Avocado, the wonder berry from Mexico can sometimes take forever to soften on its own volition.
When you have a bowl full of rock hard cados’, or you purposely cut through a berry only to discover that it’s rock hard on the inside, how do you go about ripening the fruit for the rich salad at nine?
Wonder no more, because this article explains exactly 6 different ways you can easily soften an avocado at home for culinary use. Without wasting time, let’s get to it.
1) Paper Bag
The paper bag method is one, if not the best method when it comes to quickly ripening avocados at home. And not to mention, it also ranks among the easiest to perform.
Simply stuff the hard or unripe avocados into a brown paper bag and close loosely, making sure the opening is only crumbled against the body and not taped or sealed.
A couple avocados work better than one, and the key is to store them in the warmest area around the house, because avocados like warm places, typically flourishing in the climatic conditions of the tropic and Mediterranean regions.
Whatever you do, just make sure you’re not baking them in the oven or microwave, a warm peaceful corner around the house is sufficient, then a joyful wait overnight or for a few days will give time for the magic to happen. Of course this will depend on the stage of ripeness of avocado you began with, and also the storage conditions.
Are paper bags cast with some fruit ripening witchery?
They’re not really, but paper bags have a way of “sweet-talking” fruits into ripening faster. They provide a good resting place that drowns the fruits in their own ripening hormones, then voila, the enzymes of ripening wake up from their slumber and begin activities from everywhere!
So we can say in a less complicated manner that paper bags help concentrate the fruit ripening hormone that fruits exude around them which in turn makes them ripen faster, as opposed to the fruits exuding it in the open and then battling with the prevailing wind on who gets to take the highest share!
- If you run into a half ripe avocado or one that is yet to arrive at the desired stage of ripeness you seek in the paper bag, feel free to return it and continue from where you stopped. It is advised actually, that you consistently check on the avocados to avoid running into a squishy mess, although this problem is more common with the rice and stalk methods outlined below.
- Aside a brown paper bag, you can also use a newspaper wrapper or a soft, clean, linen cloth as the container.
2) Paper bag +
Just like with every iPhone nowadays, the paper bag method also has its own plus variant too. And that is there to fix something important – the speed of ripening of the avocados.
While a regular paper bag would only rely on the ethylene (fruit ripening hormone exuded by the fruit itself) to concentrate the bag and subsequently ripen the avocado, which is a process rather slow for some people, the plus method relies on that plus another means.
It requires the placement of avocados with just ripe fruits like bananas, grapes or apples that already exude great amounts of these hormone than the unripe avocado does, thus speeding the process of ripening since the avocado is concentrated a lot quicker and thus it’s ripening instincts are triggered early.
- Make sure to use just ripe fruits and not over ripe fruits to avoid running into rotten fruits.
3) Bury underneath straw
This relies on the same principle as the paper bag, concentrate, concentrate, concentrate, until the avocado is eventually set in the mood for ripening. To perform this method, you need straw which isn’t something everyone has readily available. You want to line up the bottom and internal circumference of a large container and then place the avocados inside. Next, you want to cover the avocados with more straw until you can’t see them. Leave uncovered and allow to sit in a warm dark place overnight or for a few days depending on the level of ripeness of the avocado you began with. This method also works great for bananas and even plantains.
4) Bury in uncooked rice
Again, another method that uses the same “trap ethylene to induce ripening” principle for softening avocados. To do this, get a bowl, fill up with uncooked rice (I highlighted the un there incase you’ll come back here and complain that you only saw cooked there), then bury the avocados completely inside and let sit overnight or for a few days depending on the level of ripeness you began with. Alternative to getting a bowl and filling it with rice, you can submerge the avocados in a rice sack instead.
5) Keep near a warm window
This is the more natural approach to ripening avocados. You simply place them near areas around the house, especially kitchen that receive warmth. Keep them there only for as long as it takes them to ripen, and then refrigerate them or eat them ASAP otherwise they will rot in as little as a flash.
The unnatural way to ripen avocado
Want nothing short of the real avocado flavor and texture? Then stir clear of the oven method because it cooks rather than softens in a natural way. The flavors will be exactly un-reminicent of that of avocados ripened naturally, and guess what, if regular avocado tastes nutty, oven ripened avocados taste exactly like shit!
Green is edible too
Maybe you’re looking for ways to soften green avocados because you though they’re aren’t edible in that state.
