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Food Trivia

Avocados: how to tell when they are ripe and how to hasten ripening



Speedy loves avocados. He splits the fruit open, scoops out and mash the flesh, adds powdered milk and he eats it that way. I don’t eat avocados unless they have been made into guacamole. Seriously. That’s why you don’t see recipes for avocado shake or avocado salad in my food blog. But give me a cup of guacamole and tortillas and I’ll finish them in no time.

Ripe avocado

Now, I’m not a fan of store-bought guacamole. I like to make guacamole from scratch. It’s really very easy to make. The hardest part is making sure that the avocados are perfectly ripe but not overripe. Unripe avocados are hard as rock and can’t be quickly chopped nor mashed. And they aren’t creamy at all so you won’t get that creamy salsa texture.

On the other hand, if the avocado is overripe, there will be visible root like patterns on the flesh and the flesh turns too mushy that, when mashed, it practically turns into gooey liquid.

So, how can I tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe to make my guacamole?

I don’t go by the color of the skin. Some avocados turn dark purple while still unripe; others remain green even when they reach the perfectly ripe stage. I go by touch of hand. I lightly squeeze the unopened avocado. If the flesh yields lightly, it is almost ripe. If it does not, it is unripe. If it feels soft, it is perfectly ripe. If it feels too soft, it is overripe.

In fruits stalls and groceries, perfectly ripe avocado is rarely sold. That’s because the shelf life is short and, a day later, the avocado will be overripe and can no longer be sold. Ergo, most avocados are sold while still unripe. The natural ripening process can take several days. What if you’re already itching for homemade guacamole? Here’s a trick I read on the web but still haven’t tried.

If Your Avocados are Not Ripe, Here’s How to Ripen Them

Place unripe avocados in a brown paper bag to ripen. This traps the ethylene gas they produce and helps them to ripen. A firm avocado placed in a paper bag will ripen at room temperature in about three to six days. As the fruit ripens, the skin color will darken.

How to Speed Up the Ripening of Your Avocados

Add a tomato, apple or banana to a paper bag in which you have placed an avocado. This will produce more ethylene gas and speed up the ripening process. It will usually only take one to three days to ripen.

Next time I can’t wait for my avocados to ripen, I will surely try that technique.

Recipes with avocado: