Make Avocados Ripen Faster Than Ever With A Paper Bag Full Of Fruit

Death and taxes are famously the only two things in life you can count on. Avocados are another story entirely. Often, buying avocados during your weekly grocery run can feel like a game of roulette. Either your avocados become ripe too quickly to fulfill your avocado-toast dreams, or, perhaps worse, they remain hard and unripe, making them unsuitable for your recipe. But don't fret — there's a way you can ripen your avocados using only two items, both of which are most likely already in your kitchen.


You can ripen your avocados using just a paper bag and fruit. Common household produce such as bananas and apples work particularly well for this method. To implement this trick, simply place your avocados in a paper bag along with your fruit and close it up. If kept in a warm environment, your avocado will ripen in one to three days. But don't forget to check in on your avocado to ensure it doesn't become over-ripe. Of course, if you don't have other fruit on hand, this trick also works if you simply place your avocado in a paper bag by itself, though it may take some extra time to fully ripen.

A fruit's ripeness depends on its ethylene levels

What's the science behind this avocado-ripening trick? The answer lies in ethylene, an odorless gas emitted by fruits during the ripening process. Ethylene is found in lower levels in unripe fruits, but these eventually rise as the fruit ripens. So putting your avocado close to ripe fruits can allow these fruits' ethylene to aid in the avocado's ripening process. As such, you might want to choose an extra-ripe banana (just look for brown spots) when trying to speed along your avocado's ripening process.


If you don't have another fruit on hand, however, you can always simply place the avocado in a paper bag on its own. Doing so will trap any ethylene your avocado emits, causing it to soften. Worth noting is that you'll want to use a paper bag for this trick, as using a plastic one will trap moisture inside and turn your fruit into a sloppy — and possibly moldy — mess.

Using your overripe avocados

What happens if your avocados become overripe? Helping your avocados reach that perfect texture and ripeness is tricky, as the pendulum can always swing too far in the opposite direction. But if this happens, don't worry — you don't have to toss your overripe avocados, as there are still plenty of uses for the green fruit.


One option is to add your overripe avocados to your brownie mix (or into other baked goods) to add moisture and mask any mushiness. Alternatively, you can use them in an avocado dressing or add them to smoothies. If you don't want to cook with your mushy avocados, you can always use them for other purposes. For example, the fats in avocados make them the perfect ingredient for a homemade hair mask. You can also mix your avocados with oatmeal for a moisturizing and soothing face mask. In any case, you might want to keep your eye on your avocados to prevent overripening before it happens. You can also buy underripe avocados and use the brown-bag trick to control your fruit's ripeness level.