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The Fastest Way To Ripen an Avocado, Says Dietitian

When you have your heart set on avocado toast, try this easy hack to accelerate the ripening process.

There is nothing quite like biting into a creamy avocado when it is added to salad, eggs, or our beloved avocado toast. But as wonderful as it is to enjoy this fruit, it can be incredibly frustrating to want—no, need—your avocado fix ASAP, but the one you have on hand is hard as a rock and not ready to be cut.

If your avocados need to speed along their ripening process, you can play the waiting game until your fruit is soft enough to be enjoyed. But who has time for that? Thankfully, there is a surefire way to help move things along in the avocado ripening department if your avocado isn't quite ready to be eaten, but you are ready to eat it.

How do avocados ripen?

avocados grocery store

Unlike many other fruits that are grown on trees, avocados do not ripen until they are harvested. Underripe avocados typically still maintain a light or bright green exterior post-harvesting, and are also quite firm when you give them a squeeze.

A tell-tale sign that your avocados are ripe and ready to be enjoyed is when their skin is a darker green. Also, avocados soften as they ripen. So, when you place the avocado in the palm of your hand and give it a little squeeze, the avocado yields to firm, gentle pressure without being mushy. If your avocado's exterior is very dark and the fruit feels very mushy after giving it a squeeze, it might be on the path to overripening. In this case, grab your knife and get to work straight away! Enjoy your avocado while you still can because it's still deliciously ripe, and take advantage of its lingering quality before it soon takes a turn and goes bad.

How do you quickly ripen an avocado?

Understandably, if you have your heart set on eating an avocado and your fruit is not ripe enough to eat, you've probably wondered about possible ways you can speed up the ripening process to align with your timeline. You'll be pleased to know that there is a way to ripen your avocado when time is of the essence. To find out more about the best approach to speed up the avocado ripening process, we spoke to Amanda Izquierdo, MPH, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian who also works for the Hass Avocado Board, supporting initiatives like its science-based food and wellness education program, Love One Today.

"The fastest and most simple way to ripen an avocado is to place an unripe avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days until it's ripe," explains Izquierdo. An unexpected hack, she elaborates more on how this tactic works and why it's so effective in terms of ripening your avocados on an accelerated timeline.

"This technique works because of a plant hormone called ethylene, which occurs naturally in fruits like apples and bananas," she adds. "Ethylene triggers the ripening process, and when combined in a brown paper bag, the ethylene gases produced by these fruits become trapped and cause the fruits to ripen faster together."

So, speeding up the avocado ripening process doesn't take any fancy contraptions or complicated recipes. The simple act of placing your fruit in a paper bag with an apple or a banana is all you need to do.

Now, having an underripe avocado can't stop you from enjoying your favorite avocado recipes, thanks to this easy breezy hack!

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren