How to tell if an avocado is ripe

Speedy loves avocados. He splits the fruit open, scoops out and mash the flesh, adds powdered milk and he eats it that way. I don’t eat avocados unless they have been made into guacamole. Seriously. That’s why you don’t see recipes for avocado shake or avocado salad in my food blog. But give me a cup of guacamole and tortillas and I’ll finish them in no time.

Now, I’m not a fan of store-bought guacamole. I like to make guacamole from scratch. It’s really very easy to make (get the recipe). The hardest part is making sure that the avocados are perfectly ripe but not overripe. Unripe avocados are hard as rock and can’t be quickly chopped nor mashed. And they aren’t creamy at all so you won’t get that creamy salsa texture.

On the other hand, if the avocado is overripe, there will be visible root like patterns on the flesh and the flesh turns too mushy that, when mashed, it practically turns into gooey liquid. Avocados: how to tell when they are ripe and how to hasten ripening


So, how can I tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe to make my guacamole?

I don’t go by the color of the skin. Some avocados turn dark purple while still unripe; others remain green even when they reach the perfectly ripe stage. I go by touch of hand. I lightly squeeze the unopened avocado. If the flesh yields lightly, it is almost ripe. If it does not, it is unripe. If it feels soft, it is perfectly ripe. If it feels too soft, it is overripe.

In fruits stalls and groceries, perfectly ripe avocado is rarely sold. That’s because the shelf life is short and, a day later, the avocado will be overripe and can no longer be sold. Ergo, most avocados are sold while still unripe. The natural ripening process can take several days. What if you’re already itching for homemade guacamole? Here’s a trick I read on the web but still haven’t tried.

If Your Avocados are Not Ripe, Here’s How to Ripen Them

Place unripe avocados in a brown paper bag to ripen. This traps the ethylene gas they produce and helps them to ripen. A firm avocado placed in a paper bag will ripen at room temperature in about three to six days. As the fruit ripens, the skin color will darken.

How to Speed Up the Ripening of Your Avocados

Add a tomato, apple or banana to a paper bag in which you have placed an avocado. This will produce more ethylene gas and speed up the ripening process. It will usually only take one to three days to ripen.

Next time I can’t wait for my avocados to ripen, I will surely try that technique.

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How many Carbs in Avocados?

Per results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008, there are many associated health benefits from avocados.  They found those who consumed avocados had:

  1. Significantly higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, overall diet quality
  2. Higher intake of dietary fiber, vitamins E, K, magnesium, and potassium
  3. Lower intakes of added sugars
  4. Improved overall diet quality
  5. Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome

Those are some great reasons to add more avocados to your diet!

When I first started purchasing avocados, I had no idea how to tell which ones were the best to buy.  Here are a few tips you can use to know which avocados to buy.

How to tell if avocado is ripe

  1. The darker the green skin color, the riper the avocado
  2. With two fingers, gently squeeze the avocado.  A ripe avocado should give a little, if it’s hard it will ripen in a couple days, if it is very squishy, it may be overripe.
  3. Use the stem to check for ripeness
    • If you can push off the stem easily it is ripe
    • If the stem does not easily remove, the avocado is not ripe
    • The color under the stem of a ripe avocado should be bright green
    •   If the color under the stem is brown, the avocado is past its prime

how to tell if an avocado is ripe

If the avocado is ripe, the color is a vibrant green under the stem.

  1. Refrigerating avocados slows down the ripening.  It’s a good idea to toss them in the fridge if you don’t plan on using them for several days.
  2. Leaving them on the counter allows ripening quicker
  3. Place avocado in a brown paper bag, fold the top down and leave them on the counter. Placing fruit in a paper bag helps concentrate the levels of ethylene gas which helps ripen the fruit.
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With a sharp knife, tap down into the pit.  Carefully twist the knife until the pit moves.  Discard.

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