Avocados are not a vegetable, they are a fruit and are part of the berry family. There are several varieties of avocados. They are a great source of digestible dietary fat, folic acid, essential amino acids and fatty acids, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, H and K plus trace elements and minerals. Avocados have no cholesterol. Avocados are a great meat substitute for the vegan or vegetarian diet.
They mature on the tree but do not ripen on the tree. Avocados picked later in the season are more mature and will ripen more quickly, in about five days. Avocados picked early in the season are less mature and ripening can take six to nine days.
Ripe avocados will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days and up to a week if they are not too ripe. Ripe avocados have a short shelf life. Mature avocados can be left on the tree for months since ripening happens after the fruit is picked.
Do not refrigerate avocados that are not ripe. Avocados will not ripen in a cold environment.
To ripen avocados naturally you can simply set them out on the kitchen counter or a table but not in direct sunlight. Remember, this process takes a few days, three to five, for the fruit to ripen.
If you need to speed up ripening of the avocados, place them in a brown paper bag. Seal the bag by rolling down the top then leave the bag out at room temperature for approximately three to five days. Check the avocados daily until they are ripe and ready to use.
The best method to hasten the ripening process, add a banana, apple or even a tomato to the bag. The addition of fruit increases the amount of ethylene gases in the bag and will accelerate the ripening process. Adding the fruit can reduce the avocado ripening time to as little as twenty-four hours. Avocados will ripen in the brown bag because it traps the ethylene gas from the avocados, as well as any fruit added to the bag, and accelerates the avocado ripening process.
To know if the avocado is ripe, gently squeeze the fruit, if it yields to the gentle pressure, it is ripe.
Although I have not personally tried it, some people claim that an avocado will ripen overnight if you put it in a bag of flour or put the avocado in a brown bag with flour covering the avocado.