Kitchen Hack: Quickly Ripen Avocados

SharafMaksumov/ iStock / Getty Images Plus
SharafMaksumov/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Have you ever needed an avocado for a meal, yet it is not ripe enough to eat?

This happens to me frequently. Since most avocados are sold in stores at varying degrees of ripeness, it is helpful to know how you can speed up the ripening process at home. The simple solution can be found with a banana and a brown paper bag.

Since both avocados and unripe bananas release a naturally occurring plant hormone called ethylene gas that acts as a ripening agent, putting both of these unripe types of produce in a bag together will actually trap the gas in the bag and speed up the ripening process. This is a completely natural way to ripen your avocado and in no way diminishes its nutrient content.

Follow these three easy steps to quickly ripen avocados:

  1. Place an unripe avocado and under-ripe banana in a brown paper bag.
  2. Place brown paper bag on your counter top.
  3. Open your brown paper bag in 24-48 hours and enjoy your ripe avocado!

More tips:

  • You must use an unripe banana because ripe bananas are gas-sensitive and won’t have the same effect.
  • This same strategy can work with other gas releasers including apples, apricots, kiwi, plums, figs and cantaloupe. Just be sure to add an under-ripe banana to the brown paper bag and store these particular fruits in the refrigerator while they ripen.
  • Check out the related infographic for more information on produce and ethylene gas.
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Lori Zanini, RD, CDE
Lori Zanini is the creator of For The Love of Diabetes, a fast-growing online diabetes management program. She is the author of the best-selling book, "Eat What You Love Diabetes Cookbook" (Sonoma Press, November 2016) and a past National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the nutrition expert & dietitian for Tone It Up,, and is regularly featured in various media outlets. She is based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and very busy toddler.