Since most of my family members are big fans of avocados, I tend to buy them on at least every other trip to the market.
We slice them into salads and to top burgers. And they’re a great garnish for burrito bowls! Homemade guacamole is usually our dip of choice, especially if it’s used to fill deviled eggs for a fresh update.
We have even been known to cut one in half, sprinkle a teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt on top, and enjoy a tasty treat in the afternoon.
Avocados are even a great food to introduce to babies and toddlers. Soft, spoonable and portable, this fruit is a great first food.
When I head over to the produce section, I try to select a fruit of a fair size featuring the typical pear shape. I overlook any that have with bruises, obvious discoloration, or loose skin.
Sometimes, I’m forced choose specimens that will require a few days of ripening before we can enjoy them.
With a bunch of little ones clamoring for guacamole and other avocado-based dishes, I needed to find the fastest way to soften them up to an edible state.
How Long Until They’re Ready?
Hard examples are often green in color. They will be ready to eat in 3 to 6 days if kept at room temperature. Individual specimens that have a slight give to them will be ready to eat in about 2 days if kept at room temperature.
If the fruit yields to gentle pressure, it will be fully softened by the next day if kept at room temperature.
Ripe specimens yield easily to even the gentlest pressure. They will stay at this stage for 2 to 3 days. I usually look for fruit that is almost ready so that we can enjoy it in the coming days.
Speeding Up The Process
If the only ones available are very hard and you do not have days to wait, you can place them in a paper bag with a banana and/or an apple on your countertop. This will help speed up the ripening process.
Both bananas and apples produce ethylene gas. This gas encourages avocadoes to mature faster. If you try this technique, your fruit should be ripe within the next 24 to 48 hours.
On the other hand, if you find that all of the specimens at your local market are very ripe, you can place them in the refrigerator to help slow down the maturing process.
Remember, never place a hard specimen in the fridge because it will halt ripening and may even cause the fruit not to age properly, rendering it inedible.
Cool temperatures slow down the maturing process and room temperatures facilitate the softening of the fruit.
For further reading, take a look at Sarah’s tips on storing this magnificent fruit.
Avocado Recipe Ideas
Once you get your fruit to nice level of softeness, you probably want to make something with it! Here are three of our favorite recipes:
Creamy Chilled Avocado Coconut Soup
This lucious bowl of goodness is the perfect light lunch on a hot summer’s day. Besides our favorite green fruit, this blended soup also containts onion, chicken stock, cucumber, fresh parsley, and a bit of lemon juice.
Do you love your guac and love lobster? If so, they gotta be excellent together right? Bet you’re saying to yourself, “Self, it takes too long to cook lobster!” Never fear, Lauren over at Hunger | Thirst | Play has some time saving tips to have this dish prepared in a jiffy.
Avocado Fries + Yogurt Sauce
Sometimes you just want comfort food. Fried comfort food. And that’s where these sliced, diced, and fried avocado wedges come in! But they don’t have to be too unhealthy. Throw away that ranch dressing and slather them in the included yogurt sauce.
Get the recipe over at our sister site, Food Loves Writing.
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Uncredited photos via Shutterstock.
About Jennifer Swartvagher
Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.