How to tell if an avocado is actually ripe when shopping

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to avocados what else can you go off of? Successfully picking out a ripe avocado can feel like wizardry. Just when you think you know the rules, you cut one in half and are met with an inside that’s either too hard, or too soft and browning. 

Since making guacamole shouldn’t be this hard, we consulted the Hass Avocado Board on how to tell if an avocado is ripe. 

Avocados are tricky because they are climacteric fruits, which means they continue to ripen after they’re picked. Which isn’t always a bad thing because if you buy an unripe avocado, at least it will mature eventually. So how can you tell what point an avocado is at in its ripening process? According to the Board, there are 5 stages of ripeness.

Stage 1: Hard

This is when an avocado is straight off the tree. It’s bright green and very hard to the touch. If left at room temperature, an avocado at this stage will be ripe in approximately 5+ days. 

Stage 2: Pre-Conditioned

At this stage, the avocado has started to ripen but it is still quite firm. If left at room temperature, an avocado at this stage will be ripe in approximately 4-5 days. 

Stage 3: Breaking

These avocados are almost ripe and vary in color. They have started to soften and give slightly when pressure is applied. If left at room temperature, an avocado at this stage will be ripe in approximately 2 days. 

Stage 4: Firm-Ripe

The avocado is ripe. Avocados at this stage are darker green and give to gentle finger pressure. At this point, the avocado is best suited to be sliced or cubed. 

Stage 5: Ripe (Soft)

This kind of ripe avocado is softer than the previous. Its skin is dark and it gives much more easily to gentle pressure. An avocado at this stage is best for mashing. 

Storing your avocado.

Storing an avocado depends on where it’s at in its ripening process. If you have an unripe avocado, leave it out on the counter where it will continue to ripen. You could also store it in the fridge where it will ripen at a slower rate. If you have a ripe avocado on your hands, you should eat it as soon as possible. If you don’t plan on eating a ripe avocado soon after purchase, you can put it in the fridge to slow the ripening process slightly. 

Happy avocado hunting!

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