I seem to be cursed with the inability to find perfectly ripe avocados at the grocery store. While I think we can all agree that avocados make everything better, nothing is worse than reaching for what seems like the 'perfect one' to find out that it's not even close to being ready to eat. Wondering if there's a way to speed up the process? I was too, so I researched how to ripen avocados and tested each method to find out what works best.

1. Put it in a paper bag with an apple

apples, Fuji apple, Fruit, whole apple
Jocelyn Hsu

I've heard rumors of the paper bag trick but never knew you could pair it with an apple or another piece of fruit! The science behind this ripening hack is that the ethylene (a plant hormone that triggers the ripening process) in the apple encourages the avocado to ripen faster. Experts say that red or golden delicious apples work best. When I tested this method, the hard avocado ripened in about four days. 

2. Let it sit out on the counter

Suyi Li

This may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to ripen a fruit naturally is to just let it sit out! Avocados are one of the rare fruits that ripen after being harvested rather than on the tree, so as soon as it's picked the process begins. Refrigerating the avocado will only delay the ripening process and possibly ruin the avocado's taste over time. Just plop that avocado on a room temperature surface or bowl until it has that perfect 'firm but gentle' feel and you're ready to go! For me, this process took seven days to ripen my avocado.

3. Use the oven

avocado, sweet, apple
Jina Kim

Start this process by wrapping your avocado in tinfoil and place it on a baking sheet at 200ºF for about 10 minutes or until soft. After, put it in the fridge and enjoy cold. The science is the same as the natural process. As the avocado bakes, the ethylene gas that naturally ripens the fruit will be released and your favorite snack will be nice and soft!

4. Fill a brown paper bag with flour

flour, cereal, rice, milk, tapioca
Jocelyn Hsu

Another paper bag trick that works! This is an ideal hack if you don't have another piece of fruit to use in your bag. Fill the bag about two inches deep with flour and place your avocado in it, making sure to roll the bag tightly shut. The logic behind this method is that by concentrating the amount of naturally-occurring ethylene gas within the bag, the avocado will ripen faster. Plus, the flour protects it from mold and bruising. This process took about three days to ripen my avocado.

5. Microwave it

coffee, beer, tea, beans
Leanna Smith

The last way definitely had me doing a double take, but it seemed simple enough so I set out to try it! Prick the avocado several times with a fork, place it on a plate, and plop it in the microwave. Start it at 30 seconds, but you may have to get up to a minute or two depending on how hard the avocado was in the first place. This method was the easiest and made the avocado soft, but lacked the usual ripened flavor that draws me to avocados in the first place. 

Overall, my favorite method was putting the avocado in the paper bag with flour because it required no special ingredients like fruit. I'll definitely be using this ripening hack the next time I'm planning on making some gauc!