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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How To Make Guacamole With Unripe Avocado



Avocado is one of the most fickle fruits on the market. With its delicious taste, versatility and health benefits, it’s also one of the most popular. Your grocery store probably tends to carry avocados at all different points of ripening. One of the worst feelings in the kitchen is cutting open a fresh avocado, only to find it hard and unripe.

This avocado is creamy ripe and ready. But...what if your avocado isn't?
This avocado is creamy ripe and ready. But…what if your avocado isn’t?

While unripe avocados are perfectly safe to eat, their flavor is not ideal. The bitter taste doesn’t make for a great guacamole. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time for any of the ripening options below, you can still make your guac and it’ll be perfectly safe to serve (just a little bitter). Here’s a recipe.

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Ever made guac with a mortar and pestle? I like this one at Amazon.

Unripe Avocado Guac

Scoop the avocado out of its shell and place into a mixing bowl. Mash and mix it up until it reaches your desired consistency. Add a touch of salt and pepper, lime juice (fresh squeezed is best), and any extra vegetables you’d like. The most popular are tomatoes, peppers, onions, or jalapeños.

Adding more of these different ingredients will distract from the slightly bitter taste of the unripened avocado. You can also add extra onion or garlic powder for the diversity of flavor. Refrigerate (if desired) for a cool, fairly delicious dip for any occasion.


If you have a little extra time on your hands, here are a few options that’ll let you ripen your avocado quickly and easily. Your guacamole will turn out deliciously creamy and smooth, both in taste and texture.

Option 1: Oven/Microwave

Wrap your avocado thoroughly and tightly in aluminum foil. Put it in a baking dish and put it in the oven at 200 degrees, checking on its softness every 10 minutes. You can also do the same process in the microwave, instead of aluminum foil, use plastic wrap.

The reason this works is that when avocados warm up, they release ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent. When the gas is released and trapped by the aluminum foil, it essentially ripens itself. This creates a slightly different taste, but a much better texture than the unripe avocado.

You got the guac. I’ve got the best IPA glass.

Option 2: Paper Bag

Put the two halves back together fitting the pit snugly back into its original place. Wrap the fruit tightly with plastic wrap so that no air can get in. Put the wrapped avocado into a paper bag with an apple or banana. Apples or bananas release a large amount of ethylene gas, which will ripen the avocado. The amount of time will vary depending on how much your avocado needs to ripen (anywhere from a few hours to a few days).

Serve up your guacamole in this awesome avocado dish from the Gourmet Home Collection.

Home Gourmet Collection Medium Ceramic Avocado Serving Bowl

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How to Tell If Your Avocado Is Ripe

You can avoid all of this frustration by buying avocados at the right time and knowing how to tell if they’re ripe enough for your guacamole. Green Hass avocados (the most popular variety) taste best from the months of February to August, but April to August is really the sweet spot for guacamole bound avocados. The amount of oil in the avocado increases as it hangs on the tree, so the later in the season it’s picked, the better.

This guac is ready to party.
This guac is ready to party.

When you’re at the store trying to decide the best, most ripe avocado to buy, there are a few tricks to keep in mind. If the green color of the skin has darkened to a blackish green and it feels soft when you squeeze it, that’s the sweet spot.

OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Potato Masher with Cushioned Handle, Single

Here’s a nice potato masher for making guac from Oxo. Of course, a good old fork will do too.

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If the skin is green and it feels hard, it’ll need to ripen for a few days. If the skin is black and wrinkly and feels very squishy when you squeeze, it’s probably too ripe for use. You can still cut it open and try to use it, just make sure to cut off any bad-looking parts.

Guac and salsa always makes me want Fiesta dinnerware.

Here’s a cool dip set from Homer Laughlin.

Homer Laughlin 146941165 Entertaining Set, Cool

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use avocado oil in cooking instead of vegetable oil?

Yes, you can use the avocado oil in cooking. It’s very healthy and essential oil for the eyes, skin, and heart. Also, the oil acts as an excellent substitute for exciting recipes, dressings, and sauces. Besides, the oil can be used in baking and in this case I would recommend using fresh avocado instead of oil or butter. They make a great substitution especially for foods with saturated fats since they have a high content of mono and polyunsaturated fat.

How can I ripen my avocados?

