Avocados are amazingly nutritious and versatile and a wonderful addition to a great number of recipes. But isn’t it annoying when you go to the shop and after sifting through the pile on offer, they’re all rock hard?
If you need the avocado for the same day, it can be frustrating having to wait days for them to ripen properly. Typically an under-ripe avocado will take a few days to get to the point where it’s flesh is perfectly soft to eat. If you can’t wait that long, then there are ways to ripen avocados quickly and effectively in time for using the same or next day.
If you want to get the most out of this superfood, don’t forget to read these related articles:
How to check for ripe avocados
Checking for the perfectly ripe avocado is essential but how exactly do you choose the best one?
- If you want a perfectly rip avocado it needs to be dark in color as under-ripe avocados tend to be a brighter green.
- Make sure it’s firm but slightly soft to the touch—it should feel slightly squidgy under the skin with a gentle squeeze.
- If it leaves finger indents when you test it the avocado is over-ripe which you want to avoid.
- You can also test the ripeness by flicking the stem—if it comes off easily then it is ripe, if not then it still needs longer to ripen.
If there are no ripe avocados on offer, then here are 4 simple ways to ripen them faster!
1. The paper bag method (and a banana)
This is one of the most common methods to ripen avocados. Using the ethylene gas that fruit give off to ripen, adding a banana (any fruit will do but a banana works more effectively) speeds up the ripening process over 24 hours.
- Get a paper bag, a banana and your avocado.
- Place the avocado inside the bag together with the banana and loosely close the paper bag up.
- Leave the bag in a warm place like a windowsill or by the oven.
- After around 12–24 hours check the avocado for ripeness (you will see the banana has turned brown quite quickly)
2. The oven method
This is a great method as it allows you to ripen the avocado in minutes so it’s ready for using the same day!
- Get your under-ripe avocado and wrap it in aluminium foil.
- Pop it in the oven at 200 degrees C or 100 degrees F for 10–15 minutes.
- Carefully take it out (it’ll be a little hot) and open it up–it’ll have ripened nicely for you to use straight away.
3. The pea method
Another way to deal with over-ripe avocados when you can’t wait until the next day to use them with peas. The peas soften the avocado but doesn’t change the taste, so it’s a perfect and quick way to use your unripe avocado.
- Cut open the avocado and take out the flesh.
- Put it into a blender and add 1 cup of thawed, frozen peas or fresh peas.
- Blend it for a few seconds until smooth.
4. The salt method
This is another great trick and all you need is salt!
- Cut around the top of the stem of your unripened avocado to create a small opening.
- Pour sea salt into the opening and re-add the cut out piece like a lid.
- Your avocado will be ready to eat by the next day.
Extra hacks for ripening and storing your avocados
There are many common errors people make when dealing with an avocado and since they’re so delicious, the last thing you want is to waste one!
- Never put an avocado in the microwave to ripen it. It will turn it brown and mushy extremely quickly and can leave a rather putrid smell.
- Don’t put an under-ripe avocado in the refrigerator as this will cause the flesh to develop a rubbery texture.
- If you’re not in a hurry to ripen an avocado then keep it in your fruit bowl to allow it to ripen nicely over a few days.
- Try to avoid placing the avocado for long periods in direct sunlight.
- If an avocado is ripe but you still want to wait to use it, then store it in the refrigerator to keep it from going bad.
- If you have half an open avocado to store, wipe some lemon juice over it to stop it from turning brown too quickly. Alternatively store opened avocados in a sealed container together with half an onion—this will also slow down the browning process.