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Avocado Ripening

 

  1. Early season avocados may take longer to ripen than middle to late season ones.

  2. Mature green avocados should be shipped at 41-51°F (5 to 10.5°C, pulp temperature).  Before ripening begins, the fruit pulp temperature* should be raised to 65-68°F (18-20°C).

  3. If not using pressurized ripening rooms, air stack the boxes (at least 2" between boxes) to have proper air circulation.  Leave 1½ feet between walls and pallets and at least 6 inches between pallets. Please note that avocados produce more heat than bananas!  Cooling may be slower than is needed when using banana rooms to ripen avocados.

  4. Once the fruit pulp temperatures stabilize, apply 100 ppm ethylene*; exposure time is dependent upon season of harvest, age of fruit, and maturity level at harvest. Use the recommendations below as a guide, and make sure to check avocado firmness* to know when to stop ethylene application:

    1. Early season fruit: 36-48+ hours

    2. Mid-season fruit: 24-36 hours

    3. Late season fruit: 12-24 hours

  5. Humidity is very important.  It should be maintained at 90-95%.

  6. Carbon dioxide will build up during ripening.  Anything above 1% may retard ripening or cause "checkerboard" ripening within the room.  If automatic ventilation is not in place, be sure to vent approximately every 12 hours by opening the doors for 20 minutes even while applying ethylene.

  7. Check pulp temperature at least twice per day and maintain proper pulp temperature.

  8. The fruit should be ready to ship within 3-6 days depending on the season, pulp temperature and degree of firmness.  Ripened fruit may have the stem end button become more pliable indicating the softness process is beginning. 

  9. Once ripening has reached the desired degree of firmness, lower the pulp temperature to 36-42°F (2.2 to 5.5°C).  The riper the fruit, the lower in this range is acceptable.

 

CAUTION: Do not hold mature green, unripened avocados at pulp temperature below 40°F.  Chilling injury will occur, and the longer avocados are held at low temperatures, the more severe the injury that will be caused.  Chilling causes grayish-brown discoloration of the skin and flesh.  If chilled before ripening, the fruit will not ripen properly.

Ripened avocados are less susceptible to chill damage; they can be stored as low as 36°F (2.2°C).  

* For a complete line of supplies for ripening, including pulp thermometers and firmness testers, visit QA Supplies.

 

For ethylene generators, visit Catalytic Generators.

Information on this site is amassed from a diverse number of sources. While we have made great effort to provide accurate and current ripening techniques, we make no warranties regarding these recommendations or the applicability of such information to a particular ripening operation. Please note that we do not provide these recommendations as a replacement for technical ripening experts; if having ripening problems or starting a ripening program, we suggest that professionals be consulted.