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Can Guacamole Go Bad?

Guacamole has become a staple, not only as a delicious topping for burritos, but also as a creamier dip alternative to salsa. Plus, in addition to tasting great, avocados are actually known for their health benefits. It’s easy to see how you could end up with some extra guacamole after a tailgating party, so what should you do with it? Can guacamole go bad, and how should you store it?

Can Guacamole Go Bad?

Like any other fresh food, guacamole can go bad. Commercially packaged, unopened guacamole has a shelf life of up to two weeks, depending on the ingredients, packaging and manufacturing process.

Once guacamole has been opened, the ingredients will begin to react to the air, and no matter what brand, the shelf life will be reduced to about three to five days. Homemade guacamole will have an even shorter shelf life, lasting around two or three days.

How to Tell Guacamole Has Gone Bad

One of the first signs that guacamole is starting to go bad, is that it will take on a darker green to brownish hue. Not so appealing, but this actually doesn’t indicate that the guacamole has gone bad – yet.

Guacamole and Tortilla Chips

Image used under Creative Commons from anokarina

This darkening is a natural reaction between the avocado and oxygen, similar to how an apple browns once it’s exposed to the air. While a little bit of darkened guacamole can simply be mixed in, once the guacamole becomes noticeably brown and grey, or a puddle of liquid forms, it should not be consumed.

As with most fresh foods, any sign of mold growth also indicates spoilage, and the guacamole should not be consumed. Additionally, if the guacamole smells sour, unpleasant or has any hint of a smell of fermentation, it should not be consumed.

How to Store Guacamole

Guacamole should be kept in the refrigerator, in an airtight container. If you are bothered by the appearance of oxidized guacamole, there are a few storage tricks you could try. The first is covering the surface of the guacamole with citrus. The citric acid helps to prevent the avocado from oxidizing, so either squeezing lime juice over the surface of the avocado, or covering it in lime slices should help to preserve the bright green color. Since there is already lime in most commercial guacamoles, this shouldn’t add too much additional flavor.

Another method is to press plastic wrap over the surface of the guacamole before closing the container, creating a tight seal between the plastic and the guacamole will prevent air from reaching the surface. This should help to eliminate most of the browning that will occur, keeping that lovely green color intact for another day.

Can You Freeze Guacamole?

If you’ve got too much guacamole on hand, and want to preserve it for longer than a few days, freezing is a good option. Guacamole freezes well, with little change to taste or texture. Store bought guacamole that has not yet been opened, can have a shelf life in the freezer of up to eight months, so buying guacamole in bulk during a sale isn’t a bad idea! Opened guacamole, or homemade guacamole will have a shorter shelf life in the freezer, but will still last for up to four months.

Be sure to tightly seal the container when freezing guacamole. Guacamole is easy to thaw and can either be done in the refrigerator overnight, or even in a bowl of cold water, so long as the container remains sealed! Once you’ve thawed the guacamole, stir it thoroughly before serving, and be sure to consume the container within three days. Thawed guacamole should not be refrozen.