The Trick To Ripening Avocado Faster

Is there anything worse than the disappointment you feel when a guacamole craving hits and you realize that your fruit bowl is full of nothing but unripe avocados? You know that it can take up to seven long days for those rock-hard avocados to soften on their own, and you need your fix fast. Depending on how much time you have, there are a couple ways to make your guacamole dreams come true sooner than later. 

If you can stand to wait a two to three days, place your unripe avocados in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana. The ethylene gas from the fruit that gets trapped in the bag will trigger the ripening process in the avocados and make the whole process go a lot faster. 

Now, if you don't have two to three days to wait for ripe avocados, there is another ripening method to try, but let it be known that the Haas Avocado Board recommends the bag-ripening method only. In fact, they go so far as to state, "We do not recommend any other method of ripening," which honestly sounds a little ominous, but hey, you're feeling rebellious and you really want some guac.

In that case, Justin Chapple, the genius behind Food & Wine's Mad Genius Tips series, has an avocado-ripening hack that takes not days, but minutes. Chapple explained on Today that if you have dark but firm avocados, they're the prime candidates for oven-ripening (meaning really unripe green avocados don't stand a chance with this hack). Just wrap each avocado tightly in foil, and place them in a 200 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Similar to the bag-ripening method, the foil traps the ethylene gas and speeds up the ripening process. You're looking for the avocado to soften slightly but not warm, which, coincidentally, is why the avocado boards and commissions caution against other ripening methods— nobody wants cooked but still unripe avocado, so don't let them hang in the oven too long.

What if you cut into an avocado only to discover that it's nowhere near as ripe as you thought it was? Food52 recommends slicing it up and putting it in a quick two-hour pickling bath. They say adding hard avocado slices to a simple pickling brine transforms them into softer slices that actually taste avocado-y, and best of all, means no more wasted avocados.