how to ripen avocados

March 13, 2011

How to ripen avocados

how to ripen avocados

Note: This is an old post from 2013!!!! Yes I have been blogging that long. Back when my blog was called suzyhomemaker. I found it hiding out in the dark pages of my blog and thought it needed to be highlighted again. 

Avocados seem to be the darling fruit probably of the decade. So many recipes and nutrition articles about them. So here is some info on avocados and how to ripen them.

Avocados are also known as alligator fruit because of their rough skin. They are grown in warm tropical climates like Southern California, Florida, Mexico and other southern climates. Growing up in southern California, I have eaten avocados since I was little. They were always around and in abundance.

Living in New Jersey has taught me much about how different the US can be. According to my friend Jenn, who has lived in this area pretty much her whole life, avocados are a new phenomenon here. So when I had mentioned that in order to ripen an avocado, you put it in a brown paper bag, she had never heard of that. In fact she asked another native PA resident who had also never heard of ripening an avocado in a brown paper bag.

So first comes picking the right avocado. Depending on when you are going to use the avocado, you might want it firm or soft. An avocado that is soft is ready to use, while a firm avocado might need a day or two.

Soft avocados: If you are planning on buying avocados for use the day of, or the next day you will want a soft avocado. A soft avocado is one that when pressed will give a little. Almost like the consistency of the palm of your hand, the meaty part where the bottom of the thumb is.

However you do not want to pick an avocado where when you press it, the skin collapses and it feels as though there was an air pocket under the skin. If there is an air pocket under the skin, this is prime breeding ground for mold. Many a time I have had an old avocado in my fridge and when cut open, white, fluffy, cloud-like masses filled the spaces. Not good.

Hard avocados: 
If you are planning ahead and want to use an avocado in a few days you will want to choose a hard avocado. A hard avocado is not yet ripe and still has a few days to go. You can store hard avocados in the fridge or simply on the counter. They will last longer in the fridge, but the taste tends to be more bland then when left on a counter.

Finally we come to the paper bag.

Let's say you have a party tomorrow where you want to serve chips and guacamole, but when you go to the store there are no ripe avocados available. This is where the paper bag comes in. You can speed up the ripening process by placing the avocados in a paper bag. The reason is that avocados give off ethylene gas. (Yes, for you scientists I did put a wikipedia link to ethylene gas) Ethylene gas is a ripening agent. It is an organic compound with the formula  C2H4. It is the simplest alkene, blah, blah, blah. 

Basically you put the avocados in the bag, they give off the gas, it gets trapped in the bag with the avocados, the avocados ripen quicker. 

If you need some recipes for using your avocados these should foot the bill: