How to Ripen Avocados Quickly (Don’t Use a Microwave)
Here’s how to quickly ripen an avocado at home naturally, using a special method that gives you soft and 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, after 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 than trying to soften an avocado with your microwave.
The best way to quickly 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 uniquely nutritious fruit and always have a ripe avocado ready to eat.
If you don’t need them immediately, it’s much better to buy avocados unripe, rather than ones that feel soft in the middle at the store, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, you can’t tell how long the avocado has been ripe for. If you bring home avocados that feel ready, they may actually be overripe and already going off in the middle or at the stem.
Secondly, if an avocado has been on display at the store for so long it has ripened, it’s probably had many fingers squeezing into the middle of it and will 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 Tell if an Avocado is Ripe
If you really can’t wait and need to pick a ripe avocado at the store then use this method to check for ripeness.
Start by gently pressing with the base of your thumb at the fat end of the fruit opposite the stem. This is usually the last part of the avocado to ripen and it should feel like the tip of your nose, with give but not too soft.
If the avocado is soft here then it’s likely that it’s overripe and at least part of it will be brown. Avoid any avocados that are too soft and any that have obvious finger indents.
It’s very disappointing to get a bad avocado so there’s one more trick you can use if you are fairly certain you’ve got the right one. First, flick the stem off the avocado. It should come off easily if it’s ripe. If not, it’s probably not ready.
Now check the color of the avocado underneath the stem. It should be a light green if it’s ripe, soft and ready to use. If it looks brown and old under there then the avocado is probably overripe and worth avoiding.
Ideally, avoid any risk by getting your avocados unripe and ripening them properly with the method ahead. You can even get two or three at a time and control the rate at which they become ready to eat.
How to Ripen an Avocado Quickly
The quickest way to ripen an avocado is to place it in a closed brown paper bag with another fruit that gives off ethylene gas like a banana or an apple. Other fruit that will speed up the ripening process include pears, mangoes, papaya, apricots, plums, nectarines, kiwi fruit, figs 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. An already ripe banana can quickly turn brown too.
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.
Using this brown paper bag method, a hard avocado should go from unripe to soft and ready to eat by the end of the second day, though it sometimes takes until the third day with very unripe fruit.
If you’re not in such a hurry, use the staggered method below to ripen avocados more naturally in two to four days.
The Stagger Method of Avocado Ripening
The simplest way to get an avocado ripe enough to eat in a couple of days is to place it in a bowl on top of, or close to other ethylene gas-producing fruit, like apples, bananas, pears and most tropical fruits.
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 any more, 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 avocados before they ripen as this will stop the ripening process and make them to go rubbery. If this happens they may be usable in an avocado smoothie but little else.
When to Use Avocados
Conveniently, Hass avocados will turn darker when they are ripe but other breeds usually remain the same color.
Once again, 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.
Near the stem softens before of the rest of the fruit so testing ripeness here isn’t a great indicator. Even the common practice of squeezing avocados in the middle isn’t as accurate for checking whether they are ready as pressing on the opposite end to the stem.
At times you might want to only use half an avocado and keep the rest for later (perhaps for adding to 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.