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How to ripen avocados

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If the avocados you buy are as hard as tennis balls, then there are a number of ways to ripen them quickly. You can sometimes buy ‘ready-to’eat’ avocados but often these also need a day or so to ripen fully.

WHEN IS AN AVOCADO RIPE?
To check when an avocado is ripe, give it a press and if it gives easily but still feels firm it should be ready to eat. If it feels squishy, it is probably gone past its best and the flesh may be slightly discoloured, but it is still OK to use in smoothies. If it is rock hard, it needs a few days – see below for ways to speed up the ripening process. (Even when you buy ripened avocados at the supermarket, they are not always in perfect condition to eat so always check.)

HOW TO RIPEN AVOCADOS

– Leave the avocados in a bowl on a windowsill to ripen. If the sun is too strong, place them in a bowl on a kitchen table away from direct sunlight.

– Place the avocados in a brown paper bag. Place the bag somewhere you can see it or you may forget to check them every day. (Some people say that if you add an apple to the bag that it helps – we tested it but it didn’t have much effect.)

HOW TO ‘RIPEN’ AVOCADOS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY
– There is a tip doing the rounds on the internet that says that you can ‘ripen’ an avocado by baking it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour until it softens. It’s a bit daft because you are obviously not ripening it at all, you are just softening the texture of the flesh using heat. In fact, the avocado loses colour and texture and really only works in a smoothie. We don’t see the point. Eat something else instead (the world is full of good things to eat!) and wait for your avocados to ripen naturally. Or buy frozen avocados and keep them in the freezer and whizz them for a smoothie instead, they will contain more goodness.

HOW TO STOP AN AVOCADO RIPENING
– If you want to stop avocados from ripening, store them in the fridge. Take them out when you want them to start ripening.

HOW TO STOP AN AVOCADO TURNING BROWN
– Once you cut an avocado, rub it with lemon juice to stop it browning. The discolouration doesn’t affect the flavour so they will be fine to use in smoothies but they just don’t look very pleasant to eat in a salad.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CUT INTO AN AVOCADO THAT ISN’T RIPE
– If you cut into an avocado that isn’t ripe, rub the cut side with lemon juice and cover it with cling film, and leave it to ripen further outside of the fridge.

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