Avocado: How To Select, Store, and Serve
Jul 24, 2020, Updated Jan 31, 2024
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This post is sponsored by Mission, growers of the world’s finest avocados.
Learn how to select and store avocados + delicious avocado recipes!
Do you find yourself buying avocados with the best intentions, only to find them days later getting mushy in your fridge? Have you ever hacked apart an unripe avocado that you needed for that night’s dinner recipe?
Avocados are a delightful, nutritious addition to your meals, but there are some tricks to picking the right ones. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to select and store avocados so you can cut into buttery green perfection every time! We also have some delicious avocado-centric recipes for you to test out your new avocado-handling skills.
How To Select Avocados
Hass avocados, the kind grown by Mission farmers, are the rough-skinned variety you’ll commonly find in the grocery store. Mission avocados hail from countries around the world, but you can find avocados in all stages of ripeness in your produce section.
According to the avocado experts at Mission, avocados undergo five stages of ripeness after harvest:
- Hard: Freshly-picked avocados will be very hard with no give at all.
- Pre-conditioned: Once the ripening process begins, avocados will begin to soften. Pre-conditioned avocados will still be hard with little to no give.
- Breaking: The ripening process is fully underway in these avocados but not yet complete. If they yield slightly to pressure, they’re only a couple days from ripeness.
- Firm-ripe: When avocados yield slightly to gentle pressure, they’re ready to eat! The flesh will still be firm, perfect for cubing or slicing.
- Ripe: Fully ripe avocados will be somewhat soft and yield easily to gentle pressure. They’re ideal for mashing at this stage.
Mission has a cool visual demonstration on each of these stages here!
While the color of an avocado can give you an idea of how ripe it is, it isn’t an absolute indicator of ripeness. The best way to determine ripeness is through feel. The avocado should have the same level of softness all the way around.
When selecting an avocado, pay attention to the size as well as the ripeness and pick the right size to suit your needs. Use small avocados for garnishes, sandwich toppings, smoothies, or baby food. Large avocados are great for tacos, sushi, and toast. Looking for a party-sized amount? Pick up some jumbo-sized avocados. They’re perfect for large salads, guacamole, and party platters. Or get adventurous and use them for stuffed avocados!
But don’t let the size of the avocados you have at home limit your cuisine options. There is an occasion for every avocado.
We have also put together a FREE DOWNLOADABLE activity sheet for kids to learn more about the ripening stages of avocados.
How To Store Avocados
Timing is the name of the game when you select and store avocados. Will you need them tonight? In a few days? Choose based on ripeness to make sure your avocado is ready when you need it. But if you’re not bringing home a ripe avocado to eat right away, storing them is easy.
At room temperature, avocados will progress through the five levels of ripeness in about as many days. That means if you buy a breaking avocado, it will be fully ripe in just two to three days when left on your countertop. Mission uses AVOLAST Powered By Hazel®, a premier post-harvest program, to extend the shelf life of their avocados; you’re less likely to find that your avocados have gone bad unexpectedly!
If you need to speed up the ripening process, place your avocados in a brown paper bag with an apple or a banana. Leave the bag closed on a counter or windowsill for one to two days. Check on them regularly and don’t forget about them! Apples and bananas give off a gas call ethylene while ripening, which can stimulate the process in other fruits like avocados.
Keep your avocados out of the fridge until they’re ripe! Once they have reached the desired level of ripeness, they will maintain it for several days in the refrigerator.
Teach your kids more about the the most nutritious fruit known to man, the avocado, with Mission’s Avocado Activity Book! It’s full of facts and games to keep your kids occupied while you get cooking.
How To Serve Avocados
Now that you know how to select and store avocados, let’s take a look at some of the delicious things you can do with them:
This simple recipe brings a delightful mix of summer flavors that’s fun to eat!
When we say you can put avocado in anything, we’re not kidding! Here’s a handy trick for your next brownie batch.
Is toast any good without avocado? We don’t remember! This avocado toast recipe from Mission is a hearty meal for any time of day.
The base of this soup is a puréed blend of sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, and chicken broth. The star is the avocado!
For even more recipe ideas, follow our Avocado Pinterest Board.
Are you an avocado aficionado? Do you make it your mission to whip up the best avocado recipes? Look for Mission Avocados during your next grocery run and let us know what you create with them. Share in the comments below, or tag us in your recipe photos on Instagram @theproducemoms and @missionavocados.