Few items in the produce section are more popular than the avocado these days. There has been the avocado toast craze of recent years, and of course, the very longstanding love of guacamole that the vast majority of us believe MUST be included in any table of Mexican or Tex-Mex food.
But there’s this little issue… the window of time to use a ripe avocado is extremely narrow. Once you open one up, you have less than three days to use it. And, when you go to the grocery store, the avocados there usually aren’t ripe yet. So what do you do?
Rest easy. You can go ahead and buy the unripe avocados, because you can bring them to the ripe stage a number of ways, most of them taking less than 10 minutes.
WARNING: Do NOT store new avocados in the refrigerator. They should be kept at room temperature,
Now, here are some easy ways to ripen an avocado quickly so your chips or toast don’t have to sit in that lonely stage very long.
Use the Oven
Wrap it in tinfoil and place on a baking sheet. Pop it in the oven at 200°F for ten minutes, or until the avocado is soft (depending on how hard it is, it could take up to an hour to soften). As the avocado bakes in the tinfoil, ethylene gas surrounds it, putting the ripening process into hyperdrive. Remove it from the oven, then put your soft, ripe avocado into the fridge until it cools and you’re ready to enjoy. Guac and avocado toast for all!
If the Avocado is Not Ripe, but Not Hard
A ripe avocado in just two minutes?! Yes, it is possible, thanks to this Taste of Home hack for how to ripen avocados. Cut it in half vertically and remove the pit. Wrap each half in microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave on high for two minutes. When they’re cool enough to hold, run the wrapped avocados under cold water so they stop cooking. While you’re waiting for your avocado to ripen, check out things that happen every 60 seconds.
If the Avocado is Rock Hard
Wrap the uncut fruit in tinfoil, and bake on a baking sheet at 200˚F for 10 minutes. (Disclaimer: If your avocado is too hard, it could take up to an hour for it to soften. Check every five minutes if it’s not ripe in ten.) Then remove your newly softened avocado. Leave it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME
If you have more time to prepare, here are some other methods you can use to ripen an avocado:
Use a Brown Paper Bag
Stick the fruit in a brown paper bag, roll it shut, and store on your kitchen counter. Avocados produce ethylene gas, which is typically released slowly, causing the fruit to ripen. But, you can speed up this process by putting avocado in a container (a paper bag is ideal since it allows the fruit to “breathe”) that concentrates the gas. Bought that hard-as-a-rock avocado on Wednesday but want to dish up a Mexican fiesta this weekend? No problem. With this method, your avocado should be guacamole-ready in about four days (or less, so keep checking every day).
Use Another Piece of Fruit
Repeat the same process as above, but double up on ethylene gas by adding a banana or an apple to the brown paper along with the avocado.
These more lengthy ripening tricks are possible because avocados (and apples and kiwifruit) produce ethylene gas, which helps them ripen. When an avocado is covered with wrap or kept inside a paper bag, the ethylene is concentrated around the fruit and speeds up the ripening process.
So thank science that you can eat some fresh guacamole wherever and whenever you want.