NEWS

Storing Avocados In Water Is Not Safe. What Else Can You Do to Preserve the Fruit?

avocados in water

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Key Takeaways

  • Storing avocados in water can encourage bacteria growth and lead to foodborne illnesses.
  • Citrus acid like lemon or lime juice is a better preservative that can be used on the cut surface of avocados.
  • Water infused with fruits or vegetables should be consumed within two hours if they were left at room temperature.

The viral TikTok trend to preserve uneaten avocados in water is not safe, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned.

Some users on TikTok suggested that submerging an uncut avocado in water and keeping it in a sealed container in the fridge will keep the avocado fresh for weeks. The hack was an avocado lover's dream come true, since the fruit tends to have a short lifespan.

Unfortunately, this method might create food-borne germs such as listeria and salmonella and lead to serious illnesses.

"The FDA does not recommend this practice. The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water," an FDA spokesperson said in a statement.

A 2018 FDA research found that 17.73% of 1,615 avocado samples contained Listeria monocytogenes on their skins. The bacteria may also infiltrate into the pulp during refrigerated storage.

There are better ways to store avocados, according to Liz Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT, a registered dietitian and author. You can rub a little citric acid like lemon or lime juice on the cut surface of an avocado, and wrap it tightly in beeswax before storing it in the fridge, Shaw said.

Oxidation occurs when the avocado flesh is exposed to air, so this method can minimize the fruit's exposure to oxygen, she added. Your avocado may develop a thin brown layer that is easy to scrape away when you are ready to eat it.

You can also remove the avocado skin completely, spritz it with lemon juice, wrap the flesh, and then store it in an airtight container in the freezer. “When ready to use, either pop into your smoothie or let defrost on the counter for a perfect guacamole in no time," Shaw said.

Does Infused Water Pose a Health Risk?

If storing avocados in water is dangerous, what about water that's infused with produce or herbs?

While there have been no documented foodborne outbreaks with infused water, there are still risks in combining fresh produce with water.

If you leave water infused with fresh-cut fruits and vegetables at room temperature for over two hours, you should discard the beverage, Shaw suggested.

If you are concerned about the sliced lemon or cucumbers that you toss into your water bottle in the morning, you should be safe as long as your drink is at a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Keeping ice in your water bottle can help maintain this desired temperature.

Unlike avocados, some vegetables such as carrots, celery, and asparagus would do well when submerged in water and have a longer shelf life. Regardless of the type of produce or herb, they should always be washed well before they are added to the water. 

What This Means For You

Avoid storing avocados in water as it can encourage bacteria growth. As an alternative, you can add lemon or lime juice to the cut surface of an avocado, seal it with a food wrap, and store it in the fridge.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fowler K. FDA warns popular avocado hack could be breedingsalmonella. Newsweek. Published online May 20, 2022.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Microbiological surveillance sampling: FY14-16 whole fresh avocados.

  3. NC State University. Infused water safety tips.