When a Floridian speaks avocado, I listen. I spent my youth down there, where massive “pumpkin” avocados literally grow on trees and avocado season arrives as an avalanche every year.
You think you struggle with keeping your avocado from getting all brown and nasty after you take off a big slice for your avocado toast? Try wrestling with a whole paper sack someone plops on your front porch.
So with rumors swirling about an increase in the price of avocados from Mexico, I sat up and paid attention when Jan Norris, a food-writing friend from Florida, shared a trick on Facebook for keeping ripe avocados around for up to three weeks. Norris, who was the food editor at The Palm Beach Post, now lives a lively life, writing about restaurants by day and driving for Uber by night.
Her tip: Buy a large can of tomato juice (just juice, it doesn’t have to be all fancy like V-8). Wait until your avocado is ripe, then peel the skin off the outside, leaving the avocado whole, pit and all. Put it in a jar or a plastic container with a tight lid, cover it with tomato juice and refrigerate for up to three weeks.
You know I had to try that, right? I did it several days ago with both a whole, peeled one and the half remaining (pit still attached) after I used a quarter as a soup garnish. A couple of days later, I pulled them out. As Norris promised, they were a tiny bit mushy on the outside, but it was easy to wipe off the tomato juice with a paper towel. The avocado was still creamy green with no browning, and it didn’t appear to change the taste (although tomato and avocado are compatible flavors, so it wouldn’t be an unpleasant combination).
Norris told me she got the tip years ago from a reader and has used it ever since. Originally, people used to cut the lid off the tomato juice can and drop them in, but she doesn’t advise that: “We don’t want to do that because of the taste of the can. It’s basically just the acid in the tomato juice that does it. You could do in a jar of lemon juice, but who has that much lemon juice?”
Of course, she’s working with really large Florida avocados. Smaller Hass avocadoes might not keep as long, but even a week or two of keeping a ripe avocado around is a score.
The other bonus: You end up with lots of tomato juice you can use for something else, like a soup “or make a Bloody Mary with it,” Norris says. “Or a wonderful tomato margarita. Why not? There’s so many cool things you can do with tomato juice.”