But guess what, they’re perfectly fine to consume that way (and even green bananas too), and if you’ve already bore the courage to consume balut or raw ospinach, then a raw avocado fruit shouldn’t be your problem my friend.
Raw avocado, obviously, lacks that creaminess that we love avocados for, and that characteristic nuttiness is also missing as well, but there are still creative ways you can incorporate it into your diet and uplift the berry in areas where it lacks. Grate it over smoothies, juice, blend it, cook with it, etc. You name it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you ripen avocados in 10 minutes?
You can’t ripen green, rock hard avocados under 10 minutes. The methods most people popularize as 10 minute avocado ripening hack, actually bakes and destroys the fruits cells rather than ripen it. So even though the fruit softens and adopts that characteristic creaminess, it still wouldn’t be as flavorful as one that naturally ripened on its own.
How to ripen avocados overnight
To ripen avocados overnight, you will have to start with an avocado that is nearly at the brink of ripeness. A rock hard green avocado will normally take a couple days, between 4 to 6 days to ripen, but any avocado that has already spent a couple days of its life off the tree and not refrigerated can be easily ripened overnight using the brown paper bag method.
For the paper bag method, place a fruit like banana or apple alongside the avocado in a brown paper bag or a newspaper wrapper and cover lightly. The let sit in a warm area overnight, and hopefully, you should have a ripened avocado.
Does heating up avocado makes it softer?
Yes, heating up avocado makes it softer, but not any riper. The heat destroys the cells of the fruit causing them to collapse and thus appear softer to the touch, and in fact in the process, the actual enzymes responsible for the ripening of the fruits are destroyed, so the fruit can never ripen again.
Heating up avocado in the oven and microwave produces a fruit that is not any better (maybe only slightly if it must be) than what it started from – an unripe sturdy mess, creamy but with a pasty aftertaste.
Having said that, allowing avocados to heat up near a window reflecting sunlight might actually work differently. It can help speed up the ripening process because avocados require tropical-like conditions to ripen efficiently. Whatever you do, make sure to avoid placing the fruits directly under sunlight, sometimes beside the window is okay, and sometimes it may be too hot, so you might want to cover them up with a soft, clean, linen cloth.
What to do if my avocado is too hard?
If you avocado is too hard, allow it to ripen naturally on the counter. The avocado is only hard because it has not fully ripened yet, in roughly 4 to 7 days’ time on the counter, the enzymes responsible for breaking down the hardness into softness and blandness into a nutty flavors would have already completed their work, and before you would be an avocado, beaming with radiance sourced primarily from its ripeness.
If 4 to 7 days seem like a really long stretch, you can try different tactics to speed up the process.
Read them above.
How to soften avocado after cutting
If only after you cut the avocado you realized it’s unripe, you can still ripen it, but bear in mind that the kind of cut you gave it would affect, greatly, the way that it ripeness and its final aesthetics.
If it’s a half cut, then rub the flesh on each side and the put them back together with the seed back in place. Wrap tightly with a plastic wrap and measure to cover every single area. Place on the door of the refrigerator and watch from time to time for ripeness.
If it’s cut into several different chunks, I’ll recommend you purpose it into recipe, or eat it like that. But if you’re determined to not loose even a single atom of your produce or to reap the after ripening reward, then go ahead and wrap tightly under a plastic wrap, making sure to cover everywhere and then place in the refrigerator. You should get some browning in as little as one or two days’ time which is totally fine.
Fruits placed unripe in the refrigerator usually never ripen as well as their counterparts left on the counter, especially when they have been cut or chopped into pieces.
A rock hard avocado that stubbornly refused to soften isn’t the end of the world, besides there are numerous ways that can you trick it to begin its natural ripening process. Among these methods include:
- Placing the avocado in a brown paper bag, storing in a warm area and then allowing it to sit overnight or for a few days.
- Placing the avocado in a brown paper bag but this time with banana or apple to cause it to ripen quicker.
- Burying the avocado under straw or uncooked rice to help trap ethylene and induce ripening.
Outside of these ways, there are also other approaches that work to soften avocados even more quickly, but these usually destroy the cells instead. These methods involve heat application up to 200F such as in the oven or microwave for 10 minutes. Avocados softened in this manner are usually never as flavorful as those ripened naturally, although they are still creamy to the touch.