How to Pick the Perfect Ripe Avocado

Avocado on board

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Shopping for the perfect avocado can be a challenge, and it’s only an additional challenge if you’re looking for an avocado that you can use that same day immediately. Usually, if you buy an avocado, you’ll need to plan some of your vegetables around the avocado as you wait for it to ripen. So, if you’re looking for how to pick the right avocado, you’re not alone. However, this fruit doesn’t have to get the best of you. We have some of the best tips for picking the right avocado, whether you’re making guacamole, shrimp tacos, or anything else!

How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe

Did you know that fresh avocados are not ripe on the tree? While some fruits like apples or peaches can be immediately picked and eaten, the same isn’t said for avocados. Instead, they’ll need to be softened right after they’re harvested. While skin color can help determine the freshness of an avocado, it’s not always the best indicator. Essentially, ripeness is going to be determined by consistency

This means that the color can be misleading since the softening stage of the avocado isn’t just independent of the color alone. When it comes to whole foods, it’s best to stay well-informed, and we have a variety of free resources that can help you and your Family learn more about the magical world of fruits and veggies!

Related: Mushroom Vegan Tacos

How to Pick the Perfect Avocado

Here are some tips for picking the perfect avocado at the supermarket. Never again will you have to wait days to get that ripened avocado that you’re after!

Life Cycle of Avocado

Press Down by the Stem

You’ll need to keep in mind that avocados are very delicate! A quick light squeeze is all that you’re going to need. You don’t need to press on the sides wither. A harsh squeeze will bruise the avocado, which will ultimately leave this to go to waste. So, instead, you’ll want to press down lightly; think about applying the same pressure as you would if you were clicking on a computer mouse

Make sure to apply this pressure at the top of the avocado by the step. If you apply pressure and it has some shape, it’s ready to eat. If not, and your finger leaves a dent in it, this could mean that the avocado is overripe and may be brown on the inside.

Avoid Dark Blemishes

As stated earlier, the color of avocado doesn’t always determine the ripeness. This is entirely true, but you can still check an avocado based on the color. If you see any dark blemishes on the skin, it’s a sign that it could be past its prime.

Don’t Worry About Texture

Just as you shouldn’t always rely on color, the same can be said about texture too. For example, the avocado skin doesn’t notify you of the avocado’s ripeness. Besides, different avocado varieties will have different textures; for example, the tropical avocado has a smooth skin while the Hass has a pebbling texture.

Related: Learn more about the tropical avocado here!

Don’t Rely on Color

The California Avocado Commission states that color isn’t going to tell the whole story about an avocado. Since there are such wide varieties, indicating by color isn’t going to be a “one size fits all.” The Hass Avocado is a great example; it turns black as it ripens, and some avocados will turn a lighter green as they ripen. So you’ll need to check the avocado variety that you’re buying before you can judge by color. But of course, doing a squeeze test will still be the best way to check whether it’s ripe or not.

Shake things up in your kitchen! Check out all the delicious recipes from The Produce Moms®!

Be Patient

Sometimes, all you can do is stay patient, especially if you have already purchased your avocado. The unripe green avocados will stay this way from four to seven days after purchase. However, this can vary. You may need to sit and play the waiting game. But there can be some ways to help speed up the ripening process. You should first avoid putting your avocado in the fridge, as this will slow the ripening process. Instead, have it sit somewhere such as your kitchen counter; check the temperature in your kitchen, so it doesn’t ripen too quickly.

a basket of green avocados

The Key Indicators of Ripeness

While color and textures are not the best ways to tell if an avocado is ripe, let’s explore some key indicators that can determine the ripeness of an avocado.

Firm Not Ripe

When doing the pressure test on the avocado and it remains firm, know that it will be ripe within a few days. The firm unripe fresh avocados will appear to be a bright green color. These are excellent for purchasing several days in advance. You can place these in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana to speed up the ripening process. Why this? Well, fruits such as apples and bananas let out ethylene gas, which helps speed up the ripening process.

Breaking -Almost Ripe

Also known as “breaking,” this is when an avocado is almost ripe. These can vary in color, but it is still advisable to go with how it feels. These will have a soft touch but not quite gentle pressure. You can have these sitting out at room temperature for a couple of days, and they’ll ripen.

Related: Learn how to select the perfect avocado here!

Ripe Ready to Eat

Ripe and ready-to-eat avocados will have darker colors, but this can vary. So it’s ideal to go by how it feels. It’s soft, but it doesn’t feel mushy when touching it. This can be perfect for using that very day. But if you’re not planning on eating this avocado that day, it’s highly recommended to put it in a fridge.

Overripe Past Ripe

These can feel quite mushy when touching it. These may also have a stinky smell that could be compared to the scent of a squash. It’s best not to eat avocado when it goes bad.

avocado sliced in half with the pit

Final Thoughts

Overall, since there are such wide varieties of avocados, you can’t simply expect the ripening process or indicators to all be the same. However, the pressure test will be the best way to check its ripeness.

So, while shopping for avocados can remain a challenge, and even eating them when they’re ripe, staying informed can make all the difference in your cooking experience. If you want to know the best ways to take care of whole foods and how you can cook with them, then feel free to check out more of what the Produce Moms have in store!

Avocado Ripeness Indicator

Why not join the mission with The Produce Moms® and add more fruits and veggies to your Family’s diet? From the benefits of fresh produce to it going on your dinner plate, you can educate yourself and your Family here!

Pinterest Pin: Making Guacamole

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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