Refrigerated Avocado Turned Brown: Why and What Should We Do?

It’s a common occurrence: you buy an avocado, refrigerate it, and then notice that the refrigerated avocado has turned brown. What happened?

Refrigerated avocados turned brown because of the oxidation process, which leads to an unsightly browning or discoloring of the fruit.

This article will explain how refrigeration affects avocados and why they turn brown after being stored in the fridge!

Refrigerated Avocado Turned Brown

Why does avocado turn brown after being refrigerated?

refrigerated avocado turned brown
Credit: canva

Have you ever noticed that avocados turn brown when refrigerated? Or even worse, have you ever found an avocado in the refrigerator, and it’s been sitting there for a few days and is now completely black?

What happened to your beautiful green avocado?

It turns out that while this may seem like some rip-off by the avocado gods, it has nothing at all to do with them. It’s natural. When avocados are exposed to air, they start to oxidize, which causes oxidation in the flesh. This eventually leads to an unsightly darkening or discoloring of the fruit.

This is because of an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). When exposed to air, PPO reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere and converts phenols from the fruit into quinones.

These quinones can react with specific amino acids found in proteins like lysine, arginine, and tyrosine, which leads to browning or discoloration. 

Do avocados go bad in the fridge?

Once ripe, eat the avocado in the next day or two or store it whole and uncut for three days.

Cold slows down ripening, so don’t buy unripe avocados and put them in the refrigerator because they won’t be able to ripen properly, if at all, fully.

How quickly do avocados turn brown?

Cut an avocado; it will be hours, typically at least four hours, before the fruit turns brown.

If you cut it into a ripe one, it’ll start turning color much faster than if it was still green or just beginning to ripen when picked.

Can You Eat Browned Avocado?

Can you eat oxidized avocado?

Yes, you can eat oxidized avocado. The oxidation is a chemical reaction and not a sign of spoiled avocado.

The brown part of avocado might look unappetizing and taste bitter, but it’s still safe to eat.

Is it okay to eat brown avocado?

The short answer is yes, you can eat brown avocados, but the taste may not be as good as if they were still green. It’s important to note that the browning of avocado does not make it bad or rotten. It’s simply a cosmetic issue.

So, if you’re planning on using avocado in a dish mixed with other ingredients, there’s no need to worry about the browning.

However, if you’re looking to serve avocado as a standalone dish, such as in guacamole or on toast, you may consider using avocado that hasn’t been cut or browned.

Is it safe to eat brown avocado?

Yes, it is safe to eat brown avocado. The flesh of the fruit is still perfectly safe to eat. Eating brown avocado will not make you sick. Browning is simply a cosmetic issue and does not affect the safety of the fruit.

However, if the avocado is brown or black throughout the fruit, it is most possibly rotten. And you cannot eat it.

However, if the avocado is brown or black throughout the fruit, it is most possibly rotten. And you cannot eat it because it will make you sick.

How Can We Tell if an Avocado is Ripe and Ready to Eat?

Hass avocado. Credit: canva

It’s been a while since you’ve eaten an avocado, and now you’re craving one. You go to the grocery store and pick one up that looks perfect.

But is it ready to eat? How can we tell if an avocado is ripe?

If your avocado has brown spots on the skin, then this means that it isn’t ripe yet.

If there are no brown spots, your best bet would be to squeeze the fruit in question gently. If it feels soft but gives some resistance when pressed or if there is no give at all with gentle pressure, then this means that it may not be fully ripened.

If the skin of the avocado has turned from green to blackish brown, it will be perfect for eating.  

The best way to check the ripeness of an avocado is by pressing on its stem end with gentle pressure and feeling around to find where it feels the softest. The softer that place gets as you push down on it, the riper your fruit should be.

What Do I Do with a Brown Avocado?

avocado guacamole
Avocado Guacamole. Credit: canva

Finding a brown avocado can be intimidating, but there are many ways to use up a brown, overripe avocado.

Make your own brownies.

You can make your brownies by putting a ripe avocado in your food processor with some cocoa powder and sugar. The creamy texture will give you the best results for this recipe. Choosing an under-ripe or overripe fruit might result in dry, crumbly cake-like brownies instead of moist ones.

Make guacamole or salsa.

If you’re not feeling like making something sweet, try one of these savory dishes: dip slices of whole-grain bread into mashed avocados mixed with tomato sauce and spices for a quick lunch; spread mashed avocados on toast topped with tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice for breakfast.

Blend into smoothies

You can blend your brown avocado with a banana. With a bit of honey, these smoothies will be sweet enough to satisfy any sugar craving. Read on for the full instructions on making this delicious drink at home.

Make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

It is no secret that many people love chocolate chip cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with avocado are just as delicious. They also have more nutritional value than traditional recipes because of the healthy fats from avocados.

Or even make chocolate pudding.

Do you ever crave chocolate but want to avoid adding sugar? Avocados can be used as a substitute for cream in making chocolate pudding. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to the avocado and process with an immersion blender until smooth. Mix in maple syrup or honey if desired. The result is a creamy dessert without any added sugar.

What Should We Do to Prevent Avocados from Turning Brown?

You may have experienced the frustration of an avocado turning brown in your fridge. We’ve a few tips for storing avocados properly to prevent this issue.

Tips to prevent avocados from turning brown

If you’re ready to get started, check out these four steps below: 

  1. To avoid this reaction, it’s best to keep avocados at room temperature for as long as possible before refrigerating them.
  2. Cut the avocado lengthwise and twist it like a clamshell; gently remove the pit and spoon out the flesh with a spoon or scoop.
  3. Gently brush off any loose pieces of skin that might be on the surface using a dry paper towel or dry cloth.
  4. Cut the avocados into smaller pieces before storing them.
  5. Scoop some lemon juice or vinegar over the top (or another acid such as lime juice), then place plastic wrap directly on top so that it’s touching all surfaces of both halves before closing them up like they were
  6. After placing the avocados into a plastic bag, store them in the refrigerator, not on the countertop, so no air can contact them.

Will vinegar keep avocados from browning?

brown avocado
Brown Avocado. Credit: canva

When you buy avocados and need them to last a little longer, put some vinegar on the surface before storing them in your fridge. This will slow down how quickly they brown over time.

If this is not enough for you, other options, such as lemon or lime juice, have the same effect of slowing down browning. But using vinegar first can help reduce acidity levels so that flavor doesn’t get overpowered by too many citrus fruit juices like lemons or limes.

A really simple way to store avocado slices for later use would be to add a splash of acidic vinegar onto the surface. It will slow their self-browning process tremendously if left untouched overnight in storage.

Tips for storing cut or peeled avocados in the refrigerator, so they don’t get brown and mushy when eaten later.

If you have a few avocados and no time to use them up, don’t worry! You can store the cut or peeled fruit in the fridge without significant issues.

However, it is essential to note that this will not keep them fresh forever. To keep these fruits as healthy as possible, here are some tips on storing cut or peeled avocados in the refrigerator: 

  1. Cut your avocado into halves lengthwise before peeling off the skin and scooping it out of the flesh. There’s less chance of losing any pieces while slicing or dicing. 
  2. Use plastic wrap (or an air-tight container if you have one) to cover your avocado and seal it tightly. This will help keep the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown.
  3. Since avocados continue to ripen after they are cut, it’s important not to place them next to other produce items because this could cause them to over-ripen before you’re ready for use.
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