The easiest way to ripen an avocado is to place it on your counter or in your fruit bowl for a few days until it gives slightly to gentle squeezing in the palm of your hand. See below for more detailed information on ripening avocados.
If you need the avocado for the same day, it can be frustrating having to wait days for them to ripen properly. Typically an under-ripe avocado will take a few days to get to the point where it’s flesh is perfectly soft to eat. If you can’t wait that long, then there are ways to ripen avocados quickly and effectively in time for using the same or next day.
How to check for ripe avocados
Checking for the perfectly ripe avocado is essential but how exactly do you choose the best one?
- If you want a perfectly rip avocado it needs to be dark in color as under-ripe avocados tend to be a brighter green.
- Make sure it’s firm but slightly soft to the touch—it should feel slightly squidgy under the skin with a gentle squeeze.
- If it leaves finger indents when you test it the avocado is over-ripe which you want to avoid.
- You can also test the ripeness by flicking the stem—if it comes off easily then it is ripe, if not then it still needs longer to ripen.
If there are no ripe avocados on offer, then here are 4 simple ways to ripen them faster!
1. The paper bag method (and a banana)
2. The oven method
3. The pea method
4. The salt method
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T FIND THE STAGE OF RIPENESS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
There is still hope if you can’t find the avocado you are looking for.
If the avocados you find in the store are too hard for when you plan to serve them, first, ask the store produce manager if they have any avocados in the back that are closer to ripeness. If not, purchase the softest ones you can, and place them in a paper bag on the counter top with a kiwifruit or apple (or both) to speed up the avocado ripening process.
Apples, kiwifruit and avocados all produce natural ethylene gas. Ethylene is a plant hormone that triggers the ripening process and is used commerciall to help ripen bananas, avocados and other fruit. When placed in a paper bag, you are containing the ethylene and encouraging the fruit to ripen faster. For best results, use red or golden delicious apples. These old varieties produce more ethylene than newer varieties (e.g. Gala or Fuji) that have been bred to ripen slowly to maintain their crisp texture, and will be the most effective when it comes to ripening avocados.
Do not microwave your avocados or put your avocados in the oven to try to ripen them faster. If you do, the microwave or oven may soften the flesh of the fruit a little which may make it ‘seem’ ripe, but it isn’t. The avocado will taste unripe and won’t have the creaminess or buttery, nutty flavor we all know and love. Ripening avocados is a process best left to Mother Nature’s timeline.
If you find yourself in the opposite situation with only ripe avocados available at the store that you will not be using for a few more days, get them home and put them in the refrigerator right away to slow down the ripening process.
Extra hacks for ripening and storing your avocados
There are many common errors people make when dealing with an avocado and since they’re so delicious, the last thing you want is to waste one!
- Never put an avocado in the microwave to ripen it. It will turn it brown and mushy extremely quickly and can leave a rather putrid smell.
- Don’t put an under-ripe avocado in the refrigerator as this will cause the flesh to develop a rubbery texture.
- If you’re not in a hurry to ripen an avocado then keep it in your fruit bowl to allow it to ripen nicely over a few days.
- Try to avoid placing the avocado for long periods in direct sunlight.
- If an avocado is ripe but you still want to wait to use it, then store it in the refrigerator to keep it from going bad.
- If you have half an open avocado to store, wipe some lemon juice over it to stop it from turning brown too quickly. Alternatively store opened avocados in a sealed container together with half an onion—this will also slow down the browning process.
Just place your avocado in a brown bag with either an apple or banana. Place it in your pantry or a dark area.
The plant hormone ethylene, which occurs naturally in fruits like apples and bananas, triggers the ripening process. When combined in a brown paper bag, the ethylene gases are trapped alongside the avocado and cause the fruits to ripen faster together.