In a perfect world, your cakes would always rise in the oven, every baked pasta dish would be better than the last, and hard avocados would become perfectly ripe when you pick them up. However, that's just not the world we live in. Perfectly ripe avocados aren't out of reach, though, with these little hacks on how to quickly ripen an avocado in your own kitchen.
There are two methods that I use most often when I'm turning unripe avocados into smooth, buttery avocado fruit.
1. The Paper Bag Method
Whenever I buy rock-hard avocados at the store, I immediately place them in a brown paper bag with an apple or a banana when I get home. Because I always have one of those two fruits on hand, this tip takes about five seconds when you're unloading groceries and is crucial for the success of the second method. So why does this work?
Ethylene gas is a natural plant hormone that forces the ripening of fruit. To ripen an avocado quickly, the foolproof method is to seal the brown paper closed and let the ethylene from the apple or banana combine with the avocado's natural ethylene to encourage a quick ripening process.
Keeping the bag at room temperature is key because it promotes the fastest release of ethylene. This works well for rock-hard avocados, and you'll find that in two to three days, your fruit will be perfectly ripe and soft, without being mushy.
So yes, that method is foolproof for perfect avocado toast in two or three days, but if you need a faster ripening method?
2. The Oven Method
I want to preface this method by saying that it will not work quickly for hard avocados. This method is preferred for avocados that are just soft enough that your fingers leave a very light indent in the skin of the avocado when you press it and will take about 30 minutes. If you want to see what happens when you try to use the oven with rock-hard avocados, Kelli Foster from The Kitchn wrote a fantastic article detailing her (sometimes frustrating ) experience. Taking a cue from her time markers, I began to test my own time limits.
So how does this work? Wrap an avocado in aluminum foil and place it in a baking dish. I prefer one avocado at a time, but have been known to ripen quickly two or three at once in a large baking dish. Cover the baking dish in aluminum foil with the dull side down. Set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and place the baking dish inside.
The original hack tip recommends waiting until your oven is preheated before placing it inside, but I've found that bringing the avocado to temperature slowly and steadily helps to ripen it fully. When you place your avocado in the oven, set a timer for 20 minutes. Typically, this takes about 30 minutes in the oven, but I have checked the oven at 20 minutes and found it to be perfect. It all depends on the ripeness you desire.
If you're dealing with a rock-hard avocado, it will take between 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes in the oven, depending on the feel of it. So is the oven method foolproof? No way, but it works well with the paper bag method. So enjoy your ripening avocados and let us know how long it takes your oven to ripen those little green gems packed with health benefits.