Depending on where you live, it’s not uncommon to have a disappointing avocado shopping experience that leaves you wishing you knew how to ripen avocados fast.
You’re at the store, excited to make your famous guacamole, only to discover that absolutely none of the avocados in the bin are the least bit tender. The good news is that there are still ways to cut down the wait time to make all of your favorite avocado recipes. For all you avocado needs, we are sharing some of our top tips to get your avocados ripe in no time!
How to tell when an avocado is ripe
The best way to gauge the ripeness of an avocado is by gently squeezing for softness. Some varieties will change from bright to dark green when ripe, but not all (avocados from Florida, for example, remain green when ripe), so the hands-on method is the best indicator. When avocados are hard, they could take up to a week on the counter until they’re ready to eat. Firm avocados with a bit of give are more likely to be ready to eat, and mushy black avocados with dry, wrinkled skin are well past their prime.
Another trick to determine if an avocado is ripe is to flick off the nubby brown stem and peek at the color underneath. When it comes off easily and looks green below, you’re safe to cut it open and enjoy. If it’s brown under there it’s likely too ripe, and if the stem won’t budge you should give it some more time.
How to ripen an avocado fast
- Place it near a window: If you have the luxury of time before you need to make your smashed avocado toast, leave the avocado out on the counter, ideally in a bowl by the window where it can get some sun. Depending on how ripe it was when you bought it, it could still take a while to ripen, but the warmth of the sun will help.
- Put it in a paper bag: The classic trick for ripening an avocado is simply placing it in a paper bag. This traps the ethylene gas that causes the avocado to soften after it’s harvested, so you should be able to expect a perfectly ripe avocado in 3 to 4 days or less.
- Pair it with certain fruits: For a bit of added help inside that paper bag, throw in a few other pieces of fruit. Apples and bananas also produce natural gases, so the higher concentration of gases inside the bag could get you a ripe avocado in as little as 1 to 2 days.
- Keep it in a bowl of rice: Similar to what you do when your cell phone gets wet, you can try submerging your avocados in a bowl of uncooked rice so that they’ll ripen more quickly. The rice functions the same way as the paper bag in trapping the ethylene gas, and it also acts as a barrier against moisture.
How to store a ripe avocado
If you’re lucky enough to find some perfectly ripe avocados at the store but don’t end up eating them all right away, you can store them in the fridge whole, for a day or two and they should hold up just fine.
For already cut avocados, it’s better to hang on to the half with the pit still inside, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on it and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap (or any reusable food saver) before putting in the fridge to keep it from browning.