An avocado's lengthy ripening process gives the fruit an advantage of a longer-than-average shelf life. However, the extended time can sometimes be a hindrance. If you need an avocado in a hurry, perhaps to whip up guacamole dip for unexpected company, finding the fruit rock hard may seem hopeless. If you find yourself in this scenario, don't panic -- you can soften the avocado quickly in a number of ways.
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In the Microwave
Poke the entire avocado with a fork.
Wrap the avocado in a paper towel, and transfer it to the microwave. The paper towel will retain the fruit's moisture.
Set your microwave to medium high, and cook the avocado for 30 seconds.
Remove the avocado and the paper towel, and gently press on the fruit, checking for firmness. If the avocado has not softened, place it back in the microwave and cook for another 30 seconds.
In a Paper Bag
Place a dry avocado in a brown paper bag. If you don't have a paper bag on hand, wrap the avocado in newspaper.
Put the bag on the kitchen counter. The avocado should be soft in three or four days.
Add a banana, tomato or apple to the paper bag to hasten the softening process.
Open a bag of flour.
Bury the avocado in the flour.
Check the avocado daily, until it feels ripe.
On a Windowsill
Place the avocado on a windowsill.
Press on the fruit on day two; it should now be soft.
Keep the avocado on the windowsill an extra day if it still feels firm.