How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe
Does the following scenario sound familiar to you? You trek all of the way to the market, hem and haw in front of the avocado display until you find what you think is the “perfect” avocado. You spend $2.50 (or more) on said avocado(s), leave the store with your precious cargo and head home. During your trip home, drool forms on your lips as you daydream about making a delicious guacamole, hearty salad, or main dish that highlights avocado as the featured ingredient.
You get home and begin prepping for your highly anticipated masterpiece, reach over for your knife, and carefully slice into your $3 avocado. Looking down, you can’t believe what you see. Shock and dismay riddle your face as you discover that brown streaks and slimy greenish-brown mush is staring up at you. The delicious meal that you have been craving all day is ruined. You need to abort your master plan. Either you give up entirely, or go back to the store with the hopes of finding a more appropriate and appealing avocado. This avocado has become a killjoy. Instead of a non-bruised, ripe avocado, you got overripeness and disappointment.
If you can relate to this, you are not alone. I have been through it before and it sucks… but it can be avoided! By using visual and tactile tricks, you can remove all guesswork during the avocado selection process. An avocado’s exterior can tell a lot about what’s happening inside, and if you pay attention to the clues its color, texture, and firmness provide, you will select a perfectly ripe avocado each time. Here are four methods you can use to tell if an avocado is ripe.
1. Skin color
An avocado with a darker skin is usually riper than one with a lighter skin.
- Scan the avocados in front of you.
- The avocados with darker green-to-black skin colors may be riper than those with with lighter skins.
2. Skin texture
Skin texture can help you decide whether or not an avocado is ripe or rotten.
- First, check the outer skin of the avocado for any large indentations or softness.
- An avocado with dented skin may be bruised and not ideal for eating.
A ripe avocado is relatively firm, but will yield to gentle pressure when squeezed gently.
- Place the avocado in the palm of your hand.
- Gently squeeze the avocado without applying pressure from your fingertips, as this can cause bruising.
- If the avocado yields to firm, gentle pressure, it is ripe and ready to eat.
- If the avocado does not yield to gentle pressure, it is “firm” and will be ripe in a couple of days.
- If the avocado feels mushy or very soft to the touch, it may be very ripe to overripe.
A simple way to determine the ripeness of an avocado is to flick off the stem and look underneath. I recommend using this technique after you have purchased the avocado. Popping off stems belonging to several avocados in a grocery store just to find one or two ripe pieces of fruit is wasteful and inconsiderate to other shoppers and market owners. It also compromises the ripening process of the avocado. Only flick stems in the comfort of your own home. 😉
If you decide to use the stem method, here is what you do.
- Find the small brown stem on the top of the avocado.
- Pull on the stem.
- If the stem does not pull off, the avocado is not ready.
- If the stem comes off easily, look at the color underneath.
- If the color underneath the stem is brown, the avocado is overripe and its flesh will most likely be brown, bruised, rotten, and/or mushy.
- If the color underneath is a bright, yellow-green color, it is ripe and ready to be eaten.
What methods do you use?
I have shared my go-to techniques in choosing the perfect avocado.
- What method(s) do you use to select a ready-to-eat avocado?
- Please share your tips in the comment section below.
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When she is not helping others to slay fat, build muscle, and live amazing lives, Jennifer can be found exploring the outdoors with her dogs, cooking, traveling and playing/coaching lacrosse. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.