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All About Avocados

The avocado has quickly gained popularity in the culinary community due to its rich consistency and versatile flavor. No matter how you doctor your dishes and dips, this creamy and nutrient-dense fruit plays a defining role in the fate of your food. Avocados can take on an odd texture and taste if not properly selected and ripened. It’s important to pay attention to your pick and understand the maturing methods to make the most of your avo-based meal.

How Do Avocados Ripen?

Unlike most fruits, avocados don’t ripen on the tree. They are picked and then shipped when they are still green and hard. They begin to ripen after several days at room temperature. When at the store, gravitate toward avocados that have a slight give all around. They shouldn’t have any soft spots, as these are typically bruises. Once you take your grocery haul home, the avocados should be ready in about two days.

A nifty way of telling if an avocado is ripe is to nudge off the small nub of stem at the top. If it doesn’t come off easily, it’s underripe. If it detaches easily, and the flesh below is greenish-yellow, the avocado is ripe. If the flesh has browned, the avocado is overripe.

Can You Speed up the Schedule?

If you’re in a pinch, you can speed up the ripening by putting your avocados in a paper bag with an apple or a banana, and fold the top closed. These fruits give off ethylene gas, which can push the ripening process forward. Never put these fruits in the microwave to ripen them, as it may make them softer, but it won’t help develop their buttery flavor.

What Should You Do When They Reach Ripeness?

Do you ever feel like you’re in a race against time when you have ripe avocados? If you’re not ready to use them right away, you can refrigerate avocados at their peak ripeness, and they’ll stay fresh for up to three days.

If your avocados overripen, they’re not a lost cause. While their brown spots might darken the color of your dips, they’re still safe to snack on and enjoy. If they become too soft, you can still use them in smoothies or as a substitute for butter in brownies for additional richness. From guacamole to baked goods, the avocado is the fruit that keeps on giving.