I love avocados, you love avocados – we all love avocados. We wait patiently for when they’re dark in color on the outside, and perfectly green and creamy on the inside. But one of the biggest disappointments is when we cut into our beloved avocado only to find out it deceived us.
Sometimes, the appearance and texture of an avocado can look like its ripe, yet the inside is bruised with brown spots or still hard.
When shopping, we should keep in mind that avocados are often not yet ripe at the grocery store.
So, patience is needed, as it usually takes a couple of days to ripen. But what about when we can’t help but crave fresh guacamole or simple avocado toast and we get stuck with a rock-hard avocado? Lucky for us avocado enthusiasts, there are some tips on how to buy them and methods to use to ripen your avocado faster!
1. Use a Brown Paper Bag
This method is as simple as the one above, with a little more waiting time. Simply place your avocado with either an apple or a banana (which I’m assuming you have if you are a fruit-junkie) in a brown paper bag.
Leave it overnight and voila – you have a ripe avocado! Not ripe yet? Keep it in the bag and check every day for the next 1-3 days until it’s ripe. Apples and bananas also release that ethylene gas that I mentioned above. So, this method traps the avocado’s ethylene gas along with the other fruit’s to speed up the ripening process. You can also ripen pears this way.
(*Tip: If you are so excited at this point by your perfectly ripe avocado, you may also use the paper bag to control hyperventilation)
2. In the Oven!
Ripening an avocado in ten minutes!? That’s right – sometimes, you don’t have to wait for the best things in life. For this avocado hack, you’re going to need an oven, a baking sheet, some tinfoil and your precious green baby.
First, preheat your oven for 200°F. After the temperature is set, wrap your whole avocado tightly in foil and pop it in for 10-15 minutes. Try to tame your excitement and hold back from peeking into the oven as if you can see it soften through the foil. Gluing your eyes to the oven will only make the 10 minutes seem longer!
Depending on how hard your avocado was to start with, 10 minutes may not be enough to soften it. If this is the case for your avocado, you can keep it in the oven for up to an hour. Just keep checking it regularly so it doesn’t overcook.
While you wait, ponder this: the reason why this method works is because of the ethylene gasthat avocados produce. Usually, this gas is released slowly during the ripening process. Because your avocado is in foil, the gas is able to smother it and push the ripening process into hyperdrive!
After your avocado is done in the oven, it’s ready for you to cut open and scoop out! If it’s too hot and you have the self-control to wait even longer, place it in your fridge until it cools.
How to Pick an Avocado
When our eyes meet those seemingly ripe avocados with the dark-green, purplish skin color, we pick them up with no hesitation. But, color is not the only deciding factor when looking for a ready-to-eat avocado. The most important factor is the feel and consistency of the avocado. Just like we’ve been taught to remember since we were young – looks aren’t everything.
You certainly can start picking out your ripe avocado by looking at its appearance. Make sure you look for any large indentations on the outer skin as this may mean that it’s bruised inside. And when judging by color, if the deep, purplish color is closer to a black hue, it’s most likely overripe. An overripe avocado will also be mushy to the touch (yuck).
Now, pick up the prized avocado that caught your eye. In the palm of your hand, gently squeeze your avocado without bruising it with your fingers (you don’t want to hurt it!).
Pretend your hand is a hug for your avocado.
You love it, don’t you? If the avocado yields to your hand’s pressure, then it’s ready for your belly! If it feels like a baseball, then you will have to wait a couple of days for it to ripen.
(*Note: If you find yourself gritting your teeth and smashing the avocado until it runs like guacamole through your fingers, you are unfit for ANY relationship, and probably an unloveable person.)
Ripe or Overripe? Tip: Take the Stem off
If you’re at home, you can take the stem off to tell if it’s ripe. (Don’t do that in the supermarket!) If it comes off easily and there is green underneath, your avocado is ripe. If the removed stem reveals brown, it’s overripe, and you’ll probably find brown spots inside the fruit!
Recap: Green = Ripe, Brown = Overripe
Anyway, whatever way you decide to pick or ripen your avocado, these tips are the way to go. Now that you have your perfectly ripe avocado, find any recipe you’d like to use – new or a favorite. Cut it open, remove the pit, slice it, scoop out and enjoy!