Here’s how to quickly ripen an avocado at home naturally, using a special staggered method that gives you great tasting avocados you can use at your own pace.
Right at the start, let me warn anyone thinking of it, don’t use a microwave when ripening avocados. I’ve tried to eat one done this way once, by someone following the online instructions, and it just turns them into a foul tasting mush. You’d be better off buying ready made guacamole if you really can’t wait.
The best way to ripen avocados is at home with the staggered method ahead. Using it you can control the rate at which they become ready for a consistent supply of this highly nutritious fruit.
It’s much better to buy avocados unripe rather than ones that feel soft at the store for a couple of reasons reasons.
Secondly, if an avocado has been on display at the store for so long it’s ripened, it’s probably had many fingers squeezing into the middle of it and be full of brown fingerprints. As a favor to your fellow avocado lovers, please don’t do this!
A much better way is to buy your avocados unripe, two or three days before you want to use them and stagger their ripening so you have a new one ready each day.
How to Ripen an Avocado Quickly and Naturally
The quickest way to ripen an avocado is to place it in a closed brown paper bag with a fruit that gives of ethylene gas like a banana or an apple. Other fruit that will speed up the ripening process include pears, mangoes, papaya, apricots, plums, nectarines and passionfruit.
Be aware that this will also increase the speed at which the other fruit ripens too. A unripe banana or pear for instance will often become ready to eat within a day by using this method.
I’ve found it better to leave the avocado and other fruit in the brown paper bag for just the first day after getting them. By the next day the ripening process has well and truly begun and any more becomes overkill. Forget about your fruit for more than a day kept in a bag like this and they can quickly go off.
If you’re not in such a hurry, use the staggering method below to ripen them more naturally in three to four days.
The Stagger Method of Avocado Ripening
The simplest way to get an avocado ripe enough to eat is to place it in a bowl on top of, or close to, other fruit. I’ve found the best place seems to be a bowl near a window, but not sitting for long periods in direct sunlight. You can get three or four avocados and stagger their ripening rate in the following way.
If you want an unripe avocado to be ready to eat in two days then follow the brown paper bag method described above. For the next avo you want to use, put it on top of some ethylene producing fruit, like a bunch of bananas.
For the third, keep it next to but not in the fruit bowl. And for the rest, keep them in a separate place, well away from any other fruit until you have used your first one.
Once you have, you can move them close to the fruit bowl and the avocado that was in that position on top of the fruit to be ready the next morning.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds and is really just moving each avocado closer to the fruit bowl in the order you want them to become ripe. Usually I find my avocados become ready to eat at a staggered rate, one each day, even though I tend to buy three or four at the same time.
Remember not to refrigerate them before they ripen as this seems to stop the process and make them to go rubbery. If this happens they may be usable in an avocado smoothie but little else.
How to Know When an Avocado is Ready
Conveniently, Hass avocados will turn darker when they are ripe but other breeds usually remain the same color.
The best way to tell if an avocado is ready to eat is to softly press the larger end with the flat of your thumb. It should give a little but not feel too soft. Much like pressing on the tip of your nose.
Near the stem often seems to soften before of the rest of the fruit so it isn’t a great indicator. If you only press your avocado here you may find the rest is not quite ripe.
At times you might want to only use half an avocado and keep the rest for later (perhaps for this great tasting avocado breakfast omelette).
To stop it going too brown, keep the seed in and try drizzling some lemon juice over the pulp. Then wrap it in plastic film and keep it in the fridge. Keep in mind though that it will taste better if you bring it back to room temperature before eating it.
There’s the best ways I know for ripening avocados both quickly and more naturally from a confirmed avocado lover. By planning a couple of days ahead and positioning them near other fruit, you can have a regular supply of one of nature’s healthiest foods for great tasting recipes like this avocado smoothie recipe ahead.
Photo 1 credit: jengledow