Avocados are one of the most versatile fruits that can be used in a plethora of dishes. Whether it’s mashed into a guacamole or sliced and added to a salad, avocados bring a unique flavor to any meal. However, the biggest challenge that comes with avocados is their short lifespan. Once cut, avocados tend to turn brown and hard, making them inedible. But fear not, we have compiled some simple tips and tricks on how to revive hard avocados that will ensure you never have to waste an avocado again!
Understanding Why Avocados Turn Hard
Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why an avocado turns hard in the first place. The primary reason behind this is the enzyme present in the fruit that causes it to oxidize upon exposure to air. As a result, the flesh of the avocado turns brown and becomes hard, making it unpalatable. Other factors that contribute to the hardness of avocados include overripe fruit, exposure to extreme temperatures, and a lack of moisture.
Reviving Hard Avocados: Simple Tips & Tricks
1. Use Lemon Juice
Squeezing a lemon over the cut surface of an avocado can help prevent the fruit’s oxidation and slow down the browning process. The citric acid in the lemon helps inhibit the enzyme that causes the fruit to turn brown, thus keeping the avocado fresh and soft for longer. Simply cut a lemon in half and rub it over the cut surface of the avocado, ensuring you cover every part of the flesh.
2. Place the Avocado in a Paper Bag
Another easy way to revive hard avocados is to store them in a paper bag. By doing this, you create a warm, humid environment that allows the fruit to ripen and soften naturally. Simply place the avocado in a paper bag, preferably with a ripe banana or apple, and leave it at room temperature for up to 24-48 hours. The ethylene gas released by the banana or apple will speed up the ripening process, resulting in a soft and delicious avocado.
3. Use a Microwave
If you’re in a time crunch, you can also use a microwave to soften hard avocados. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and wrap each half of the avocado in a wet paper towel. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the avocado is soft to the touch. Be sure to keep a close eye on the avocado as over-microwaving can cause it to become mushy.
4. Bake the Avocado
If you’re feeling experimental, try baking the avocado in the oven to soften it. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F), cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and brush it with a light coating of olive oil. Place the avocado halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and tender to the touch. This method also brings out a nutty flavor in the avocado that pairs perfectly with a variety of dishes.
5. Use Plastic Wrap
An easy and effective way to revive hard avocados is by wrapping them in plastic wrap. This technique works by minimizing the fruit’s exposure to air, which slows down the oxidation process that causes the avocado to turn hard. Simply wrap the avocado tightly in plastic wrap, ensuring no air can get inside, and leave it at room temperature for a few hours. After some time, the avocado will have softened up and can be used in your favorite recipes.
Tips to Prevent Avocados from Turning Hard
1. Store Avocados in the Right Environment
The key to preventing avocados from turning hard is storing them in the right environment. Avocados thrive in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. The ideal temperature range for storing avocados is between 4-7°C (39-45°F). If you’re storing avocados that are already ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for an additional 2-3 days.
2. Use a Plastic Bag
Storing avocados in a plastic bag can also help prevent them from turning hard. Simply place the avocado, preferably unripe, in a plastic bag and fold the top, creating a seal. Be sure to poke a few holes in the bag to allow for some airflow, as complete lack of ventilation can cause the fruit to over-ripen and spoil.
3. Cut Avocados Just Before Use
To avoid the problem altogether, it’s better to cut the avocado just before you’re ready to use it. The longer the cut avocado is left out, the more it will oxidize and harden. If you need to cut an avocado in advance, sprinkle some lemon juice over the flesh and wrap it in plastic wrap, as mentioned earlier.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q. How can I tell if an avocado is still good to eat?
- A. To check if an avocado is still fresh, gently press the fruit. If it gives in slightly and springs back, it’s still good to eat. However, if it feels too soft or mushy, it’s likely that the fruit is overripe or spoiled.
- Q. Can I freeze ripe avocados to use later?
- A. Yes, you can freeze ripe avocados to use later. Simply cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh. Mash the flesh with some lemon juice and freeze the pulp in an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen avocados can be stored for up to six months.
- Q. Can I still eat an avocado that has turned brown and hard?
- A. While the appearance of a brown and hard avocado may be unappetizing, there’s no harm in eating it. The fruit is still safe to eat as long as it doesn’t give off a foul odor or taste sour.
Reviving a hard avocado is a simple process that only requires a few basic ingredients and techniques. Whether it’s using lemon juice, baking, or microwaving, these tips and tricks can help soften any avocado to make it edible again. By storing the fruit in the right conditions, you can further prevent avocados from turning hard in the first place, ensuring that they remain fresh and flavorful for longer.
- “How to Refurbish an Overripe Avocado.” Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports, 9 July 2018, www.consumerreports.org/fruit/how-to-refurbish-an-overripe-avocado/.
- “How to Store Avocados.” The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC, 19 June 2019, www.thekitchn.com/the-best-way-to-store-an-avocado-why-its-better-with-the-pit-122196.