In terms of smell, an unpleasant or bitter odor will also indicate your avocado is spoiled. In addition, if your avocado has any black spots on the skin or flesh, you’ll definitely want to throw it away.
If you see any signs of gray or fuzzy spots anywhere on the avocado, it has developed mold and should not be consumed. Finally, if the avocado tastes at all sour or rancid, it’s time to toss it.
Getting enough fruit into your diet is imperative to a healthy lifestyle, but if you open the fridge and that fruit is giving off weird vibes, we’d definitely be reconsidering eating them.
Avocados (yes, they are technically a fruit, not a vegetable) have received significant attention in the last several years due to their many health benefits.
In fact, they have gained so much popularity they even began trending on social media as the go-to food for “it-girls” (if you’re not familiar with pop culture, think of an it-girl as someone who reflects the ideal “aesthetic girl.” If you don’t know what that means, there’s no hope for you).
If you’re not careful, avocado can quickly go past its prime and turn your fridge into a flashing red zone.
When avocado is good, it’s fresh, vibrant green and deliciously creamy. In this state, avocado is extremely healthy and full of fiber as well as potassium, magnesium, vitamins C, E, K and folate.
However, when avocado turns rotten, all of these health benefits disappear and you are left with nothing but spoiled food.
Although there are obvious signs of spoilage, when an avocado initially goes bad, it can be quite difficult to identify whether or not it has actually expired.
In today’s fast-paced society, life is too busy to have to worry about possibly eating rotten food (not to mention the ailments you may contract post-eating), which is exactly why we are here to share with you 5 foolproof ways of being able to recognize spoiled avocados.
If your avocado passes any of the following texture, smell, color, mold or taste tests, it has likely gone bad and we would highly recommend not consuming it.
How To Tell If Your Avocado Is Bad: Texture
If you have suspicions that your avocado may be past its prime, a great indicator of this is the texture.
As avocados decay, both the skin and flesh can be targeted by bacteria, so make sure to examine the whole thing and if any of the following are visible, throw your avocados away.
|Skin||When an avocado is in its best state, it will have slightly soft, slightly bumpy skin and will be free from any deflation. |
An avocado that has turned rotten will be very soft to the touch and mushy.
Do the finger test:
Press into your avocado. If it is firm, it is underripe (and if used for guacamole, will be a nightmare to mash).
If your finger leaves a slight indent and the avocado is moderately soft, it’s perfect.
If you press into the avocado and you leave behind significant indentation, your avocado is starting to decay or already spoiled.
You can also simply examine the texture of the skin for signs of decay without even pressing into it.
If you notice any sunken areas or deflation on the exterior part of the avocado, you may need to toss it.
|Flesh||When an avocado is perfectly ripe and ready to eat, the flesh will have a moderately soft texture that is smooth and creamy. In the case of spoiled avocados, the texture of the flesh may be stringy. Note: Although stringiness can indicate rot, it’s not necessarily bad if there’s no other sign of spoilage. If you’re unsure, it’s best to check for some of the other indicators, such as the smell, color, mold or whether or not it tastes off.|
How To Tell If Your Avocado Is Bad: Smell
When it comes to identifying whether or not food has gone bad, the most common indicator is smell.
Have you ever opened your fridge and almost got knocked over by an extremely unpleasant odor?
If this happens, it’s a good idea to find the root cause of it. If you suspect it might be your avocados, take a look at the following indicators.
|Unpleasant smell||When avocados are in their prime, they should smell light, refreshing and slightly sweet. |
If you open your fridge and are greeted by a pungent, sour or rancid odor, it’s likely time to get rid of your avocados.
When oxygen or microbes damage the unsaturated fat in the fruit, this can lead to a nutritional loss caused by the newly introduced bacteria. This is what makes the avocado taste and smell sour.
This bacteria can be toxic and harmful and, if present, should not be consumed.
If you’re feeling unsure whether or not the smell is pointing to spoilage, look for some of the other indicators, such as the texture, color, or whether or not mold is present.
|Bugs||Avocados that have gone bad will often attract bugs due to the smell, so if there are any insects in the vicinity (especially fruit flies), this is a good sign your avocados have gone bad.|
How To Tell If Your Avocado Is Bad: Color
After smell, the second most obvious indicator of rotten fruit is appearance.
When you look at your fruit and your instincts are telling you that something is off visually, you’re probably right.
The color, in particular, will be a sure sign of this and when it comes to avocados, it’s important to note that there are numerous different varieties that display different processes when it comes to color.
