You Should Never Buy Pre-Ripened Avocados. Here's Why

The idea of picking fresh avocados from a store display is a continuing consumer dream. Last month, Fresh Produce Journal published a snippet on Cultipata, a new avocado venture set up by the Barcelona-based Cultivar in its attempt to consolidate its position as the source of these ready-to-eat avocados. Despite the differences between Spanish and American customers, Cultivar's marketing director, Sandra Sitjar, cited familiar reasons for this push: "We have proven over time that marketing avocados at their optimum point of ripeness boosts consumption by giving people a more satisfactory eating experience." As an avocado ripener explained to The Packer, retail sales increase when the fruit is marketed as pre-ripened because "If it"s not ready to eat, it's a completely different product."

Timing the procurement of perfectly ripe avocados proves more difficult in practice because, as SFGate writes, avocados, unlike other fruit, don't ripen on the branch but after being picked. Picked too early, they remain inedible and rubbery but too late, they develop a dry texture. An unfortunate part of the practice of pre-ripening is that the ripeness of the fruit can be dodgy. In a piece for The Guardian, Katy Salter repeatedly discovered that all the "ripe and ready" avocados offered by her store were, in fact, not yet ripe. When she asked Twitter users about this, they responded with similar anecdotes. Unfortunately, you can pay the price of a pre-ripened avocado for an unripened one.

Picking the best option

The more we pay for pre-ripened avocados that are either not yet ripe or will spoil quickly adds up. Yet, we don't want to stop buying our avocados. The solution to this issue appears in both The Guardian's piece as well as a guide to avocado buying given by Epicurious: bite the bullet and buy the avocados that are not marketed as pre-ripened. The benefits of this are twofold. First, you save money because stores charge less for hard avocados. After all, there is no reason to pay more for what is essentially the same. Second, you have more wriggle room to use your newly bought avocado than the shorter time span afforded at peak ripeness.

After buying your pack of unripe avocados, either leave them out on a tabletop for a day or two or, as Katy Salter does, store them in a brown paper bag with bananas, the ethylene gas of which will help ripen the rock-hard fruit. Once ripe, place the avocado into the refrigerator as the chill will keep it from ripening any further. If you need your avocado immediately, you can follow Delish's advice of wrapping the avocado in a tinfoil blanket, placing it on a baking sheet, and cooking it in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit or longer depending on how unripe the fruit is. There really is no reason to pay the extra money for a pre-ripened avocado.