Did a bin of firm, underripe avocados dash your hopes for a piece of avocado toast once again? Take a minute to wallow in disappointment, and then follow my lead because I can help you enjoy that underripe avocado.
What We Mean by Underripe
When I say underripe, I don't mean avocados that are still rock-hard — those specimens that seem like they require a chainsaw to cut open. No, those are in a league all their own. Here I'm talking about the avocados that dash your plans because they're just a little too firm for making avocado toast or your favorite batch of guacamole.
And I'm thankful for them because these firm fruits taught me that there's life beyond avocado toast, and it's pretty darn delicious. It turns out underripe avocados are really more magnificent than we give them credit for. It's all a matter of knowing how to make them work for you.
How to Tell If You Have an Underripe Avocado
But how exactly do you know if you have an underripe avocado on your hands? It's all about using your senses. The best indicators of ripeness are the looks and feel of an avocado. Take a look at the color of the skin. Some varieties, like Haas avocados, darken in skin color as they ripen; green skin is an indicator of an underripe avocado. Another telltale sign of an underripe avocado is when it feels firm.
Underripe avocados will still have the remaining nub of the stem attached, and pretty firmly at that. If it comes off easily, you have a ripe avocado on your hands (in which case, let the guacamole and avocado toast commence).
5 Clever Things to Do with Underripe Avocados
Here are five ways to use those underripe avocados.
1. Cook up avocado fries.
We're big fans of veggie fries over here, and these just made the top of our list (even though they're really a fruit). The soft texture of a perfectly ripe avocado doesn't work for making fries, but a firm, underripe avocado will excel. After some time in the oven, you're left with super-crispy fries with a soft, creamy center.
2. Make avocado pickles.
Talk about a transformation! Soaking firm avocado in a tangy brine softens this fruit up, gives it a super-tender texture, and adds a big burst or flavor.
Get the Recipe: Avocado Pickles
3. Use grated avocado as a garnish.
Just because your avocados aren't soft doesn't mean they can't be used as a garnish. Forget slicing and dicing — get out a box grater. This handy tool turns firm avocado into confetti for topping your salads, tacos, and omelets.
Top These Recipes with Grated Avocado
4. Stir-fry it.
Use some firm slices of avocado to change up your stir-fry game. Some time on the heat will round out the flavor and soften the texture. It balances the typical firm and crunchy veggies that fill our stir-fries and acts as a cool complement to spicy flavors.
Try It Here: Spicy Cauliflower Stir-Fry
5. Bake an egg in it.
That firm avocado makes for a tasty edible bowl that will soften up in the oven just enough so it's ready to eat. Plus, eggs and avocados are always a winning team.
Get the Tip: Egg Baked in an Avocado