Avocados can be a delight when they’re creamy, ripe, and ready to eat. But when they aren’t, they are bitter, hard, and unpalatable.
Waiting for them to ripen naturally can take days or even weeks—and even then, you might not get your desired results.
So, what then should an avocado connoisseur do? Toss them and buy new ones? Or maybe just give up on avocados altogether?
The answer is no! There are ways to hasten ripening for those times when you’re dying for a taste of guacamole. Read more on microwaving guacamole.
But, can you ripen avocados in the microwave? Yes, that’s right—you can use your microwave to make your avocados ripe without waiting for nature to take its course. However, expect some variation in texture and taste between a microwaved avocado and one that has ripened naturally.
Today’s post will explain why and how you can use your microwave to ripen avocados safely. We’ll also share some tips for microwaving avocados to retain as much of their original texture as possible. Finally, we’ll address your concerns regarding ripening avocados and microwaves.
Let’s get started.
What Happens When an Avocado Is Microwaved?
There are two possible outcomes when you microwave an avocado. The first is that it will soften, precisely the effect you’re looking for. But there’s also a chance of it exploding.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and taste great on salads and sandwiches. But sometimes, you want to eat one right away, and if it’s not quite ripe yet, you might try nuking it. However, there is some controversy over whether or not that’s a good idea.
Here’s what happens when you microwave an avocado:
Ethylene gas is a natural byproduct responsible for fruit ripening. When you put your unripe avocado into a microwave, it heats up and releases this particular gas. This accelerates the ripening process and makes it edible sooner than if you simply left it on the counter.
However, it’s not all good news. While heating may speed things along, there’s also a chance that microwaving could cause your avocado to explode. One of the side effects of releasing ethylene gas is that it can cause pressure build-up inside your avocado. If you don’t take care to vent off some of that pressure, it might eventually pop like a balloon.
So, how can you keep your avocado from exploding?
Simply pierce its skin with a knife or fork before microwaving it. This will allow excess gas to escape and prevent an explosion.
For best results, let your avocado ripen naturally.
How Long To Ripen Avocados in the Microwave
It will take about 2 minutes to ripen an avocado using a microwave. However, this time can vary depending on your particular microwave, the size of your avocado, and desired level of softness. For optimal results, nuke in 15-20 seconds bursts.
Microwaves tend to overheat foods, causing them to dry out and burn. If you want your avocado ripe and ready for guacamole, you’re better off sticking in, nuking it in short bursts, than leaving it in there until it’s soft.
And if your microwave is overly powerful, you might want to switch to a lower setting. This will obviously take longer, but you won’t end up with a cooked avocado.
Tips for Ripening Avocados in the Microwave
You can use Avocados in a variety of delectable recipes. If you’re impatient and want to get right to it, here are some tips for ripening an avocado in the microwave safely.
- Ensure that the plastic wrap you use is microwave-safe and free of BPA (Bisphenol A). Otherwise, it may melt and leach into your avocado, posing health risks. To be safe, use a paper towel or parchment paper instead.
- Cut your avocado in half lengthwise with a sharp knife or kitchen shears, then twist to separate it. The goal is to expose as much flesh as possible to microwave it more evenly.
- Before microwaving your avocado, make sure to remove the seed. If left inside, it will inhibit even heat distribution and may cause uneven ripening.
- Make sure to place your two halves on a plate, flesh-side up. This will allow microwaves to penetrate all parts of your fruit evenly. The skin side should face down so that it doesn’t get too hot and cook.
- If you’re going to microwave more than one avocado, wrap each individually in a paper towel or parchment paper. This will prevent them from leaching into each other and causing discoloration. It will also allow for better heat distribution.
- Pierce your avocado with a fork several times to allow steam to escape and prevent it from exploding. It may also help your fruit ripen more evenly.
- Since microwaves vary, you’re advised to heat your avocado on low power. This will prevent it from becoming overheated and burning or cooking. If you have a less powerful microwave, set it to medium-low and check it every 15-20 seconds.
