Avocados are notorious for taking forever to ripen—a huge problem for those of us who just cannot get enough of their creamy goodness. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to make avocado toast or guacamole only to find that your avocado is still rock hard. So what’s an avocado lover to do?
Unlike most fruits, avocados don’t ripen on the tree. Instead, they take several days to ripen after they’ve been harvested. So if you’ve just come home from the store with a hard avocado, don’t despair. Whether you have only ten minutes or a day or two to let it ripen, you can quickly get your avocado to the perfect texture with these easy avocado ripening hacks.
1. The Quick and Dirty Method: Ripen Your Avocado in the Oven
Avocados ripen due to the ethylene gas they release over time. The more concentrated the gas becomes, the quicker ripening occurs. This method uses heat and tinfoil to concentrate the gas, ripening the avocado in as little as ten minutes.
This is the method to use if you have guests due to arrive any minute—or if you’re jonesing for avocado now and can’t wait for it to ripen.
To ripen an avocado using this technique, start by pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 93 degrees Celsius. Wrap your avocado tightly in tin foil and pop it into the pre-heated oven for ten minutes. When it’s done, take it out and let it cool for about five minutes and voila! Your avocado should be soft and ready for eating.
This method is fast, but if your avocado is extremely unripe, it might take up to 30 minutes to soften. Make sure to turn it every ten minutes if you have to bake it for longer. This method also changes the taste of the avocado slightly, which some people may not find ideal. Still, if you’re in a hurry to ripen an avocado, this is the way to go.
2. The Tried and True Method: Ripen Your Avocado with a Banana
Remember that ethylene gas we mentioned earlier? This ripening method uses the same basic principle, except over a longer period of time. Bananas and many other fruits release ethylene gas the same way avocados do. When you put these fruits together in a paper bag, they’ll release more gas than the avocado would alone, causing both to ripen more quickly.
It’s as easy as it sounds. Just take a banana and put it in a paper bag alongside your avocado. Roll the bag tightly shut and set it aside in a dry place to let it ripen, checking its progress each day. Depending on how ripe your avocado is already, this method could take anywhere between one to three days.
If you don’t have a paper bag, newspaper works fine, too. Just make sure to wrap it tightly enough to trap in all that gas. Bananas aren’t the only fruit that work, either. Apples, mangos, kiwis, and even tomatoes will help build up that good ripening gas for your avocado.
3. The Au Naturel Method: Ripen Your Avocado on a Sunny Windowsill
This method is even easier than the paper bag and banana technique. Just find a dry sunny spot in your home and let your avocado sit there for a day or two. Seriously, that’s it.
This method takes roughly the same time as the paper bag method, but it yields a slightly softer avocado—perfect for guacamole.
4. The Strange but True Method: Ripen Your Avocado with Flour
Ripening an avocado in a paper bag full of flour doesn’t seem like it would work any better than just sticking it in a paper bag. However, this seemingly strange method is actually one of the best ways to achieve a perfectly ripe avocado without the brown spots that you see when avocado ripens too quickly.
Just like method number two, this technique traps ethylene gas to ripen the avocado. Adding the flour works because it wicks away moisture and traps even more gas than the paper bag would otherwise, giving you a beautifully ripe fruit each time.
Some people suggest packing the whole bag with flour, but that’s not really necessary. Scoop an inch or two of flour into a paper bag and add the avocado, then roll the bag tightly shut from the top to trap in all the gasses. Set it aside in a dry place, and your avocado should be perfectly ripe in just a day or two.
Bonus: How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe Before You Buy
Every avocado has a knobby cap-like stem on top. To gauge an avocado’s ripeness, you have to check underneath this stem. If the stem comes away easily when you peel it back, that’s a good sign the avocado is fairly ripe.
Once the stem is gone, check the color underneath it. If it’s a good pale green, it’s ripe enough to eat. Overripe avocados will be brown under the stem. If the stem is difficult to remove, or won’t come off at all, then it definitely isn’t ripe enough to eat just yet, so you’ll need to use one of these hacks to get it to the right texture.
Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments below!