There is nothing more annoying than rock hard avocados when you get a craving for creamy avocado on toast. I’m going to be straight with you – this post is not to give you a tip for instantly ripe avocados. Trust me, I’ve tried microwaving an avocado to ripen it quickly and it was a complete failure and a waste of what could have been perfect avocado on toast.
But what I will share with you is how to speed up ripening within a day or so. And it has to do with a natural gas called ethylene.
Many types of fruit and vegetables produce this hormone in the form of an odourless and tasteless gas as part of the ripening process. Some fruits and vegetables produce ethylene while others are sensitive to it.
Storing ethylene-producing foods in close proximity to ethylene-sensitive foods, especially in a confined space (like a bag or drawer), will cause the foods to ripen faster. If you’ve ever wondered why your kale, spinach or broccoli turned yellow quickly and you had stored it in the fridge crisper drawer, it is likely that it was exposed to too much ethylene, causing it to spoil.
Ethylene-sensitive produce such as leafy greens, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, eggplant, kiwi fruit, capsicum and carrots should be stored separately to ethylene-producing foods.
Avocados, like many other fruits (e.g. apples, bananas, pears, blueberries, grapes, papaya, pineapple, plums, tomatoes and watermelon), produce ethylene. Placing an unripe avocado in a paper bag with one of these fruits will speed up the ripening process due to the trapped gas creating a perfect ripening environment inside the bag. Leave the bag on the kitchen bench and check the softness and the stem of your avocado each day until it is ready to eat (Note: the stem should be easy to remove and bright green underneath).