How to Ripen an Avocado Quicker Than Mother Nature Can
Halp! You have a hankering for homemade guacamole, but all your avocados are rock hard! Avocados can take four to seven days to fully ripen — but do you have to wait that long? Nope. You can actually learn how to ripen avocados quickly.
We put three common methods to the test, so we could learn how to indulge our guac craving ASAP!
And for next time, know this: Avocados soften after harvest, not on the tree. Heat encourages ripening, while refrigeration slows it. Sunlight can slightly speed up the ripening process, too.
There are three ways to determine whether avocados are ripe: color, firmness, and ease of peeling.
- A deep green or partially black avocado is probably ripe.
- Lighter shades of green mean it isn’t ready yet.
- A totally black avocado is likely past its prime.
- Ripe avocados will yield to pressure when lightly squeezed.
- If an avocado is hard, it’s not ripe.
- If it’s mushy or dented, it’s overripe.
- If an avocado peels easily (test a spot near the stem) and the fruit is green underneath, it’s ripe and ready to eat. (Learn the best way to cut an avocado.)
Now, let’s put the three methods to the test, so you can learn how to make avocados ripen faster.
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1. The Banana or Apple Method
- Place an avocado in a brown paper bag with either a banana or an apple.
- Close the bag firmly.
- Let sit in a sunny spot for a day or two, until soft.
How it works
Apples and bananas produce more of the plant hormone ethylene than avocados do. By trapping ethylene gas (which triggers the ripening process) in the paper bag, avocados ripen faster than usual.
Nothing happened for about 24 hours, but then the avocado started to ripen. The banana worked a little better than the apple (we used a Golden Delicious).
2. The Flour Method
- Place an avocado in a paper bag.
- Add enough flour (all-purpose flour or any variety) to cover the avocado.
- Seal the bag and place near a sunny window until ripe, about a day.
How it works
The bag traps the ethylene emitted by the avocado, while the flour absorbs moisture to prevent mold growth and bruising.
This method is the winner! Compared with an avocado that hung out in a paper bag all by itself, the flour method produced a creamier, softer avocado after just 18 hours (and it continued ripening).
3. The Baking Method
- Wrap an avocado in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for one hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, until soft.
How it works
The heat from the oven speeds up ethylene emission, while the foil traps it.
This method is the quickest, but it has some major downsides. Baking affected the taste, texture, and color of the avocado. While it was slightly softer in only an hour, it turned a shockingly bright green (not sure if that’s a benefit or detriment) and wasn’t very creamy. It also had a funky, almost bitter flavor. (Don’t try this one at home — and don’t try to ripen an avocado in the microwave, either.)
Long story short: It’s possible to help Mother Nature speed up the process, but if you want fresh guacamole today, go buy ripe avocados.