This Is the Best Way to Speed up—and Slow Down—the Ripening of Avocados
When the guac craving calls, you’ll be ready.
Happy National Avocado Day! It's one of our favorite imaginary food holidays, because you can do a lot with avocados. They’re delicious on everything from salmon to sweet potatoes to toast—plus they’re full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. What’s not to love?
An underripe avocado. That’s what.
Never again! We tapped the experts at Avocados From Mexico to find out the best ways to go from rock-hard to perfectly ripe in a couple of days. Here’s exactly how to ripen avocados fast.
Bag It With Fruit: Place your avocado in a paper bag with a banana or apple and fold to close. Store it in a warm environment until the skin turns a darker green and yields to gentle pressure, which usually takes one to three days. Alternately, if you don’t have any other fruit on hand, you can place the avocado in a bag of uncooked rice and fold to close. Store it in a warm environment until the skin turns a darker green and yields to gentle pressure, which usually takes one to three days.
Why does this trick work to ripen avocados quickly, you ask? Because ripening is the result of fruit releasing a gas called ethylene, which effectively starts the course of decay. It’s caused by the breakdown of cell walls, conversion of starches to sugars, and the disappearance of acids in a piece of produce. All of these processes make a peach, pear, or avocado more palatable—it’ll feel softer and taste sweeter with less acid, starch, and softer cell walls—only up to a point (when it gets rotten). Because ethylene gas diffuses easily, it can travel within the plant from cell to cell and to neighboring plants. It’s also triggered by heat.
So on the flip side, if you’re hoping to serve dinner guests guacamole a few days from now and you’ve found yourself with an already-almost-too-soft avocado, there’s a super simple way to slow the ripening down. Simply place your ripe fruit in the fridge. The cooler temperature will slow the effects of ethylene gas.
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The main takeaway here: plan ahead. When you’re in the grocery store, think about when you’d like to enjoy your avocado. If it’s soon, opt for a darker skinned avocado that has a slight softness and is ready to be eaten. If you have a few days before you'll be serving it, go ahead and grab a firmer avocado with a greener skin.