There are two main ways you can ripen your avocado. You can wrap it thoroughly with an aluminum foil and place it in a baking dish. Then put it in the oven at 200 degrees temperatures, and you need to check on the progress every ten to fifteen minutes. Also, you can do the same procedure in the microwave, but in this case, use plastic wrap instead of aluminum foil. The reason behind this is that when avocado warms up, it releases natural ripening gas known as the ethylene. When the gas is trapped in the aluminum foil, the avocado ripens swiftly creating a different taste with a subtle texture. Besides, you can ripen the avocado by tightly wrapping it with a plastic wrap and put in in a bag with a ripe banana. The ripe banana release ethylene gas which is essential in ripening the avocado. However, the time take to ripen varies depending on how much time your avocado requires.

How can I tell that my avocado is ripe?

Usually, the avocado doesn’t ripen on the tree, they ripen having been harvested. A green avocado can take approximately two to seven days to ripen depending on the season. You can speed the process of ripening by wrapping it with a plastic paper with a banana or an apple in it for three days at room temperature. You can squeeze it gently in the palm of your hand to check whether it’s ripe. If it yields to small pressure, then it’s ready for consumption.

Why do my guacamole and avocado turn brown? Can I keep the seed inside the fruit to avoid this problem?

When an avocado or guacamole is exposed to air, it can turn brown. You should brush the guacamole or the fruit with lemon, lime or vinegar because of the acid content in them. Also, you should keep the guacamole or avocado in air-tight dish container to prevent entry of air. When you place the seed in the guacamole can help in maintaining the color of your dish since the seed reduces the surface area exposed to the atmosphere. However, I would recommend covering the avocado and your guacamole with plastic wrap or air-tight containers if you prepare it and want to store in the refrigerator.

Why do my avocados have black streaks and spots?

The streaks are the long and thin lines on the avocado, and they are rare occurrence typically found in the fruit from the young trees. Although the fibers are unpleasant to look, the fruit is safe for consumption. The discoloration of the avocado occurs if it has been exposed to cold temperature before the process of ripening begins. Also, flesh bruising can occur when the fruit is carelessly handled when transporting in transit. Unfortunately, you cannot detect either flesh bruising or discoloration by just looking at the exterior of the avocado. They don’t pose a significant danger when consumed, and they can be removed by cutting.

Can avocado lead to an increase in my weight when consumed?

Your body requires fats because they’re essential for improving your health and they act as an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. The idea of adding healthy plant sources such as avocado to a balanced diet has been on the rise. Fatty foods have three different types of fats, I.e., polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated in various amount. Fruits such as avocado contain healthy fats of 60% monounsaturated and 14% of polyunsaturated fat. It means that half of an avocado contains approximately 16g of monounsaturated fat and 4gm of polyunsaturated fats.

Why do prices of avocados vary?

The prices of avocados vary because of the rise in demand. More people have discovered the health benefits associated with an avocado leading to high demand and consequently increasing its price. If the market is saturated with fresh produce, the costs may fluctuate throughout the entire year.

Can I use avocado as a substitute for butter?

Avocado is a versatile fruit and can be used as a substitute for butter. I would recommend you to use avocado instead of butter because it lowers the calorie and adds nutrients to your food. You can use half of the smashed avocado instead of butter.

Can I feed my baby with guacamole or avocado?

Avocado or guacamole is a perfect food for your baby. They’re the best in nutritional content and flavor. It’s smooth, has ideal taste, creamy consistency, and sufficient dietary content making it one of the best fruit your baby can enjoy. They are the source of the calories, a high content of healthy fats and aid in the absorption of soluble fat vitamin such as Vitamins A, D, E and K. Besides, avocados have low sugar and sodium content and contain excellent amount of essential nutrients such as vitamin E and folates and doesn’t contain gluten. You can feed your baby with a quarter avocado which has five grams of unsaturated fats, which are vital for the development and growth of the central nervous system and the brain.

Is avocado categorized as a fruit or vegetable?

An avocado is a fruit but is normally confused with a vegetable. It contains twenty nutrients making it one of the healthiest fruit. Besides, it has low sugar content and contains proteins.


While unripe avocados are definitely a guacamole bummer, don’t despair. You have plenty of options to make a delicious batch. Just make sure not to give any unripened avocado to pets, since the persin in it can be dangerous for them. But, as mentioned above, it’s perfectly safe for humans to enjoy. With these tips and recipes, you’ll have a fresh batch of guac in no time!

Taking that guac to a party? Be the hit of the evening when you also show up with the stuff to make mojitos!

You know what goes with guacamole? Scallops. I’ll show you how to sear them on cast iron.

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