Uh Oh

That Viral Avocado Freshness Hack All Over TikTok Could Give You Salmonella

Do you know the kind of gross germs that can multiply in water? You’re about to find out.

Not sure how to keep your avocados fresh? The FDA says one storage hack could dangerous.
© Ian Laker Photography/Moment/Getty Images

Feel like you're constantly tossing away half-eaten, rotten avocados? You're not alone. In fact, a lot of people apparently have the same problem — thus explaining the viral popularity of a recent TikTok video about "saving" your avocados. Because, you know, the internet is nothing if not a playground of potential life hacks, from clever ways to cook your broccoli to keeping your summer fruit salad cool. So when one enthusiastic TikTok personality suggested storing halved avocado in water to keep it fresh, it seemed genius. Everyone from Newsweek to Today covered the clever workaround. It felt like discovering gold. Still, it's important to remember that not everyone on the internet is an actual expert — the FDA has since released a statement warning against this hack. Turns out, it's not as easy and safe as it seemed.

The FDA has explicitly said it could cause serious harm due to the bacteria found on avocado skin. "The FDA does not recommend this practice," the agency shared with Newsweek. "The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens (i.e., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp, etc.) that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water."

Of course, TikTok isn't the only place you'll find this flawed logic. If you go to the Avocados From Mexico website, they give the same advice for keeping your avocados fresh. "An even easier method is to submerge your ripe avocado in water," reads their website. "Cut your avocado in half and fill a glass or plastic container near full with water. With the flesh-side down, place the avocado in the container, cover, and place in the fridge. This will keep the avocado from turning brown for about another two days."

Alas, this hack is not very original or new — and now we know it's also very unsafe.

So, how do you keep your avocados fresh?

While everything is wildly expensive these days, avocados were pricey before it was cool. Now, it just seems absurd. There's a definite need to get as much life out of your avocados as possible. While you can certainly try to just use it all up in one sitting, you likely end up with a whole half of an avocado you need to save for the next day. How do you keep it fresh for 24 or even 48 hours?

When it comes to avocados, you're facing an uphill battle — that you're probably going to lose. Your best bet is to only buy what you can eat within a couple of days at a time. If you have the time, buying your food in small batches will always guarantee freshness and has been shown to cut down on waste. Not everyone has that kind of time, though. So, you'll need to try some of these other avocado-saving "hacks."

  • Prep immediately. If your avocado is already ripe, go ahead and scoop out that other side. Add a bit of lemon juice to it and mash it up. Store it in a bowl with plastic wrap pushed down right on top of your avocado mash.
  • Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Oxygen does the most damage to our avocados. Coat your uneaten half with lemon juice or olive oil. Next, wrap your halved fruit nice and tight, and you'll most likely keep it fresh for longer.
  • Store with an onion. EatingWell suggests that storing your avocado alongside a sliced onion can significantly benefit your avocado. The fumes from the onion slow down the browning process.

Take note: While these tips might help you keep your avocado fresh for a couple more days, you'll still need to plan on having that avocado toast ASAP.

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