Avocados have a natural coolness that pairs them perfectly with spicy Mexican dishes or tasty dips. These succulent green treats have a dark green rind that protects the soft meat inside. Avocado growers don't have to wait for these fruit to ripen; the ripening doesn't occur until the fruit is harvested. After harvesting, a hormone in the plant called ethylene ripens the hard inner fruit, making it silky and smooth. The natural ripening process is slow but you can hasten it a little.

In Brazil, avocados are used in ice cream.

Step 1

Shop for an avocado that has some initial signs of ripening. Give the fruit a slight squeeze. Choose a fruit that feels a little soft but not squishy.

Step 2

Place the fruit in a paper lunch bag. This will trap the ethylene and make the fruit ripen faster.

Step 3

Add a banana or apple to the bag. These fruits produce higher amounts of ethylene that will hasten the maturing process.

Step 4

Close the bag by folding the top under the bag. Leave the bag on a sunny counter for a full day.

Step 5

Remove the two fruits within one day. The avocado should be ripe enough to peel and enjoy.