If you’re looking to make a delicious guacamole or avocado toast, the first step is reaching for those avocados you just bought. Nothing makes your heart sink like finding out the avocados you have on hand aren’t ripe!
Avocados are notoriously tricky. At one moment, they’re hard as rocks; the next, they’re squishy and rotten. If you want to ripen them quickly, here is an easy way to ensure that you’ll have perfect avocados ready for your next meal.
First, you will want to ensure that the avocado is ready to undergo this quick ripening process by prepping the fruit accordingly.
First, pierce the skin of the avocado with a fork multiple times all over its surface. This will ensure that heat from the microwave is able to penetrate the thick skin. Without these ventilation holes, you run the risk of your avocado bursting.
Next, cut the fruit in half and carefully remove the pit. Either throw it away or set it aside to grow your very own avocado tree!
After this, you want to wrap your avocado up in plastic wrap. Make sure that this is a nice, loose wrap. If you bind it up too tight, there might be too much pressure, and the fruit could burst.
What You Need
This recipe does not call for any fancy equipment. All you need is a fork, a microwave, and some microwave-safe plastic wrap. If you do not have plastic wrap or are worried about microwave safety, try covering the avocado with a microwave-safe dish instead.
How to Ripen an Avocado in the Microwave
The process itself is very straightforward. In just a few steps, you could be on your way to a ripe avocado to enhance your meal.
- After completing the preparations outlined above, you can put your avocado in the microwave. Make sure to place it flesh-side up for even heat distribution.
- Be sure to adjust your microwave setting. Look up what kind of wattage your microwave has to make sure that you don’t over or undercook the avocado meat. Any microwave that operates at thousand watts should be set to a lower setting; on the other hand, a microwave with something like 700 watts can be set to a medium setting.
- Now, you can begin the actual microwave process. Be sure to check in periodically to make sure you are not overcooking your fruit. Cycles of approximately 20 seconds will allow you to check in on the ripening progress while still giving it time to cook. You can even use a fork or another utensil to test its softness in between cycles.
- Repeat step 3 until you achieve the desired consistency with your avocado. Be sure to rotate and turn the fruit regularly to ensure even heat distribution.
Much of the success of this recipe will be decided by the details. Use these notes carefully to avoid any mishaps.
- There are many effective plastic wrap alternatives. Try covering the avocado with an inverted, microwave-safe bowl, or use eco-friendly parchment paper. In fact, please be very careful with your use of plastic wrap as some are not heat-safe and could melt.
- Removing the pit is crucial as it ensures that the avocado will heat evenly. Leaving the seed in means the flesh that cradles the pit won’t heat up as much as the flesh on the outside of the fruit.
- If you have time and wish to ripen the avocado the old-fashioned way, wrap it in paper or cloth, and stay away from plastic wrap. Plastic wrap traps the fruit’s skin and doesn’t allow oxygen to enter through the natural oxidation process.
- Heat avocados separately so that the microwave doesn’t overcrowd.
Several alternative methods may be used to ripen an avocado in the microwave. While most of these methods are slower, it’s important to note that the slower the ripening process, the less likely you are to experience textural or taste differences in your avocados.
While the microwave is quick and effective, it risks changing how your meal tastes. It also runs the risk of having a chunky or nutty sort of texture to the avocado. Some of these alternative methods will take longer but will allow for a better end result.
The Natural Method
First, there is the natural method, where you simply leave an avocado on the counter until it softens up. There are also ways to wrap the fruit so that it softens a little quicker.
For instance, you could use a paper bag, a cloth, beeswax wrap, parchment, or even a reusable container to help speed up the ripening process. This can be especially helpful if you live in a particularly dry or cold climate. A warm and humid environment is ideal for ripening fruit.
Another method would be to use the oven. Wrap the avocado and aluminum foil and bake at 200° Fahrenheit (about 93° Celcius).
- Be sure to check your avocado every five minutes or so to make sure that it’s still safe. Ten minutes should be enough to soften the fruit.
- Place your fruit on a baking tray to make sure it doesn’t roll off the oven rack.
- When the avocado reaches your desired consistency, pull it out, unwrap it, and let it cool for a little while. An hour or so will allow the avocado to settle.
- After this, your avocado should be softer, but be aware that, once again, the taste or texture could still be compromised. That’s the only downfall of attempting to complete the ripening process so quickly.
How to Ripen Precut Avocados
If your avocados are pre-cut, you can use many of the same methods. If you choose to leave them out, put them in a container with a lid to deter bugs, or cover them in another way to ensure they can ripen through oxidation. Again, do not use plastic wrap for this process.
Remember to go low and slow if you wish to ripen the avocado in the microwave. This means setting your settings low and checking in frequently. Avocados that are already cut may soften faster than whole ones.
How to Store Ripe Avocados
If you’re not going to eat your avocado right away, go ahead and place it in the refrigerator. This will keep the fruit in its current state for two to three days before the ripening process takes hold again. Put them in an airtight container or wrap them up to keep them fresh.
Another helpful tip is to spray your avocado with some lemon juice. This will help keep it fresh longer. It will also give it some lemony flavor, which could be a great addition to salad, toast, or another dish that could use a lemony avocado kick!
How to Tell if It’s Ripe
A simple test for ripeness is to look at the indentation of the stem. If you remove this little “stem button,” the color you see underneath can be very telling.
You should look out for three distinct colors that can help you determine how ripe your avocado is.
- A very light green or yellow color indicates that the avocado is not ripe. If the avocado is very hard, that’s another sign the fruit isn’t ready yet.
- A medium green or slightly brownish green means it is ripe and ready to eat. The avocado should feel firm and indent slightly when squeezed.
- A dark brown or black color indicates that the avocado is overripe and probably shouldn’t be consumed. If the avocado is very squishy, you’ll know it’s time to toss it in the compost bucket.
Could You Still Eat an Unripe Avocado?
Technically, yes! It simply will be very hard, and it won’t taste very good. It will be dense and chewy rather than soft and buttery.
To avoid the disappointment of biting into an unripe fruit, follow these steps to ripen an avocado in the microwave. It’s a delicate balance but entirely achievable for a delightful treat.
The best thing that you can do is plan your meals in advance. This way, you can make sure that you give your avocado an appropriate amount of time to ripen before you need to use it in a meal.
While you can ripen an avocado in the microwave, you should also know that you have options to have an avocado ready at any time. Be sure to get a head start and start ripening your avocados now – or, better yet, try to purchase fruits that are already ripe!