Introducing the avocado. Nature has made it one of the most complete foods possible by combining good fats, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and vitamins. Nutritionally speaking, it's a powerhouse with a lot to offer. Whether it is guacamole, avocado toast, or any salad you can think of, avocados are wonderful – as long as you don't get a bad one.
How to tell if an avocado is ripe
It can be challenging to determine if an avocado is ripe or not. Is there anyone who hasn't gently squeezed an avocado at the grocery store, let it sit on the counter to ripen, and returned a few days later to find it mushy? Congratulations, you missed the avocado window.
According to the California Avocado Commission, the best way to judge an avocado's ripeness is to gently squeeze the fruit – it will feel slightly soft but not ‘mushy’ to the touch. If the avocado yields to firm, gentle pressure, you know it's ripe and good to eat.
How ripe your avocado should be depends on how you intend to use it. If your fruit isn’t ripe enough, you won’t be able to peel it or mash it. Over-ripe avocados taste bitter and have a mealy texture.
How to ripen avocados quickly
Are you in a time crunch? Do you need the avocado ready for dinner? Would you like it with lunch tomorrow? If you're making a recipe with avocados, you can't simply wait until they naturally ripen. There are tricks for every situation; some take only a few minutes, and others require a few days. Whichever method you choose, read on to find out how to ripen an avocado.
How to ripen avocados in the oven
Wrap the avocado tightly in aluminium foil and place it in a shallow ovenproof dish or baking sheet.
Bake at 200°F (95°C), checking every 5 to 10 minutes until the desired softness is reached. As the avocado bakes, it releases the ethylene gas that naturally makes it ripen, resulting in a deliciously soft snack.
Let the avocado cool, then place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
You should use the foil-oven method when you need an avocado quickly but not immediately. Be aware that its taste and texture will be somewhat affected.
How to ripen avocados with apples
Avocados do not ripen on trees; they soften once they are harvested. As a quick way to ripen avocados, place them in a brown paper bag – avoid using plastic bags that stifle the fruit – with an apple or banana for two to four days until they are ripe. According to science, the ethylene (a plant hormone that activates the ripening process) in the apple causes the avocado to ripen faster. Red or golden delicious apples appear to be most effective.
How to ripen avocados in a microwave
Remove the pit from the avocado and cut it in half.
Wrap each half with microwave-safe plastic wrap and heat for 30 seconds at a time until the desired softness is achieved. Depending on how hard the avocado was to start with, you may have to wait up to a minute or two.
After each interval, check for softness.
When the halves are cool enough to handle, unwrap them and place them in the refrigerator for about six minutes – adding two or three minutes if the avocado is very hard.
Avocados produce ethylene gas that helps them ripen — wrapping a firm avocado in plastic traps gas close to the fruit, causing it to ripen more quickly.
Although this is the easiest method and makes the avocado soft, it lacks the distinctive avocado flavour we all love.
How long does it take to ripen naturally?
Avocados are one of those rare fruits that ripen after being picked rather than on the tree, so the process begins as soon as the fruit is picked. The easiest way to ripen an avocado is to let it sit on the counter for a few days until it's ripe. Green avocados can stay on the counter for 4-6 days before they mature into perfect avocados with brown skin.