- When your avocado is done, remove it from the microwave and set it aside to cool for a few minutes before eating. Gently press your fingers against its skin to see if it is soft enough. If not, return it and microwave it in 15-second increments until you reach your desired level of ripeness.
How to Ripen an Avocado in the Microwave
If you are pressed for time or don’t want to wait for nature to take its course, you can use your microwave to accelerate the ripening of your avocado. So, below we lay it out all for you step by step.
Step 1: Cut Your Avocado Lengthwise in Half
Cut your avocado lengthwise around the center pit with a sharp knife. Try to keep your cuts as close together as possible so you have two halves that are connected at their narrowest point.
Step 2: Remove the Pit
Gently tap your knife into one side of your avocado pit. Twist it back and forth to loosen it, then pull it out with your fingers. Alternatively, you can scoop out your pit with a spoon or a grapefruit spoon. Make sure to dig under before attempting to lift it off.
Step 3: Pierce your Avocado
Gently pierce your avocado flesh all over with a toothpick or fork. This will keep your avocado from exploding in your microwave.
Step 4: Place Your Two Halves into a Microwave-Safe Dish
Place your two avocado halves flesh side up and skin side down on a plate. Ensure that there is enough space between them for heat to circulate.
Step 5: Nuke Your Avocado on Medium Power
Microwave your avocado in 15-20 second bursts, checking after each. If it is still hard, nuke it for another 15 seconds at a time until it reaches the softness you desire.
Final Step: Let Your Avocado Cool Down and Enjoy
Remove your avocado from the microwave and squeeze it gently. If it yields to pressure, you’re good to go. Allow a few minutes to cool down before eating.
Faqs On Can You Ripen Avocados in the Microwave?
1. How can you ripen avocados quickly?
Using a ripe fruit as an accelerator is the quickest way to ripen avocados. Put an already-ripe fruit, such as bananas or apples, in a sealed brown paper bag with your unripe avocado. This allows ethylene gas from your ripe fruits to permeate your avocado, speeding up the ripening process.
2. How do you ripen avocados in 10 minutes?
It involves preheating your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, cutting your avocado in half, wrapping it in aluminum foil, and putting it into a small baking dish. Then, bake it for about 10 minutes. Your unripe avocado will release ethylene gas while heating, hastening its ripening. The result will be a soft, ready-to-eat avocado.
3. Is it OK to eat an unripe avocado?
Yes, you can eat an unripe avocado. However, it will taste bland and lack the creamy texture of a ripe one. Instead of waiting for your avocados to ripen naturally, use a microwave to hasten the process.
4. What happens if you eat an unripe avocado?
Despite popular belief, eating an unripe avocado is perfectly safe. It contains no dangerous toxins that can make you sick or cause an allergic reaction. However, expect a bland taste and a chalky texture when eating one.
5. Can you make guacamole with hard avocados?
While you can make guacamole with unripe avocados, it won’t be as tasty. Hard avocados have a bitter taste and will not yield as much juice for your recipe. Plus, they are difficult to mash into a creamy texture, which is essential for making great guacamole.
6. Can you ripen a cut avocado?
You can ripen an already cut avocado by squeezing lemon juice on it. The acidity of lemon prevents avocados from browning, which occurs when exposed to air. The next step is to align your two avocado halves to fit together, wrap them tightly in a paper bag, and place them in the refrigerator.
Ethylene gas from your avocado will accelerate the ripening, and you’ll have a perfectly ripe avocado in a day or two.
7. Can you ripen an avocado in a plastic bag?
Plastic bags are not ideal for ripening avocados because they can trap moisture and encourage mold growth. This will cause your avocado to spoil rather than ripen. A brown paper bag is recommended since it allows airflow while still protecting from light.
While it’s possible to ripen avocados in a microwave, you risk damaging them more than if you simply let them ripen naturally. This method is best used as a last resort when you need to accelerate your avocado-ripening process by several days.
Nonetheless, it’s best than leaving your avocados on a countertop and hoping for the best. However, you need to consider that microwaving may burn or even ruin your fruit.
If you’re going to microwave an avocado, monitor it closely. To be safe, stick with 10-15 seconds bursts until you achieve the desired level of ripeness.
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