Avocados are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, yet many people avoid buying them for one reason – they keep on selecting underripe or overripe avocados.
While buying overripe avocado leaves you with no other option than to just throw it away, underripe avocado can be ripened and used in its best shape. In fact, they don’t ripen on the tree. The ripening or softening process occurs after they have been harvested.
So, nothing to worry about if you buy underripe or green avocados. Instead of waiting for them to ripen on their own, you can do a few things to speed up the process and enjoy them earlier.
Stages of a Ripe Avocado
Stage 1 – Bright Green Avocados Hard to The Touch
These are still underripe and not ready to eat as they are waxy, hard, and without any flavor. You need to leave them on the counter for 4 to 7 days until they are good to eat.
Stage 2 – Dark Green or Black Avocados with Flecks of Green
These are the perfectly ripe avocados you should pick from a grocery store if you plan to use them right away. They are firm with a slight flex when you squeeze them. Their flesh is bright green and creamy, and you can pull it away easily from the pit.
Stage 3 – Black Avocados with Spotted and Wrinkled Skin
These are overripe avocados with a bitter taste. They have dry, mottled skin, brown spots on the flesh and are mushy to the touch. Avoid buying them as you can’t use them in any way.
How to Know If Avocados Are Ripe
There are a few things you can do to help you understand if an avocado is ripe:
- Check under the nubby stem – if it’s green and the nubby stem comes off easily, it’s ripe, but if it’s brown once you pluck it off, it’s not and you better leave it.
- Check the stem – if it won’t budge, the avocado is underripe.
- Pay attention to the skin color – bright green avocado is underripe, dark avocado with flecks of green is ripe, and black avocado with spotted and wrinkled skin is overripe.
- Squeeze it gently – if it’s a bit soft, the avocado is ripe. However, you don’t want it to be too soft.
How To Ripen Avocados in 24 Hours
Now that you know how to check if your avocados are ripe, it’s time to learn how to ripen them in case they are still underripe.
Leaving them on the counter for a couple of days is the easiest way to let them ripen naturally. Bright green avocados usually take three to five days to ripen, while dark avocados ripen more quickly.
Here’s what to do to make your avocados ripe and ready to eat:
- Place your avocados in a bowl with a banana or apple and let them stay on the counter for a few days. Apples, bananas, avocados, and kiwi release ethylene gas which softens them when placed next to a hard fruit. The way this natural gas ripens the fruit naturally is by breaking down the internal cell walls and converting starches to sugar.
- Place it in a paper bag with one or two bananas and let it stay for up to two days. In this way, the ethylene gas released from the fruit will concentrate around it while allowing it to breathe. Don’t use plastic bags for this method. Instead of bananas, you can use melons, stone fruits, etc.
- Store your ripe avocado in the fridge. In this way, you’ll slow down the ripening process and be able to eat your ripe avocado a few days later. Ripe, uncut avocados can stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Put it in the microwave. Although this is not the best method to ripen your avocados, it’s still something you can do if you’re in a hurry. Cut them in half and remove the pit before wrapping each avocado half in plastic wrap. Put them in the microwave on high for 2 minutes and then run them under cold water immediately. The heat will soften them quickly, and the cold water will stop them from cooking.
- Put them in the oven. Once again, this is not the perfect way to ripen your avocados, but thanks to the heat from the oven you can use your avocado more quickly. Wrap it in foil and put it in the oven at 200°F for ten to thirty minutes. The time depends on the hardness of the avocado. The harder it is, the longer it should stay in the oven.
Once again, ripening your avocados in the oven and microwave is not recommended, unless you are in a hurry. The heat may soften its flesh without ripening it properly. The ripening process is best when it occurs naturally.
How to Save Halved Avocados?
Don’t leave them on the counter as they will get overripe in a matter of hours and you’ll end up throwing them in the trash. Instead, wrap them in the skin with the pit, facing the halves together and wrap tightly using a plastic wrap. Store them in the fridge for up to two days.
Wrapping them in this way will keep any air from seeping in which can oxidize the avocado and discolor it. If you notice it does get slightly discolored, just slice away that part and use the green flesh underneath.
You no longer have to wonder what to do with your hard and green avocados. With our simple tips, you can hopefully ripen your avocados and enjoy them in many ways, as well as pick the perfectly ripe avocado if you plan to eat it right away.
And if you have cut avocados, there’s a way to save them and use them a day or two later. Storing them in the right way will prevent them from overripening and discoloring.
We hope these tips will encourage you to use more avocado in your diet as these are extremely nutritious and healthy. If you need to know what avocados taste like, we have a post on that too.