How To Ripen Avocados Quickly With One Fruity Ingredient

Avocados are a superfood, but, ensuring you have a ripe avocado at the ready when you want one can be super annoying. In a perfect world, we'd grab a few avocados a few times a week. In this scenario, there's a deep bench of fruit at various stages of ripeness on the counter. We'd live in a world where avocado toast can be had at any time and you don't have to worry about a ripe avocado. Instead, you can focus on ways to take your avocado toast up a notch.

Sadly, that's not how it works. We buy avocados when we have a craving and cross our fingers that our market has some that are ready to eat. A perfectly ripe avocado will have a bumpy, deep green, almost black skin, and be slightly soft when gently squeezed. Your testing squeeze shouldn't leave any dents in the avocado. If that's the case, buy that avocado.

When those stars align, don't buy any lotto tickets, you've already hit the jackpot. More often, the avocados are rock-hard, or already turned to mush. You'll have to buy the hard avocados and delay the urge for a day, or two. Maybe three to four. Don't despair, that timeline can shrink by making one more stop in the produce department.

Bananas to the avocado rescue

Bananas and a paper bag are the answer. Avocados are stubborn fruit that won't ripen if left on the tree. It's not until it's plucked from the tree, or falls to the ground that it begins to produce ethylene gas. This triggers the ripening process. So, it stands to reason that extra ethylene will hasten the process. Bananas create enough ethylene to do just that. A paper bag is perfect for containing that gas, while still allowing the avocado to breathe. So, place avocados and a banana into the bag, fold it over to close it, and leave it on the counter. This could work in as little as a day but might take two.

If you're a planner and there is avocado salsa or fresh guacamole in your future, Avocados From Mexico offers a timeline for how to perfectly time out your avocado purchase to coincide with your meal. An avocado that's going to be ready in one to two days, will still be dark green, with a few darker spots. Most importantly, it's firm, not hard, when squeezed. If the avocado's skin is still green, and smooth, it will take three to four days. Unless you employ the banana in a brown paper bag trick.

How to quickly ripen other fruits

Trapping ethylene will work for many other fruits. Hungry Harvest recommends the same banana and paper bag technique for mangos, pears, plums, and tomatoes. Remember, these fruits are already producing ethylene. The bag will trap that work without the banana's extra dose of ethylene. So, for some fruit you might find leaving the banana outside the bag will allow a larger window for perfect ripeness.

They note that for some fruit, like peaches, the paper bag might trap too much moisture, which will ruin the fruit. So, they suggest a linen napkin or clean kitchen towel. Other suggested methods of trapping ethylene, like submerging the fruit in flour, or grains of rice inside the paper bag, seem like a bigger pain than simply using a banana.

If you've made the mistake of buying avocados in bulk and need to slow ripening, place them into the fridge for up to five days. If you only have an extra half of the avocado, it can be saved by coating the cut surface with fresh citrus juice, and plastic wrap pressed onto the surface. This will be fine for a day, or two.