Avocados are a delicious and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Whether you eat avocados in slices or mash it all together and make avocado toast, there’s really no wrong way to eat avocados.
However, what do you do if you have an avocado that has gone beyond the point of ripeness?
Is an overripe avocado safe to eat?
Overripe avocados are safe to eat. However, the avocado’s flavor and texture might be unpleasant if the brown parts are left intact. When eating an overripe avocado, cut away any brown and mushy spots. The rest of the avocado will be firm and have a yellow color which is ideal.
Make sure to avoid any rotten avocados that have signs of mold or emit any foul smells.
The benefit of overripe avocados is that they are easier to puree or mash when compared to just-ripe avocados.
So use overripe avocados for guacamole dips or spreads!
Now let’s cover what causes avocados to ripen fast, how to keep avocados fresh longer, and how to tell if an avocado is bad.
What Causes Avocados To Ripen Faster
There are 3 main causes for avocados to ripen faster:
1. Warmth and Sunlight
The best way to ripen an avocado is by placing the avocado in a bowl and setting it in a sunny spot on the kitchen counter.
However, if you want to keep a ripe avocado fresh then do not place the ripe avocado in sunlight or warm areas.
The warmth from the sun or heater vent will cause the avocado to ripen faster.
2. Paper Bags and Containers
Avocados produce ethylene gas which causes them to soften after they’re harvested.
If an avocado is stored in a paper bag or container, then the ethylene gas will be trapped and cause the avocado to ripen even faster!
So do not store any ripe avocados in a paper bag or container otherwise the ripe avocado will go bad quickly.
3. Other Fruit
Other fruits, such as apples and bananas, also produce ethylene gas.
So if avocados are stored near other fruits then both the avocados and the other fruits will ripen faster.
This is a great trick if you have a lot of fruit you want to ripen.
However, do not keep fruit near avocados if all the fruit is already ripe since the fruit will all go bad quickly.
Are Brown Avocados Safe to Eat?
If you’re an avocado lover, you almost certainly are used to eating avocados that have a greenish yellowish inside.
But does that mean that avocados with a brown inside are not fit for consumption?
To understand whether or not they are, let’s first understand why avocados turn brown.
Reasons for Avocados with Brown Flesh
There are three main reasons why an avocado can have brown or even blackish spots:
- The avocado has been exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods before the ripening begins.
- The avocado has been dropped or mishandled so the flesh is bruised.
- The avocado is overripe or the inside of the avocado has been exposed to oxygen.
Just like bananas, apples, and potatoes, exposing the flesh of an avocado causes it to turn brown due to a process known as oxidation.
Even though the entire process of oxidation slightly damages the tissues of the avocado’s flesh, it does not mean that the avocado has spoiled. In truth, the brown colour is usually attributed to a non-toxic chemical that is known as melanin (the same pigment that affects skin colour).
In fact, it is common to see guacamole turn brown over time due to oxidation. Thankfully, brown guacamole is safe to eat although there are ways to prevent guacamole from turning brown.
See this article to learn how to prevent guacamole from turning brown.
Eating Brown Avocados
Needless to say, if you eat the brown part of an avocado, nothing will happen to you, as long as the avocado is not rotten.
The only downside to eating a brown avocado is that the inside will not look so pretty, and the avocado may even have a bitter taste.
However, you can cut away any brown flesh of an avocado and eat the remaining yellowish flesh of the avocado.
How To Tell If An Avocado Is Bad
Even though overripe avocados are safe to eat, it’s crucial to avoid avocados that have gone bad.
But how can you tell that an avocado has gone bad?
Here are 4 tests to see if the avocado has gone bad.
1. Check the Flavor and Smell
A ripe avocado is supposed to have a somewhat nutty taste and a sweet aroma.
On the other hand, an avocado that has gone bad will have an abnormal taste and unpleasant smell.
If the fruit has a sour smell or taste, this indicates bacterial spoilage. A chemical-like taste or odour is a clear indication that the avocado is rancid.
If you think that your avocado is rancid, it’s best to avoid it, since these avocados can make you sick if you eat them.
2. Look For Mold
Mold on avocados is unwelcome and should be a straightforward indication that you need to discard the fruit. It’s especially important to get rid of a fruit that has mold on the inside.
You may be tempted to salvage an avocado that has mold only on one part, but that’s not a good idea.
Mold can spread to other parts of the fruit even if the mold is not visible. So the taste and texture of the other parts of the avocado will be spoiled.
Throw away any avocados that have any signs of mold.
3. Examine The Color
A perfectly ripe avocado is supposed to have a uniform, light green flesh. On the other hand, a rotten avocado will have a dark brown or even black colour on every part of the inside.
If you see just one part of the avocado flesh that has a brown colour, then that could be due to bruising. You can cut away the brownish area and keep the greenish-yellow flesh.
4. Feel For Softness
An overripe avocado will be very soft and applying a little bit of pressure on the skin with your fingers can leave a small indentation.
However, if you have an avocado that dents on its own, looks deflated or sunken in most areas, and feel extra mushy on the inside, that could be a sign that the fruit is past its prime.
So if the avocado is too soft then the avocado is likely overripe or has gone bad.
Freshly picked or ripe avocados will be firm but still have a little bit of give when you squeeze an avocado.
Can You Get Sick From Eating Bad Avocados?
If an overripe avocado tastes just fine and does not give off a bad odor then you can safely eat the avocado.
However, if you eat an avocado that has gone bad (has a sour smell or taste, or is moldy) then you may get sick if you eat a bad avocado.
Generally, the most common symptoms of eating a bad avocado are from food poisoning which includes stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
So avoid eating a bad avocado as the risks are simply not worth it!
How To Keep Avocados Fresh Longer
The best way to keep perfectly ripe avocados fresh longer is to place the avocados in the refrigerator.
The cooler temperature in the fridge will help keep the ripe avocado fresh for a few extra days.
However, if the avocado is already cut open then the avocado’s flesh needs to be insulated from the air otherwise the avocado will turn brown.
Wrapping the cut avocado in plastic wrap or covering the flesh will lemon juice will help keep the cut avocado fresh longer.
Are Avocados Good If They Are Yellow Inside?
A perfectly ripe avocado is supposed to have uniform light greenish-yellow flesh. That, however, does not mean that avocados with a yellow inside are not good to eat.
In fact, there are some avocado varieties whose flesh inside will have a pale to rich yellow color complemented by a green tinge.
Generally, avocados that have a yellow inside are good to eat and are a sign of a ripe or freshly picked avocado.
You now know that overripe avocados are not bad for consumption, as long as they taste fine and don’t have a bad odor. However, if you suspect that the avocado is spoiled or rancid, it’s best to discard it.
So to recap:
Overripe avocados are safe to eat. However, the overripe avocado’s flavor and texture might be unpleasant if the brown parts are left intact. When eating an overripe avocado, cut away any brown and mushy spots. The rest of the avocado will be firm and have a yellow color which is ideal.
So do not discard an avocado just because it’s overripe. There are still parts of the avocado that can be salvaged and you may even want to use the entire avocado if you’re making an avocado puree or dip.