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How to Tell if an Avocado Has Gone Bad

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Avocado is one of the tastiest fruits and it's a wonderful ingredient to have in your kitchen. It's important to know the signs of a good avocado versus one that's rotting, so you get the best-tasting avocado possible!

Old, molding avocados don't taste good and aren't safe to eat. Sometimes it's hard to tell if an avocado is overripe before you cut into it, but I'll show you the key ways to tell if it's too old to eat.

Fresh avocados should be slightly firm with a little give and have no visible mold or pitting. A fresh avocado will keep at room temperature for

An avocado with a large divet.
An overripe avocado with pitting in the skin.
An avocado with a dark stem area.
An overripe avocado with dry skin.

Signs of Rot in Avocados

Look for these signs to see if your avocados have gone bad.

  1. Mold - older avocados may develop white, brown, or black mold. The mold may be on the skin or inside on the flesh. If there is mold on your avocado you should discard it.
  2. Soft Spots and Pitting - avocados can easily develop mushy spots and pitted divots. These don't necessarily mean the whole avocado is inedible. Cut open the avocado to see if it's fully rotten or if it's just a small section that can be removed.
  3. Skin Color - avocado skin varies in color, but in general it should be a dark green or dark greenish-purple when it is ripe. If it is brown or looks dry, it is likely past its prime.
  4. Flesh Color - a perfectly ripe avocado will have bright green flesh. As it ages the skin will become streaky with brown marks and eventually turn brown and then black. If the brown parts aren't too large, you can cut them off and enjoy the rest of the avocado. If the avocado is mostly brown, discard it as it won't taste good.
  5. Smell - if the avocado has a strong smell acrid or ammonia-like smell, discard it. It's past its prime and will no longer taste good.
Slices of avocado with browned, rotten areas.
Two avocados with brown mold.
Avocados with brown mold on them.
The inside of a molded avocado.
The inside of molded avocados.

The Best Way to Store Avocado

Avocados can be kept on the countertop or in the refrigerator. If it hasn't fully ripened, store your avocado at room temperature, and then if you need to prolong its shelf life, store it in the refrigerator.

Most whole, unpeeled avocados will ripen within a week at room temperature but will last for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Cut avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

Avocado FAQs

How long do avocados keep in the fridge?

A whole, unpeeled avocado will keep for one to two weeks in the refrigerator.

A peeled or cut avocado will keep for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container.

Can you cut the moldy spots off avocados?

If there is visible mold on your avocado you should not eat it and the avocado should be discarded. Because avocados are soft the mold has likely spread further than you can actually see.

Do you need to store avocados in the fridge?

No, avocados actually ripen better at room temperature and don't need to be stored in the refrigerator. If you want to prolong the shelf life of your avocado, you can place it in the fridge.

Are avocados with a bad smell okay to eat?

Avocados with a strong rancid or ammonia-like smell should not be eaten.

How long does cut avocado last?

Cut avocado will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. You can freeze it for up to 6 months as well.

Can you freeze avocado?

Yes, you can freeze avocado. Whole avocados can be frozen, as well as chopped and mashed avocado.

The consistency of the flesh changes slightly, so it is best used in smoothies, guacamole, or other blended items.