Avocados are notorious as the most dramatic of fruits. You purchase an avocado at the store with high hopes of fresh guac in a few days and then your hopes are dashed when you wait and wait and wait for that avocado to ripen only for it to go and rot on you right when you need it.
Make your avocado-consuming experience a little more enjoyable, with these tips and tricks on how to ripen avocados fast.
How to Ripen Avocados Fast Using the Microwave Method
This method for ripening an avocado is most likely the least used and for good reason. It’s really only suitable when you’re in an avocado emergency. The result is, yes, soft avocado that you can use in recipes or spread on toast, but it’s still not ideal. The avocado ends up warm (ew), discolored and a bit stinky.
Here’s how the microwave method for ripening an avocado works:
First, you poke the skin of the avocado several times with a fork, the same way you might do a potato before baking. Then, you pop the avocado in the microwave and microwave it on low for 30 seconds.
Do this in 30-second intervals until the avocado is your desired firmness.
How to Ripen Avocados Fast Using the Oven Method
The oven method for ripening an avocado is definitely more desirable than the microwave method, but it’s a bit of an all-day affair. Here’s how it works:
You set your oven to 200 degrees, wrap your avocado in foil and then throw in the oven in a shallow, oven-safe dish. Then, you check the avocado in 10-minute intervals.
The only problem with this? It can take hours for your avocado to ripen to your desired firmness.
The result? Your avocado is soft enough to use, but again, warm, which is a bit gross, and the texture isn’t quite the same as it might be, had you just allowed the avocado to naturally ripen.
How to Ripen Avocados Fast Using the Brown Bag Method
The brown bag method of ripening an avocado is by far the most well known and the most successful if your aim is to get delicious, ripe avocado as quickly as possible. The only downside is that this method does take a few days.
Still, though, if you know you have very not-ripe avocados on Thursday and you have a Mexican fiesta to host on Saturday, you can rely on this method to make sure you can still serve your guac.
The brown bag method of ripening an avocado is easy. Just place your avocado in a brown paper bag (making sure the bag has absolutely no holes) alongside a banana, apple or tomato. Any of these will work thanks to the ethylene gas they emit, the same gas that ripens avocados naturally, albeit more slowly when the avocados are just left to themselves on your countertop.
Let the brown bag of fruit sit for a few days and — voila — you have a ripe avocado.
Check your avocado for ripeness daily. It should take no less than one day, but no more than three days.
Stages of Avocado Ripeness
But how do you know when your avocado is ripe, or how long it will take for it to ripen once you bring it home from the store? According to the avocado pros at the Hass Avocado Board, there are four stages of avocado ripeness: firm, breaking, ripe and overripe.
A firm avocado will require up to five days to ripen on its own if you don’t use any of the methods above. Firm avocados are bright green and completely firm to the touch.
A “breaking” avocado is on the cusp of being ripe. All it needs is a day or two. Avocados in the breaking stage are starting to become a dark green color and will just slightly yield with some firm pressure. You might be tricked into thinking the avocado is ripe, but once you cut into it, you’ll see that the interior fruit is still too hard to be mashed or used in a recipe.
Ripe avocados are just lightly soft and, as you likely know, ready for eating right this second. Don’t delay, because that ripe avocado could be overripe by tomorrow morning. You can’t really tell if an avocado is ripe from its color, as it varies a lot, so go by feel.
Once your avocado turns brown-black and a bit mushy feeling, it’s overripe. Overripe avocados also develop a squash-y smell.
How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe
If you’re in the store and you want to purchase a ripe avocado, ready for eating that day, there are a few things you can look for. The two primary key indicators, however, are:
- The color of the avocado’s skin
- The feel of the fruit of the avocado with light pressure
While color isn’t 100 percent reliable when it comes to testing avocado ripeness, you can definitely tell by color if an avocado is firm or overripe. Avoid the avocados that are vibrant green or brown-black.
Give the avocado a light squeeze in the palm of your hand. (Don’t use your fingers, palms only.) Does the avocado’s skin yield, while not being mushy? Then you’re likely to have a ripe avocado, ready to eat.
Picking an Avocado at the Store
But what if you want to purchase an avocado to eat later?
If you want to eat your avocados within the next five days or so, go with a firm avocado. (Don’t buy avocados for eating a week out; it won’t work out for you.)
If you want to eat your avocado tomorrow, get an avocado that’s in the “breaking” stage.
Is your avocado ripening too quickly? Pop the whole thing in the fridge, uncut, to slow things down.
Of course, the best way to always ensure you have ripe avocados on hand is to not rely on the store, but on your own gardening skills. Growing your own avocado tree is a lot easier than you probably think!
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