Avocado Ripening & Handling


For consumers, choosing a ripe avocado involves picking up and putting down multiple avocados, squeezing and pressing them, and deciding which will be good for tomorrow and which will be ready to eat at the end of the week. This raises the question, should longer lasting fruit or fruit ready for immediate use be the goal? Distributors go through a similar process as they decide the degree of ripeness to purchase and then sell fruit. Is longer shelf life or ready to go fruit ideal?

Avocado ripening and handling is a process that has been continuously developed by various industry experts. The pre-conditioning process for avocados is advocated by these experts for the following reasons:

• Pre-conditioning results in more consistent, controlled, and uniform ripening within the box, pallet, or lot of fruit, leading to better control of quality and ripeness
• The ripening time is cut in half, assisting in better inventory control and turnover
• Stores are able to offer consumers ready-to-eat fruit, resulting in the highest impulse purchases, increased overall sales, and improved customer satisfaction


Pre-conditioning is the process of initiating the natural ripening process of avocados through the application of ethylene in a controlled environment such as a ripening room. This process takes place in a variety of locations including the avocado packing house, wholesale receiver warehouse, or chain store distribution center. The importance of location is that it must be done where fruit will ripen in a predictable fashion to be ready to sell when reaching consumers.

The most common indicator of a pre-conditioned avocado is the “button” on the stem end. This end pops off with gentle pressure once the avocado has begun the ripening process, but is still firm. From this point, it is fairly easy to reach the ready-to-eat stage with temperature control and proper storage. Avocados with proper quality and maturity will remain firm for up to two weeks after preconditioning.
Controversially, ripening avocados in a box, pallet, or lot without an external source of ethylene will result in uneven ripeness or “checkerboarding.” Uneven ripeness can cause problems, as some of the fruit may be too ripe or too green for a customer who buys it.

Additionally, letting the fruit ripen naturally without an external source of ethylene takes more than double the time, depending on the season. Pre-conditioning is so widely used because it eliminates a lengthy ripening period and yields even and consistent ripening through the application of an external source of ethylene. The ethylene produced by a Catalytic Generator triggers the fruit to release natural ethylene and begin the ripening process.


Not only does pre-conditioning provide consistent, uniform ripening and cut ripening time in half, it also ensures that retail stores and food service customers will be able to count on receiving avocados that are ripe and ready to eat. In the past, consumers would pick up an avocado only to find it was too firm. Now, avocados can quickly go from the store shelf into a consumer’s shopping cart capturing impulse buyers and those who need fruit that is ready to eat.


With little cost and time involved, pre-conditioning programs should be implemented to ensure even ripening, better quality and inventory control, and increased sales. Catalytic Generators has everything you need to begin this process with fruit ripening ethylene generators and Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate. Transform the way your fruit ripens with our pre-conditioning products here.

To assist you in the avocado ripening process, we’ve summarized ripening tips for the pre-conditioning of avocados below.


Throughout the ripening process, five main aspects should be reviewed: humidity, carbon dioxide, pulp temperature, firmness, and airflow.

Humidity. The optimal humidity avocados should be ripened at is 90-95%.

Carbon Dioxide. During ripening, carbon dioxide will build up. Anything above 1% may slow the ripening process or cause a “checkerboard” ripening within the room. Ensure automatic ventilation is in place or vent approximately every 12 hours by opening the doors for twenty minutes when applying ethylene.

Pulp Temperature. Pulp temperature should be checked at least twice per day to ensure proper ripening is maintained. Ripened fruit may have the stem end become more pliable indicating the softness process has begun. Once the desired degree of firmness has been reached, lower the pulp temperature to 40-42°F.

Firmness. Ripening stages should be determined using a penetrometer. We recommend using QA Supplies’ FT 444 Penetrometer for fruits that measure more than 27lbs. Pressure measurements below ensure better tasting, more flavorful avocados within each ripening stage.

