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What’s the best way to ripen an avocado?

If you eat avocados often, you know the sheer disappointment you feel when the market only has hard, green fruits. They are truly ripe and filled with buttery goodness when the outside turns black, and you feel that it’s slightly squishy when squeezed. When it starts to shrivel and becomes very soft, you’ve let it ripen too much and it may be brown inside.

There are those times when we need them to ripen fast! Like if you're hosting taco night or need to bring a tub of guac to a potluck in the morning. But how? Putting them in the microwave is not the answer unless you like hot green goop.

After purchasing 3 unripe Hass avocados at the store, I experimented with putting each one in a different place to see which would ripen first. Here is where I placed them:

  1. Sealed in a paper bag, in a dark cabinet.
  2. Out in the open in a dark cabinet (no sunlight).
  3. Out in the open on the counter (sunlight).
The Best Way to Ripen an Avocado

As you can see in the picture, the avocado in the brown paper bag (left) ripened the quickest (2 days).

The avocado left in a dark cabinet (middle) and left in the sunlight (right) took the same amount of time to ripen (3 days).

So there you have it: there’s no magic technique for ripening avocados overnight – unfortunately - but the paper bag trick does speed the process.  So your guacamole cravings will have to wait a full 2 days if you have a paper bag handy or 3 if you don’t.

The best strategy is to keep some handy. The fridge stops the ripening process, so once they are to a desirable state, pop them in there and let them wait for you. They should last about a week without browning.