Do you have avocados that aren’t quite ripe yet? And are you wondering if you can eat unripe avocados? Let’s find out.
Yes, you can eat unripe avocados but they do not have as much flavor nor the lovely, creamy texture that ripe avocados have.
Are Unripe Avocados Safe to Eat?
Unripe Avocados are perfectly safe to eat but they are not particularly delicious. They will not give you a stomach ache as some unripe fruit can and they do not contain a toxin as is rumored.
If you are stuck in the wilderness and all you come across are unripe avocados then, by all means, eat them but if you are not starving and have a few days to spare rather give them some time to ripen to be able to fully enjoy their flavor and texture.
Eating too many avocados, ripe or unripe, can you give you an upset stomach due to all the dietary fiber they contain. So, as always, everything in moderation.
How to Ripen Avocados
Avocados should be stored at room temperature to allow them to ripen slowly and naturally. If you have a whole bag of avocados or an avocado tree that is producing too many fruits for you to eat, you can place some avocados in the refrigerator. This will slow down the ripening process and allow you to stagger your avocado-eating.
If you live in a cold climate and your room temperature is pretty chilly you will need to help your avocados along a bit. You can do this by wrapping each avocado individually in newspaper and placing them in a basket or bowl in a warm sunny spot in the house. This will speed up their ripening time.
Ripen Avocados With Bananas
If your climate is moderate and you want to speed up your avocado’s ripening time you can place them in a bowl with a bunch of bananas. Bananas give off ethylene gas which acts as a plant hormone and causes fruits such as apples, pears, melons and avocados to ripen more quickly.
It has been debated as to whether bananas give off more ethylene in a bunch or separated into individual bananas. As it turns out, ethylene released is the same for both but damaged bananas give off more ethylene. So, if you’re really impatient, you could bash one of your bananas up a bit before placing it in the bowl with your avocados.
For an even speedier ripening time, you can cover the bowl with tin foil or place the avocados and bananas together in a brown paper bag.
If you don’t have a banana an apple or pear would also work as they also give off ethylene gas.
Ripen Avocados With Paper Bag and Flour
And If you have neither a banana, pear nor an apple, you can try the bag and flour trick. Place a cup of flour at the bottom of a paper bag. Place the avocado on top of the flour and seal the bag. The flour will absorb excess moisture and trap the ethylene gas thus speeding up the ripening time.
Baking Unripe Avocado
If your avocado is beginning to soften but isn’t quite ripe enough for your guacamole and your dinner guests are arriving imminently, you can ripen your avocado in the oven. This is not ideal, and depends on how underripe the avocado is, but it will work in a crisis.
Wrap the avocado in tinfoil. Place it in the oven on a very low heat for about 15 minutes or until it has softened to your desired texture. Remove it from the oven and the tinfoil and place it in the refrigerator to cool. It should then be soft and ready to make your perfect guacamole. This will only work if the avocado is mildly underripe. Rock hard avocados will just spoil in the oven.
For almost ripe avocados you can also get it to the finish line in the microwave but this is really a last resort and is not ideal. You will lose the buttery texture and it can make quite a smell in your kitchen.
First, remove the pip and then place the two halves together again. Wrap them tightly in microwave proof plastic. The plastic holds in the ethylene gas and speeds up the ripening process. Set the microwave to medium and check the softness every 30 seconds. When it is soft enough, remove it from the plastic and place it in the fridge to cool.
How to Ripen an Already Cut Open Avocado
If you have cut open an avocado and realize that it is not quite ripe, don’t fret. Simply put the two halves back together, including the pip. Then wrap it tightly in cling film or tin foil.
Leave it in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
It will blacken a bit at the cut line but you can cut that off later. The rest of the avocado will ripen beautifully. If the blackness at the line bothers you, you can rub the flesh with lemon juice before you put the two halves back together.
Can You Freeze Avocado?
You can freeze avocados but they will lose their creamy texture. Because of their high water content, the cells burst when frozen and the avocado becomes slimy and mushy when defrosted. It will no longer be delicious on toast but will still be fine in smoothies, salad dressings and guacamole.
Cut avocado, as we all know, turns brown very quickly and this is true of frozen avocado too. To reduce this browning effect you can brush the avocado slices with lemon juice or vinegar. If you are pureeing it before freezing, you can add a little lemon juice or vinegar to the blend.
Avocado freezes best as slices, chunks or puree rather than whole or halved. Make sure there is as little air as possible in the bag as the air causes oxidation and freezer burn.
How to Prevent Avocado Going Brown in the Salad
The best way to prevent having brown avocado in your salad is to cut it and add it to the salad at the last minute.
Another way is to brush the slices lightly with vinegar or lemon juice but this may have an effect on the flavor.
You can also brush the slices with olive oil. The oil will prevent air from reaching the slice and thus prevent oxidation, which is what turns the fruit brown.
It is also rumored that if you place the pip in your bowl of guacamole or salad, the avocado will not turn brown. Many people have debunked this theory but my mother swears by it and always places a pip in the middle of her salad bowl after preparation and before covering it. Her salads always look lovely and there is only a very slight discoloration to the avocado slices. Just remember to remove the pip before serving the salad.
How to Cook and Use Unripe Avocados
If you are desperate to eat your unripe avocados and you don’t have time to wait for them to ripen completely there are some ways of preparing them that are actually rather delicious. Completely rock-hard avocados will not be delicious no matter how you prepare them. Unripe avocados will taste bitter. But once the avocado has started to soften a little you can try one of the following ideas.
You can make avocado French fries with underripe avocados. Cut the avocado into thick strips, drizzle with a little olive oil and place in the oven or air fryer. You will be amazed at how crispy and delicious they become.
Try grating underripe avocados onto salads and pastas or cut them into strips to add to stir-fries.
You can batter or crumb slices of under-ripe avocado and deep fry them. If you do not like the crumbed effect you can simply fry slices of unripe avocado in a little oil or butter until golden brown. They will then be slightly crispy on the outside and deliciously creamy on the inside.
Underripe avocados are a great side to a BBQ especially if you have a vegetarian friend coming along. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pip but leave the skin on. Stuff the avocado with whatever delicious stuffing you can think of. It must be already cooked as the stuffing will not have too much time to cook on the BBQ. Place the stuffed avocado halves on the BBQ with the skin side down, obviously. When the avocado feels soft, remove it from the heat.
Avocado Pickles are a great way to soften unripe avocados and get them bursting with flavor. The pickles can be used in salads, tacos, burgers or sandwiches. These pickles are not designed for long-term storage and can be eaten after just a few hours of pickling. If you feel all your avocados are going to ripen at the same time and you want to get ahead of them, this is a great way to start eating them before they are fully ripe.
Cooking an underripe avocado helps to hide that it is not completely ripe and also softens it. Try this Lemon Lavender Avocado Cake.
Underripe avocados can be turned into these delicious Avocado French Fries. If the avocado is too ripe the pieces will fall apart in the oil. Look for avocados that are just starting to soften. These will then have the flavor as well as the correct texture.
Although unripe avocados are not harmful and contain most of the nutrients of ripe avocados, they do not have the flavor or texture of ripe avocados. If you are looking for full flavor and a creamy texture it is best to have patience and allow your avocados to ripen naturally in their own time.
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