Expert Tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- Signs an avocado is ripe (or overripe): Hass avocados (grown in California) have a pebbly skin that goes from green to black as it ripens. Choose fruits with very dark green (or black) skins, that feel heavy and do not have softer, flattened spots. Florida avocados have shiny medium-green skin that doesn’t change color as it ripens. If it yields to gentle pressure, it’s ready to slice. If the avocado has a small dent after pressing, it’s too soft to slice but just right for mashing. If there is a large dent after pressing, it is overripe and the flesh is spoiled.
- Think you’ve got a good one? Try flicking the stem off of the top. If you see brown, put it down. Green and bright? It’s all right.
How to Ripen Avocados Super Quickly
Here’s a sneaky technique to use if your avocado is not quite ripe but not hard, either. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and wrap each half in microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let it cool until easy to handle, then run the wrapped halves under cold water to stop the cooking. Unwrap and use as normal, slicing on sandwiches or salads, or using for guacamole and other dips.
How to Ripen Avocados in a Bag
If your avocado is rock hard, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Place the avocado in a paper bag with an apple. Poke the bag with a toothpick in several spots and leave at room temperature. The avocado should be ripe in 1 to 3 days.
Why ripen in a bag? Apples, kiwifruit and avocados all produce natural ethylene gas, which jumpstarts ripening. A paper bag holds in the ethylene and helps the avocado ripen in a hurry.