This amazing guest post was written by Jeriann Watkins Ireland, a writer and wellness enthusiast. We encourage you to check out more from Jeriann at her website.
Avocados are probably my favorite fruit. I love putting avocado in my homemade sushi, fresh salsas, and even just eating it for breakfast with some toast or cottage cheese! Add a few seasonings to an avocado and it’s the tastiest treat!
But avocados, like many fruits, can be inconvenient. They need to have to be the perfect amount of ripeness in order to be enjoyable. If you’re eating your avocado immediately after you buy it, picking out a ripe avocado is pretty easy. But if you’re shopping a few days in advance, it can be hard to pick an avocado that will be ready in time, but won’t be mushy and brown.
Fortunately, there are some shortcuts to make fruit ripen faster. Below are five tricks you can use the night before you need to ripen some under-ripe fruit for a morning protein shake or a tasty dessert. These tips work best for fruits like bananas, peaches, mangoes, avocados, and tomatoes. They won’t work for citrus, or for fruits that stop ripening after they’re picked.
Give it the Window Treatment
When I buy an under ripe avocado, I put it in the windowsill where it will get direct sunlight. The heat and sunlight speed up the ripening process. This is best the day before you need to use the fruit, as too much time will cause overripe-ness. I use this for avocados that I’m going to mash up into guacamole, since it’s not a big deal if they’re a little mushier than usual.
Fruit ripens faster as it is exposed to and releases ethylene, which is a gas. All ripening fruit releases ethylene, but bananas produce the most. If you’re trying to prevent produce from ripening too quickly, keep it away from your bananas, cantaloupe, and other tropical fruits and melons. If on the other hand, you realize your bananas are becoming overripe, use them quickly in a banana bread or make some quick frozen yogurt!
Keeping bunches of bananas together and putting your unripe produce with them will speed up the ripening process. Better yet, keep your to-be-ripened fruit and bananas in a closed space where the gas is contained. This leads us to….
Use the Paper Bag Method
Keeping your fruit in a paper bag keeps ethylene trapped in a small space, resulting in more exposure for your fruit. This works particularly well with tropical fruits like bananas and mangos. You can also add flour to your bag to soak up extra moisture, reducing the chances that your fruit will mold or become easily bruised.
Give it a Rice Bath
Uncooked rice not only soaks up moisture, but it also effectively traps ethylene gas. Popcorn kernels work the same way. Simply place your fruit in a bowl and make sure it’s completely covered in rice. Cover the container to trap more ethylene gas. Rice can be used multiple times for ripening fruit and is still perfectly suitable for cooking as long as the fruit does not get overripe and mushy, contaminating the grains.
Tuck it in
Peaches are so easily bruised that they take special care to keep safe and tasty. If you need ripe peaches in a pinch, wrap them in a soft linen cloth. Make sure that you use something breathable to allow moisture to escape. The cloth should soak up a lot of the moisture and will trap enough ethylene to speed up the ripening process.
As you can see, the most effective method of ripening fruit is to increase the amount of ethylene gas it is exposed to. This means it’s important to pay attention to what you store together, to both maximize ripening and prevent over ripening. Do you have any tricks for ripening fruit faster? Share in the comments!