How To Tell If An Avocado Is Ripe
This is how you tell if an avocado is ripe
Do you want to know how to tell if an avocado is ripe? If you do, you’ve come to the right place. This article outlines four methods used to tell if an avocado is ripe and ready to eat… but first, let me share the experience that inspired me to write this article.
Operation guac and chips
After work one night I went to my local Whole Foods to pick up some dinner. I had an intense craving for guacamole, so I headed straight for the chip aisle and grabbed some tortilla chips (Mi Nina White Corn Tortilla Chips, to be exact). As my hunger for guac and chips grew (evident by the primal rumbles that vibrated from my stomach), I zoomed over to the produce section and spotted the avo-mountain.
The avocado display showcased a glorious pyramid of large, pear shaped and pulpy green fruit. It was time to make my selection. I braced myself – I knew this would take some time, because, on average, the perfectionist in me as well as my slightly OCD personality (about certain things) doesn’t settle for a quick, grab-n-go situation. Fruits tend to get a lot of attention from me before the perfect (or what I think is ideal) one lands in my cart.
Lift, rotate, squeeze, put back, repeat.
I did this a few times and settled on two avos that I thought were great. Snatched my other ingredients (jalapeño, tomatillo, limes, etc.) and brought them to the checkout line. My “perfect avocados” cost $4. Next, I jumped into the Jeep and drooled the entire ride home… I was so stoked to make some delicious guac later that night!
Knife, meet avocado
Once home, it was time for me to prep my highly anticipated culinary masterpiece. I reached for my knife and carefully sliced into avocado #1.
I couldn’t believe what I saw. Shock and dismay riddled my face as brown streaks and slimy greenish-brown mush stared up at me. Ugh. “No worries,” I thought to myself – “I still have another avocado.” The next cut proved to be more of the same. The second avocado was also mush!
The delicious snack I had craved all day was ruined. I had to abort my master plan. These avocados were killjoys and brought overripeness and disappointment into my life.
Alright – I made my story a bit more dramatic than it needed to be, but I think you get the point. Most of us have been in the same position. You think you chose right, only to find out later the avocado you chose was sub par. It’s such a bummer!
Luckily, all of this can be avoided. The tips I am about to share with you will remove the guesswork out of the avocado selection process. By using visual and tactile tricks, you can select avocados that are perfect and ready to eat.
An avocado’s exterior tells 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.
This is how to tell if an avocado is ripe
These four methods help you determine if an avocado is ripe:
- Skin color method
- Skin texture method
- Firmness method
- Stem method
I will now break each method down for you.
1. Skin color
An avocado with a darker skin is usually riper than one with a lighter skin.
- Visually 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
Dimpled/dented skin texture of an avocado may be a sign that it is overripe 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. Avoid these avocados.
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.
- When 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 avocado stems in a grocery store just to find one or two pieces of fruit is a douchey move – it 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’s how:
- 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/underripe.
- When 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. Avoid this.
- If the color underneath is a bright, yellow-green color, it is ripe and ready to be eaten.
How do YOU tell if an avocado is ripe?
Talk to me! I have shared my go-to techniques in choosing the perfect avocado – now it’s your turn.
- What method(s) do you use to select a ready-to-eat avocado?
- What is your favorite way to eat an avocado?
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When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.