Why do some avocados never ripen?


Curious avocado?

The ripening process of the avocado is unusual, as the softness of the fruit and other characteristic indicators of ripeness do not occur as long as the fruits are hanging on the tree, but only start as soon as they are harvested. The fruits are harvested when they are well developed but unripe for consumption (physiological ripeness). Avocados ripen to so-called consumption ripe after harvest. The fruits can hang on the tree for a long time, in some cases for up to a year or more. In technical terms, fruits that ripen after harvest are classified as "climacteric" fruits. In addition to the avocado, banana, mango, apple and melon are also climacteric fruits.


What to do if the avocado I bought is still very firm?

Sometimes avocados are still very firm when they are bought. In the solid state, they are less easy to process. There is, however, a trick to speed up the softening of the fruit. To do this, keep the avocado in a bag with apples. The apples produce a ripening gas called ethylene that speeds up the ripening process. So the avocado can be consumed after a few days.


What do brown spots inside the avocado mean?

After cutting the fruit open, gray-brown areas can often be seen inside. On the one hand, this can be due to the fact that still firm avocados have been damaged by mechanical influences and the affected areas then turn slightly brown. Another reason can be too cold storage of the already harvested avocados or excessively cold temperatures before the fruit is harvested. If avocados are stored too cold, "chilling injury" occurs. This is understood to be damage caused by the cold, which leads to changes in the interior of the fruit. This includes, for example, the appearance of brown spots. The recommended minimum storage temperature range for avocados is between 7 ° C - 13 ° C.

Why does the avocado turn brown after slicing?

Once the avocado has been cut open, it browns quickly. The enzyme polyphenol oxidase is responsible for this tanning reaction. This enzyme oxidizes phenolic compounds in the fruit (O-Diphenols) to form so-called quinones, which subsequently combine to form brown pigments, the so-called melanins.

Drizzling the cut fruit with lemon juice can prevent it from browning. The acid causes the pH value to fall below the “working optimum” of the enzyme.

Super fast, super tasty! Avocado recipe

Cut two soft avocados lengthways, remove the peel and seeds and divide the halves lengthways one more time. Brush the surface of the avocados with lemon juice. Season the cream cheese with salt and pepper and use a spoon to pour it into the cavity of the avocados (alternative: use a piping bag to squirt the cream cheese into the cavity of the avocados). Sprinkle with fresh, finely chopped parsley. Tastes very tasty with freshly baked bread.

Street food and avocado?

The Volvi Food Truck uses avocados in the preparation of its “street food”. The avocado can be found there in the so-called "Volvi rolls". These are rolls filled with rice, vegetables, chicken, beef or polenta that are held together on the outside with a sheet of seaweed. Delicious!

You can find the next location of the Volvi Food Truck on the Facebook page of the Volvi Food Truck.

You can find out more about the ingredients in avocado in this video. For this video I was visiting Katja from the Volvi Food Truck.



Lieberei, R., Reisdorff, C. (2012) Nutzpflanze, 8th revised edition, Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, New York.

Pesis, E., Ackerman, M., Ben-Arie, R., Feygenberg, O., Feng, X., Apelbaum, A., Goren, G., Prusky, D. (2002) Ethylene involvement in chilling injury symptoms of avocado during cold storage, Postharvest Biology and Technology, 20, 171-181.

Hofman, P. J., Bower, J., A. Woolf, A. (2013) Harvesting, Packing, Postharvest Technology, Transport and Processing. In: The avocado: botany, production and uses. (Eds. Schaffer, B., Wolstenholme, B. N., Whiley, A. W.) CAB International, Wallingford Oxfordshire, Boston, 162-177.