In the past decade or so, the avocado has seen a steady rise in popularity throughout the world, and to the people living in the South-West of these great United States, it is the star of the kitchen. Whether you eat it raw, puree it, slice it, dice it, or make some guacamole – this thing is smooth buttery deliciousness incarnate, and the shocking thing is that it is incredibly good for you, too!
But, with every superfood, some drawbacks must occur. The thing with avocados is of course that they are, well, inconveniently expensive. So, if you don’t happen to be obscenely rich, you have two choices: give up your love for avocado or find a cheaper way to get them. Every now and then, your local market or shop will have a sale, especially when avocado is in season, you can get the stuff for half the regular price, or even less.
The Internet is full of accounts of terrible mishaps with avocados in the freezer – if you don’t do it right you end up with a disgusting brown mess. Thankfully, when you know what you are doing, the avocados you freeze can be well preserved and look fresh even after several months. It won’t ever taste as good as the real deal, of course, but with careful preservation, you will find the difference barely noticeable.
In this handy little article, we have compiled for you a comprehensive guide on how to freeze avocado right, so that, hopefully, you will have deliciously cheap avocado for most of the year without any sad brown avocados that you would have to throw away or force yourself to eat. For the less patient we have a quick rundown on the steps you have to do, and for the more curious we will delve a little deeper into the issue further down the road.
How to freeze avocado – The short answer
- Cut the avocado in half
- Peel it and remove the seed (or DON’T)
- Either mash it, put it through a blender, cut it into cubes, or make guacamole
- Add a little bit of lemon juice (around 2 tablespoons per large avocado)
- Put the avocado in a freezer bag or a mason jar
- Remove as much air as possible from the container (ideally, use a vacuum sealer if you have one; and if you opted for mason jars, try to fill them up almost to the top)
- Store it in the freezer
If you follow these simple steps carefully, you should have no problems at all with the avocado changing color. However, keep in mind that frozen avocado will have a different texture and won’t lend itself well for raw eating. We recommend putting it in a blender, using it in smoothies or making guacamole, and reserving the fresh ones for salads and toasts.
The Slightly Longer Answer
The Root of the Problem
For most people, freezing avocados is a way to save money and keep a steady supply of avocado going even when they are out of season. The trouble is that because it has a very particular, fatty composition, it does not tolerate any amount of air well.
The reason behind this is simple: any amount of air allows bacteria to develop and start breaking down the nutrient-rich flesh of the avocado. This is exacerbated by the fact that avocados are rich in fats that also oxidize after prolonged exposure to air, which is usually the main cause for the brownish color some people get when freezing avocados.
Add to that the water content of the fruits (from 70% when they are ripe to 80% early in the season), and the effect ice crystals have on fat, and you’ll see why bruising and discoloration is such a big problem.
To avoid that we want to reduce the water content as much as possible and we want to remove any air we can from the container. This is why we recommend buying fully ripe avocados when you intend to freeze them, since that way you can somewhat reduce the water content.
By peeling it and removing the seed from the avocado, you reduce the likelihood of discoloration simply from the pigmentation “bleeding through” onto the fruit flesh itself. Finally, adding a coating of lemon juice, i.e. citric acid, helps preserve the fruit for much longer, since the acidic environment kills off bacteria.
It alters the taste only slightly, and if you follow our recommendation of using these frozen avocados mainly for guacamole or smoothies, you’d add some lemon or lime juice anyways, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
The same things go for those of you who will puree the avocado beforehand, only that you should find it substantially easier to eliminate the air pockets in the container of your choice (be it a mason jar or a freezer bag), and you are likely going to get better results overall. The best way, as we mentioned before, would be to use a vacuum sealer or food preserver.
Those machines are, however, fairly expensive at about 200$ dollars and more, so if you don’t want to make that commitment just yet, we suggest you try the puree or guacamole method first. Just put the blended avocado or guacamole into a freezer bag and try to press down on it to remove any extra air.
Some people suggest using a straw to suck out the air, but the results are about the same in the end. And by about the same we mean not terrible, not great. Just do your best and see how it turns out.
In case you are using mason jars you will not be able to do this of course, but you can fill the jar up almost to the top (leave some space because you are putting glass in the freezer and you do not want your jar exploding), and the bonus is that you can feel good about not using plastic.
Tips for Using Jars
Some suggestions when freezing anything in jars: use jars with straight edges, made out of tempered glass, and don’t tighten the lid immediately when putting them in the freezer or thawing them out.
The reason is again to minimize the chance of your jars breaking. This type of jar, with straight edges (opening is the same width as the “body” of the jar) and made out of tempered glass, is usually sturdier and less prone to breaking. Try to leave some space between them in the freezer as well, so they don’t clink together and shatter. The lid tightening is important because you don’t want to build up pressure in the container.
When you tighten the lid, you trap the air inside the jar, and once the contents start expanding since ice uses more space than water, you might get a big mess. This can mean either the glass breaking in the freezer and your precious guacamole dripping out, or it can mean that once you open it, you will have to scrape the guac off the kitchen walls.
Once You Thaw It
When all is said and done, and you freeze your avocado stash and leave it for a couple of weeks or months, we come to the question of how to thaw it properly and what you can use it for once it is thawed.
So, first things first, you should try to take the avocados out of the freezer ahead of time. It will take some time for it to thaw completely, and the best option might be leaving it at room temperature before you go to bed, or in the morning before you head out.
This way the guacamole will have plenty of time to thaw completely and you won’t be tempted to speed things up by heating it or just throwing caution to the wind and using the still frozen stuff. Quick changes in temperature are bad for the fruit, and if you do it the results will be significantly worse. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Finally, once you have waited for it to warm up to room temperature, you might find that if you cut it into cubes, they don’t taste as good as a fresh avocado. That is, unfortunately, an unavoidable trade-off. However, the difference in taste is mostly a thing of perception, because the texture changed in the freezer. So, the best way to enjoy your once-frozen avocado is to use it in guacamole or smoothies.
The taste profile will be almost the same as the fresh one’s, and at a much cheaper price. Plus, with all the added ingredients that go into a smoothie or guacamole, and any spices you might use for your dip, the taste gets somewhat overshadowed and you won’t taste the difference at all.
If you are still with us, dear reader, thank you for reading this little article, and we hope that we have answered how to freeze avocado properly for you. So head out for that end-of-season deal on avocados and get to freezing!