A Costco superfan recently sparked a conversation about the wholesaler’s avocados on Reddit, where the original poster wrote that “they refused to ripen.”
“They stayed rock hard for over a week and a day after that decided to immediately rot,” the Redditor wrote, adding that they’re an “avocado connoisseur.”
Since the post went live on r/Costco, dozens of Redditors have chimed in with their own Costco avocado experiences, many of which attribute the fruit’s poor quality to its Peruvian origin.
Waiting for your avocados to ripen feels like forever and then when they are ripe if you don’t eat them in 32 seconds, they go bad— Shaela (@_shaela) April 14, 2021
“Do not buy avocados from Peru! I repeat, do not buy Avocados from Peru! They always are inedible and get thrown away. Having nothing is the better option,” one top comment reads.
This isn’t the first time r/Costco Redditors have criticized the retailer’s Peruvian avocados, though the issue might have to do more with a lack of familiarity than the Peruvian fruit’s inferiority.
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According to worker-owned cooperative Equal Exchange, which distributes avocados, among other goods like coffee and bananas, American retailers and consumers are often unfamiliar with Peruvian avocados and their peculiarities because Mexico is the dominant exporter, supplying 91 percent of American avocados in 2021.
One day you’re waiting for avocados to ripen, the next day you’re throwing rotten avocados in the trash— carla lalli music (@lallimusic) June 27, 2022
Avocados from both regions are markedly different because of climate, Equal Exchange explains, as Peruvian avocados “are under constant climactic pressure” since the fruit isn’t native to the region. For instance, differences in climate — Peru is arid while Mexico is more temperate — explain why the avocados’ skins differ in color and texture.
But when it comes to ripeness, the biggest factor likely has to do with simple geography.
“Because of the geographical proximity of Mexico, Mexican avocados can be harvested at a much higher oil content, as dictated by USDA regulations. Peruvian avocados, on the other hand, are harvested at a lower oil content due to the longer transit time. This means Peruvian avocados require more handling as they need more time to ripen,” the avocado distributor explains.
Equal Exchange adds that while it will take time, U.S. consumers will get used to Peruvian avocados “with more education and exposure.” So what should you do if you're stuck with a rock hard avocado — Peruvian or not.
After EatingWell tested several avocado-ripening methods, the publication deemed that the paper bag method is the best way to speed up the process.
“Put an avocado in a paper bag with a banana, an apple or a kiwi and fold to seal. These fruits produce ethylene gas, a plant hormone that aids ripening. The closed brown paper bag traps the gas inside to speed up the ripening time,” Casey Barber of EatingWell writes.
If you don’t have other fruit, simply placing the avocado in a paper bag will also trap ethylene gas and hasten the ripening process. On average, avocados can ripen overnight or up to four to five days after purchase.
Have you had similar experiences when buying avocados or do you have more avocado tips to share? Let us know in the comments.