For further reassurance, check out these indicators:
|Skin||When an avocado is in its prime, the skin will typically possess a fresh green hue (this can come in a range of shades from light to dark green). |
While many varieties stay green regardless of how ripe they are, there is one variety called “Hass” that takes on an almost black hue when it is overripe.
Fun fact: Hass avocados make up 80% of all avocados consumed globally.
When Hass avocados are ripe, they turn either dark green or brown. Anything darker than this is a good indication they are beginning to rot.
Because other varieties retain their original color when spoiled, you will have to either cut open your avocado and check for indications of rot in the flesh or look for some of the other indicators, such as texture, smell and mold.
|Flesh||If the skin isn’t convincing enough, you can also cut open the avocado and examine the interior. |
When it comes to the flesh, a healthy avocado will exhibit a light green hue.
If this green hue develops brown or black spots, like the skin, this means bacteria has developed and you shouldn’t eat these parts.
Note: if only a few small parts are infected by browning/blackening, cut these parts out and use the rest. Having dark streaks in the flesh may also be a sign of rotting.However, it’s important to note that it is possible for some avocados, especially those harvested from young trees, to naturally have dark streaks even though they are perfectly healthy. As long as the fruit doesn’t display any of the other indicators, such as a bad odor or taste, it can be eaten.
How To Tell If Your Avocado Is Bad: Mold
Hopefully, your avocado never reaches this state. If it does, don’t worry. We’ve all been there- you haven’t cleaned out the fridge in a while and food gets lost in the abyss that is the back of the crisper drawer.
You start to notice a strong odor and decide it’s time to go on a hunt to identify where the smell is coming from. And that’s when you discover it. A shriveled lump of something that once resembled food, is now covered in mold.
Mold is extremely unhealthy and, when consumed, can make you very sick. If you’re not sure whether or not the spots on your avocado are moldy, the indications in the following chart may be able to help you.
|Mold spots||As mentioned in the previous sections, the skin of your avocado should possess a healthy green hue and a soft skin. |
When it comes to the flesh, it should be a bright green.
When your avocado begins to go bad, both parts may start to develop mold.
This will appear in the form of white or gray or fuzzy spots and should not be consumed under any circumstances.
NOTE: While it is unsafe to consume areas that are moldy, if only a small section of your avocado is infected, you can cut this out and consume the rest.
A good rule to follow is to cut out the moldy parts as well as a 1-inch parameter around the mold to ensure you’re not eating any contaminated areas.
However, if the mold is spread out all over the fruit, we highly recommend throwing it away.
Unfortunately, although the mold may be visible on the skin, when it spreads to the flesh, it may not be as noticeable (if you’re unsure, it’s best not to risk it).
NOTE: never smell the avocado if you believe it has mold, as the spores can infect your nostrils, potentially causing breathing issues if you are allergic.
How To Tell If Your Avocado Is Bad: Taste
If your avocado doesn’t appear to be significantly past its expiration date and you are brave enough to do the “taste test,” the flavor you experience will definitely be indicative of whether or not it has gone bad.
|Sour Taste||As mentioned in the “smell” section, when oxygen or microbes damage the unsaturated fat in avocados, this can lead to a nutritional loss caused by the newly introduced bacteria. |
This is what makes the avocado taste and smell sour.
In their prime, avocados are fresh, creamy, slightly sweet and contain a mild nutty flavor.
If you take a spoon of avocado and notice that it tastes at all bitter or rancid, it’s a good sign that it’s time to toss this fruit.
Note: do not taste test any parts that are brown or black! This is bacteria and can make you ill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe To Eat An Avocado That Is Brown On The Inside?
In most cases, if the flesh of the avocado only has a few subtle brown spots, it means the avocados were bruised and you don’t have to throw them away.
Instead, simply cut out the brown spots and eat the rest.
However, if you notice extensive browning or there is evidence of black areas or mold, it’s safer to not consume them.
How Do You Choose An Avocado At The Store?
In order to extend the shelf life of avocados as much as possible and avoid it from spoiling, the first step is knowing how to choose the best avocados at the store and for that you should check out the following characteristics:
- If you wish to eat the avocado immediately, choose an avocado that is soft (but not too mushy) and leaves a slight imprint when you press your finger into it.
- If you wish to eat it a few days later, opt for a less ripe avocado that is more firm.
- If purchasing the Hass variant, ensure it is a nice green color and not black.
- Smell the avocado and if you notice any sour or rancid aroma, do not purchase it.
How Do You Store Avocados?
Whole avocados: store whole avocados on the countertop at room temperature to speed up the ripening process. If you wish to delay this process, place them in the fridge, where they should stay good for up to two weeks.
Cut avocado: cut avocado can be stored in the fridge in plastic wrap (make sure it’s airtight) for up to two days.
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