Originally appeared on Real Simple

Guacamole is a party entertaining staple – whether you're a purist with avocados and lime juice, or you're jazzing up your dish with some pimientos and chopped, crispy bacon. Have you ever gone to make your favorite recipe, and found that your avocados aren't ready to be mashed?

“I’m making guacamole, but the avocados are hard as rocks.”
Vivian Tran, via e-mail

The Fix: Place avocados in a brown paper bag with a banana, then leave the bag on a sunny windowsill for 18 to 24 hours, says Joe Quintana, the New York City–based regional executive chef for the Rosa Mexicano restaurants. Together, the banana and the avocados release a large amount of ethylene gas, which can hasten ripening. (The heat may help speed the process, too.) If you can’t wait a day, try this trick from California avocado grower Carol Steed: Place 2 peeled, pitted avocados in a blender with 1 cup peas (fresh, or frozen and thawed); pulse until smooth. The peas will help soften the consistency of the unripe avocados but won’t affect the flavor.

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