably help you get even better results. If you follow this method correctly, you can likely expect your avocado to last about a day.
Another popular expert method of storing a cut avocado is to submerge it in clean water. According to the company Avocados From Mexico, all you have to do is place the avocado flesh-side down in a container full of water, close the container, and then place it in the fridge. When done properly, this method can reportedly help avocados stay fresh for up to two days.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that other people have claimed success with other methods of storing cut avocados. Some folks swear by using olive oil in place of lemon or lime juice in the first method. Others recommend cutting up an onion and putting the slices on top of the avocado before placing it in an airtight container (if you try this method, we really hope you like the taste of onions).
But wait, what if you cut into your avocado and it’s not ripe yet — and you can’t even eat half of it? Fear not: You can still salvage your superfood. According to the Hass Avocado Board, all you have to do is put lemon or lime juice on the exposed area, put the two halves back together inside an airtight container in the fridge, and then keep checking on it periodically until it’s ripe enough to dig in. (Psst: Here’s how to tell if an avocado is ripe, so you can avoid this problem from happening in the first place.)
How to Store Guacamole
Who doesn’t love a big bowl of guacamole with tortilla chips? As beloved as this famous dip is, most people who’ve made it at home realize they have too much of a good thing left over after everyone’s full. Here’s some good news: The methods of storing guacamole aren’t all that different from the methods of storing avocados.
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, there are a few ways of storing guacamole to keep it fresh, including the addition of lemon or lime juice to the mixture, covering with plastic wrap, or simply leaving an avocado pit in the bowl after it’s refrigerated. But one overlooked method — covering the blend with about a 1/2 inch of water — may actually be key to making it last as long as possible. There are also specialty containers on the market, such as the Guac-Lock, which claim to keep avocado fresh for a longer period of time on their own.
It’s worth keeping in mind that everyone has a different success story when it comes to storing guacamole or avocados. What works best in your fridge might be totally different from what works in someone else’s fridge. So, if you eat avocados a lot, it’s worth experimenting with different methods to figure out which way works for you personally.
Then, it’s time to eat up!