Things You'll Need
Brown paper bag
Apple or banana
Avocados ship and store well because they ripen after picking, not on the tree. This same principle makes it challenging to find a ripe avocado. Left alone, avocados ripen at room temperature in four to five days. Soften avocados faster at home with a simple trick that uses fruit's natural properties to speed ripening, or fake it with a simple hack that will turn the avocado soft enough to eat in under five minutes.
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Place your avocados in a brown paper bag.
Add either an apple or a banana piece to the bag and fold the lip of the bag to seal it. These fruits contain ethylene gas, which helps to start the ripening process. Sealing the bag keeps the ethylene gas inside with the avocados.
Place the sealed brown bag on a kitchen counter or other level surface. Check the avocados once a day. They should become soft within one to three days, and can be removed from the bag and used right away or stored in the refrigerator. Avocados are soft enough to use when the fruit yields to a light squeeze.
If you do not have a few days, you can try this trick from "Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks: 5,000 Ingenious Kitchen Hints, Secrets, Shortcuts, and Solutions" authors David Joachim and Andrew Schloss to soften an avocado. Pierce the skin with a fork several times and place your avocado in the microwave. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Check the fruit for softness. If it is not soft, microwave in 30-second blasts for up to one minute more. This par-cooks the avocado so it becomes soft enough for guacamole, but does not ripen it.
When testing your avocados for ripeness, squeeze gently. A firm squeeze may cause bruising.