Avocado’s rich flavor and creaminess make it the ideal ingredient to mash into guacamole, spread on toast, or shred over taco bowls, just to name a few. Here’s the catch: ripe, ready-to-eat avocados are what give them their velvety feel.
However, they do have other applications. Underripe ones will instead have a rough texture and an undeveloped flavor. We’ll give you advice on how to identify an avocado that is just the right amount of ripeness and what to do with underripe avocados.
Choosing the right avocado
Choosing the proper avocado while making a purchase is essential to avoiding an underripe avocado. Squeeze the avocado gently to determine its ripeness. The fruit should just slightly yield and feel soft if it is ripe. Try another avocado if the first one is too firm. Naturally, if the avocado is really mushy, it has definitely gone too far and you should keep looking.
Try the following techniques to ripen an avocado if you are still unable to find one or if you already have one at home that is not quite ripe.
Use a banana and paper bag
If you have a little additional time, this method for ripening avocados is tried and true. You should take an avocado and a banana, put them in a brown paper bag, and then close the bag. You may also securely wrap the two fruits with a piece of newspaper if you don’t have a paper bag.
The banana releases ethylene gas, a plant hormone that, according to BMC Biology, accelerates the ripening process among other things. You may substitute an apple or tomato for a banana if you don’t have one because they both create the same kind of gas.
Check on your avocado occasionally, and gently squeeze it to determine whether it is ripe. A ripe avocado should result from this procedure in a couple of days.
Wrap your avocado with foil and bake
You can actually roast an avocado in the oven to get it ripe quickly if you need one right now. Wrap your avocado in foil and set it on a baking pan to do this. For 10 minutes, bake the wrapped avocado at 200° F.
Remember that while this method softens an avocado relatively rapidly, the delicate flavor profile will be muted and the taste will be slightly altered. However, this technique will give you a ripe, softened avocado in a hurry in a couple of minutes.
What if you cut an under-ripe avocado?
Don’t freak out if you split an avocado in half and discover it isn’t quite ripe. In fact, there is an easy solution that can quickly rescue the day.
Simply put the two separated avocado halves back together to form the whole avocado once again. Before assembling the halves, pour a little amount of lime or lemon juice over the exposed green avocado meat to help avoid browning.
According to California Avocados, much of the oxygen that has managed to squeeze its way between the halves will react with the ascorbic acid in the lemon or lime juice before it reaches the avocado itself.
Wrap in cling wrap and put in fridge
You only need to perform one more step if you’ve previously sliced an underripe avocado in half and put the two pieces back together. The avocado will then be covered with cling film and stored in the refrigerator.
The plastic cling wrap will add still another layer of protection between avocados and oxygen, preventing browning. Every day, check the avocado’s freshness by gently pressing on it, just like you would in a grocery shop.
Can I eat unripe avocado?
While you might or might not find the idea very attractive, you should be aware that eating underripe avocados is absolutely safe. Just that the texture will be less creamy and considerably firmer. However, it is advisable to be patient and wait until the fruit is somewhat more mature if you want to use avocado in a cuisine that depends on its soft texture.
Nevertheless, there are certain applications for underripe avocados. They are superior to their riper counterparts for stuffing and baking, avocado fries, garnishing, or grating or peeling.
How do I keep avocados from browning?
When you cut open an avocado and expose it to air, it will begin to brown whether it is ripe or underripe. You might try a couple different techniques to stop the browning. You might drizzle avocado with lemon or lime juice.
The slices can also be kept in water, brushed with oil, stored with an onion, or the exposed avocado flesh can be firmly wrapped in plastic cling wrap. All of these techniques function to prevent oxygen from reaching the exposed avocado, which would otherwise lead to its oxidation and eventual browing.
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When you unwrap or otherwise expose the chopped avocado, it’s likely that some browning may still occur, regardless of the method you pick.