Stage 1: Hard Fruit – Fruit is extremely hard and a brighter green color (25 lbs. of pressure or more).
Stage 2: Pre-Conditioned – Fruit should be ready to eat in about three days if held in room temperature (15-25 lbs of pressure).
Stage 3: Breaking – Fruit will have a very slight give and be ready-to-eat in two days if held at room temperature (10-15 lbs of pressure).
Stage 4: Firm Ripe – Fruit yields to gentle pressure and should be fully ripe the next day if held at room temperature (5-10 lbs of pressure).
Stage 5: Ripe – The stem nub of the fruit should easily fall off by gently rolling a finger over it. Fruit is good for any use at this stage and easily yields to gentle pressure. This condition is maintained for 2-3 days if held at room temperature (5 lbs or less pressure).

Airflow. While many people utilize banana ripening rooms for the ripening of avocados, this is not always adequate. It is best practice to use ripening rooms specially designed to remove the great deal of heat that ripening avocados create. If pressurized ripening rooms are not being used, air stack the boxes (at least two inches between boxes) to have proper air circulation. Leave 1½ feet between walls and pallets and at least six inches between pallets. Remember the importance of monitoring pulp temperature, especially when using non-standard rooms for avocados.

We believe in offering you the best resources for your ripening process. Find additional information on avocado ripening with an external ethylene supply here. If you’re a ripener in need of ripening help, let us connect you with a ripening expert. From ripening tips to ethylene management techniques, our experts can help. Get started by contacting us today!

Contributing Sources:

“Avocado Storing and Handling.” California Avocado, California Avocado Commission, 2014,

“Avocados | Produce Market Guide.” Produce | Produce Market Guide, Farm Journal, Inc., 2018,

Why You Should Be Using The Centralized Ripening System

Across the globe, customers utilize multiple ripening rooms to efficiently ripen produce. Thanks to our Centralized Ripening System®, all your ripening rooms can have continuous ethylene production from one central supply of Ethy-Gen II Ripening Concentrate. Our easy and convenient ethylene source offers peace of mind with complete confidence in your equipment with no fear of explosions and makes your ripening operation safer.



IDENTIFIABLE ETHYLENE VERIFICATION. As a visible liquid, Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate is easy to inventory and reorder as needed. Rather than weigh cylinders or guess amounts, our product does the work for you.

LOW MAINTENANCE. With a system that lasts up to five times longer than competitors, we save you valuable time and money. Quick disconnect fittings and palletized containers of Ethy-Gen® II make swapping out containers a pain-free experience. A simple pallet jack is all you need to move containers into place with the CRS® Pumping System. No longer will you need to deal with awkward, bulky and dangerous ethylene cylinders.

Read more about the CRS pumping and control station here.

GET COMPLETE CONTROL. Experience a control of your ethylene systems like you’ve never experienced before. Rather than transmit ethylene by pipe into each individual room, our system makes ethylene right inside the ripening room. It’s as easy as flipping a switch to turn ethylene on and off in each room. Make adjustments to levels by turning a single knob. Our system takes away the worry of ethylene dissipating in pipes or being wasted in any way.

CONVENIENT LOW FLOW SENSOR. All of the generators produced by Catalytic Generators provide indication of correct operation. The CRS® Pumping Station monitors proper flow of Ethy-Gen® II, additionally. For your convenience, your station will light up red once you’ve run out. Keep your supply current at all times with this system!


Our safe, easy, and convenient ethylene source is one you can trust. To ensure your CRS® is set up and integrated properly, our knowledgeable staff can install the system for you. The installation is typically completed in one day; however, larger facilities may require more time. We begin the process with an analysis of each room to assess your needs. After this has been done, we then set up the generators’ ethylene production to match your required parts per million (ppm) level.



Introducing a continuous, consistent ethylene production system for superior ripening and degreening: The Centralized Ripening System® Generator. Adapting to any ethylene requirement, this generator is wall mounted and narrow, saving you space in your ripening rooms. Easily connect to the supply line with quick disconnect fittings on the side of the generator.

CRS 2016 webOnce the generator has been mounted in the ripening room, the process is simple. Plug into a grounded electrical outlet, select the conversion rate, connect to the Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate supply line, and switch the power on. The ethylene production will begin minutes later. It’s as easy as that!



