The Oven Hack To Speed-Ripen An Avocado

When you need a couple of ripe avocados in a pinch to whip up your favorite halftime crave-worthy guacamole to go along with those tortilla chips, the oven can be your best friend. Just preheat your appliance to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, wrap your unripened avocados in tin foil, and put them on a sheet pan in the oven for between 10 and 20 minutes, and watch them transform from hard as rock to soft like butter. What's the science behind this trick?

When an avocado begins to ripen, it gives off a gaseous hormone called ethylene. The more of this gas it is surrounded by, the quicker it ripens. The foil in this process traps the ethylene and as it builds up, it softens the avocado as if it were ripe. A ripe avocado is going to be firm to the touch with a little give when you press on it. On the outside, its appearance is quite dark with streaks of green dotting the skin and bumpy, while on the inside it will be green and creamy, and you can tap your knife into the pit and readily remove it.

This trick softens but doesn't ripen

How does this avocado shortcut measure up? While this hack is perfect when you are truly short on time and in need of soft avocado, it isn't necessarily perfect when it comes to texture or flavor. Unfortunately, heat can make an avocado's taste turn slightly bitter and that velvety smooth consistency tends to get lost when you use the oven. Not only that, the results can be inconsistent based on just how unripe or already ripe your fruit is to begin with.

However, to be fair, this trick is not actually ripening your avocado. Instead, it is softening it up so that it can be cut up, mashed, and eaten as if it were ripe, and it does accomplish that. If you are making a dish where the avocado is the star ingredient and forgot to plan ahead, you may be better off running out to the grocery store.