The avocado is considered to be a climacteric fruit, like the banana, meaning that the fruit matures on the tree, but only begins to ripen after it has been picked. Commercial growers pick avocados when they’re hard and green, and then allow them to ripen properly. Once picked, avocados ripen in one to two weeks at room temperature. They’ll ripen faster if they are stored with other fruits, such as apples and bananas, because of the influence of ethylene gas.
If an avocado is picked too soon, it typically has a low oil content and will never ripen properly. The fruit will be rubbery and have a poor flavor. The longer the fruit stays attached to the tree, the more oil content it will develop.
Not too soon, not too long:
- Waiting too long to pick an avocado can be problematic, too. If fruit is left on the tree for too long, the oil in the avocado will give the fruit a rancid flavor and a pasty texture.
- An unripe avocado should be nice and green. As it ripens, it will get hints of purple and black. It should be ready to use in about two days.
- After an avocado has been cut open, sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice to keep it from turning brown and getting mushy.