June 24, 2024

While you might love avocados year-round, imports of this creamy green fruit increase by as much as 40 percent in January and early February, according to one industry report, likely because of all that delicious game-day guacamole. There’s nothing wrong with loading up on avocado, which packs fiber and potassium, and is a plant-based source of healthy fats, per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), but when it comes to the proper way to store cut avocado, things have been known to get a bit dicey.

Cut avocados tend to brown easily, and while there are plenty of hacks that claim to prevent that process and keep avocados fresh for a month, not all are safe. Following the wrong advice could even lead to foodborne illness. In 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in response to a viral social media trend that suggested storing whole or cut avocados in water keeps them fresh for longer — the videos continue to rack up views.

In one, which got more than four and a half million views, the TikTok user @sidneyraz stored half an avocado in a container of water overnight, taking it out the next day to find it was still ripe and green. Another user, @shamamamahealing, stored an uncut avocado in a jar of water in the fridge, revealing perfectly smooth, green fruit on the inside after a two-week soak. Her video quickly went viral, amassing more than six million views before she took it down, Newsweek reported.

The idea sounds plausible. Avocados start to turn brown when they’re exposed to oxygen, in a process called oxidation, says Matt Regusci, the principal compliance officer at New Era Partners, a company that specializes in food safety compliance. “The same thing happens with apples and potatoes,” he explains. “There is nothing wrong with the browning as far as a health risk is concerned, it just doesn’t look good.”

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