Catalytic Generators has been installing these systems since 1998. With years of experience, we offer a track record of consistently producing quality products for ripening and degreening. Our compliance with international testing standards is further proof that we take the ripening business seriously:

  • Our generators are certified by two third-party testing laboratories, UL® & TÜV
  • Our Ethy-Gen II meets the strict requirements of & is registered with US-EPA and UK Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD)



Having been in business for over 40 years, recognizable industry names across the world trust Catalytic Generators to provide the best tools for ethylene application. The dependability and quality of our products and services is what we strive to continually innovate and improve.

Contact our team today to see how we can make your ripening operation safer, more efficient, and easier to manage!

Virtual Tour Shows How We Help Make Fruit Ripe

Catalytic Generators has produced and released a virtual tour of the company’s office and production facility in Norfolk, Virginia.

In order to give our customers, and prospective clients, a better vision of who we are and how we create the world’s finest ethylene application systems, we decided to commission a filming at our facility. The short tour shows the production and testing of our generators and the liquid that converts into ethylene, called Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate.

We take quality seriously, as it is the hallmark of our company, and the video explains how we manufacture reliable products.

The video also shows the flagship Easy-Ripe® Generator in use at a tropical fruit ripening center and explains how to set up and operate the user-friendly system.

The virtual tour can be accessed on our web site at here.


Due to snow in the Norfolk area, our offices in Virginia are closed as of 3:30 pm EST.  All freight shipped out today as scheduled, but the inclement weather may delay shipments.  We hope to reopen Thursday, 18 January.

Norfolk Office Reopens Monday, 8th January

snow building

We’ve endured what is a lot of snow for Norfolk and the surrounding area, plus brutally cold temperatures, but we will reopen Monday, January 8th.  Hopefully all freight and parcel services will run so that our shipping schedules will be normal.

Norfolk Office Closed on January 5, 2018

Due to continued difficult driving conditions in the areas around our Norfolk office, we will be closed on Friday, January 5, 2018.  Freight lines are unable to run, and parcel services status is very limited.

A “bomb cyclone?”  Who has ever heard of such a thing?  Whatever you want to call it, it certainly dumped a lot of snow on us, more than we can handle.  Here’s a news article on it for our region.


Norfolk Office Closed January 4, 2018

Due to heavy snow and poor road conditions, Catalytic Generators in Norfolk, VA is closed Thursday, 4th of January.  It’s quite nasty here, especially for a city not used to so much snow.  9+” have fallen and as of 9 am EST Thursday 4th Jan, it’s still coming down.

Details: https://pilotonline.com/

Holiday Schedule 2017-8

Monday, 25th of December: CLOSED

Tuesday, 26th of December: CLOSED

Monday, 1st of January: CLOSED

Ethylene Measurement Solutions

960We’ve recently added a page to our Postharvest tools section that links to the extensive line of ways to measure ethylene.  Ethylene is not the easiest molecule to measure and there are not many methods out there that are affordable or accurate.

Here are their recommended solutions: Ethylene Measurement Solutions

Australia loves Catalytic Generators!


A couple of years ago Catalytic Generators Australia began operations.  Ripeners there have started to see the advantages of our system and many are adapting this safer and easier alternative to antiquated forms of ethylene application. Click below for more info.




Successful PMA

Catalytic Generators & sister company QA Supplies were Gold Sponsors of the Mango Industry Reception during PMA’s Fresh Summit International Convention & Expo in New Orleans, LA. We were glad to see customers and the potential of how ethylene application can help to ripen and sell more mangoes!

PMA Mango 2017fix

36 Years at PMA Fresh Summit!

PMA QA 2017

It is hard to believe that this was our 36th year of exhibiting! As usual, it was a great convention and an amazing show of the power of the fresh produce industry. To the many clients that stopped by, great to see you all again. To those inquiring about doing business with us, we appreciate your visit and the opportunity to supply you with our ethylene application products.

Please contact us (info@catalyticgenerators.com) when we can be of service.

Blog coming soon….

We are adding a blog to our website so that we can quickly post news about Catalytic Generators and ripening-related news and developments.  Check back soon!