An avocado is a fleeting pleasure. For days it sits, hard and waxy and inedible. Then, for just a moment, it is perfect: creamy and velvet and perfectly spoonable until suddenly, in what seems like hours, it passes once again into disagreeable mush.
Let us show you how to freeze an avocado at its peak so that you can enjoy a few silky slices in your smoothie any day.
Should You Freeze Avocados?
Is it Worth it?
Freezing avocados is an excellent way to prolong the shelf-life of a notoriously short-lived food. Avocados go bad quickly and pass through only a brief ripe period. By freezing them, you can extend their useful period from as little as 1-2 days to 4-6 months!
Freezing an avocado is not without consequences. During freezing, the water in the cells expands and ruptures many of the cellular structures. When the avocado thaws, these shattered cells feel “broken” or mushy upon chewing and can give a slimy mouthfeel if you attempt to eat the avocado on its own.
For this reason, it is best to use frozen or thawed avocados in multi-ingredient applications, especially ones where they will be blended or stirred (like smoothies or dips). The agitation will reincorporate the water that has separated from other cellular components.
Vigorous stirring or blending also takes advantage of avocado’s phospholipids, which are first-rate emulsifiers. These phospholipids are the main reason avocado confers such a silky texture to smoothies and dips, and they are still present and active after freezing.
How to Freeze Avocados
Choose ripe avocados and gently remove the pit. Slide the avocado out of the skin by scooping out the entire half. If you prefer, you could dice or slice the avocado halves; this might make more sense if you plan to use them for smoothies.
Place the halves, pieces, or slices on a tray and drizzle them with a small amount of lemon or lime juice to prevent browning. Without a coating of acid, avocados will turn slightly brown as they are exposed to air. Browning is not harmful, and it will not affect your avocado’s taste, texture, or safety. However, it is unsightly, and it could discolor the rest of the dish. For this reason, it is common practice to add acid when storing or freezing avocado pieces.
Next, pop the tray in your freezer for a few hours. When the avocado pieces are frozen solid, transfer them to freezer bags labeled with the day’s date. The avocado slices will store well for 4-6 months from the date of freezing.
The following video shows techniques for removing the pit from an avocado as well as for dicing, slicing, and fanning.
How to Thaw Avocados
There is no need to thaw the avocado halves or slides if you plan to blend them into a smoothie. However, for dips or sauces, the pieces should defrost thoroughly before use. Avocados thaw quickly; even a full avocado half should thaw in no more than an hour on your countertop.
For this reason, you can thaw avocado at room temperature without a food safety risk, as long as you use it as soon as it has thawed. To be extra careful, you can leave it in the fridge to defrost, but expect this to take a couple of hours longer.
Uses for Frozen Avocados
Due to its emulsifying properties, avocado is an incredibly useful ingredient. Frozen or thawed avocado does not work well in all the same places that a fresh avocado would (such as on a sandwich or as a salad topping). Still, it makes a pleasing addition to spreads, smoothies, dips, or salad dressings.
Acting as a creaming and emulsifying agent, avocado smooths the texture of these dishes and binds other ingredients together. In baked goods, it not only emulsifies (acts as a binder) but contributes both water and oil. Use it in any of these recipes to make the dish instantly creamier, smoother, and rich with essential nutrients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze whole avocados?
It would be challenging to remove the fruit from avocados that had been frozen whole. While it would be safe, you would find the quality diminished, and you would probably reduce the yield from a fruit compared to freezing it after removing the flesh.
Can you freeze avocados for smoothies?
Definitely! See above; smoothies are just one of the many applications for a frozen avocado. You can toss frozen avocado directly into the blender to give a velvety texture to your next smoothie.
Can you freeze ripe avocados?
Ripe avocados are the only type of avocados you should freeze!
Next time you find yourself playing “is it ripe yet?” with a bowl of avocados from the market, consider freezing a batch. A nutrient-rich and incredibly functional ingredient, avocados can enhance a variety of dishes. Follow the suggestions above for long-lasting frozen avocados that are “ripe” whenever you need them!
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