How to tell a ripe avocado: Easy 3 steps

How to tell a ripe avocado: Easy 3 steps

Isn’t it disappointing to find a dark-colored avocado when you cut it? Here’s how to tell a ripe avocado at the store.

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How to Tell A Ripe Avocado

Avocado is a very healthy and versatile ingredient – by slicing to add it for your burger, smashing for guacamole, sauces, smoothies, ice cream, and pressing for cooking oil, haircare, and skincare, etc.

Does it really suck to see the blackened color spots on avocado when you cut it? Don’t you want to know how to tell if an avocado is ripe or not when you purchase it? Here’s how to tell a ripe avocado:

1. Squeeze It

Cradle the avocado in the palm of your hand and squeeze it very gently. If you do, you will bruise the fruit. But this is a good way to tell a ripe avocado or not.

  • If it yields to light pressure, it’s ripe.
  • If it feels mushy, it’s getting overripe (use it for guacamole!)
  • If there are uneven squishy spots or obvious damage to the skin, it’s probably bruised and brown inside.
  • If it’s completely firm, it’s underripe and gives it another 2-3 days.

2. Check the Nub

When an avocado is picked, the stem is trimmed down, leaving a small nub that looks like a tiny brown button. When you’re selecting your avocado, peel off the stem, and look underneath.

  • If it comes away easily and finds green/yellow underneath, that’s ripe.
  • If it comes off easily and finds black/brown underneath, that’s overripe.
  • If it is difficult to come off and finds pale, it’s underripe.

Having said that, I found a perfectly good avocado with a brown color one underneath the nub. Though I should mention, I kept it in the fridge after a few days of leaving at the counter because it was getting soft. I still find this tip very useful to tell a ripe avocado.

FYI: Missing the nub breaks the seal from the air, so it’s going to ripen much faster than the rest of the avocado. It’s much better to do the squeeze test instead.

3. Check the Color

Depending on the type of avocado, the color of the skin can tell you whether it’s ripe or not. However, it’s a bit tricky – some avocado varieties get darker as they ripen and some don’t. In general, the darker the avocado, the riper it is.

The skin of a ripe Hass avocado (the most common variety) should be deep purple, almost black.

  • If it’s a bright green and glossy, it’s unripe.
  • If darker in color (almost a hunter green with matte looks), it’s ripe.
  • If it’s a deep, dark shade of black, or the fruit has brown, flaky spots, it’s overripe.

Emerald green:
The skin is probably rough and bumpy. It’s a bit difficult to take the stem off. The color underneath should be very pale, light or bright green, and the consistency will be very firm. It should ripen in 3-4 days.

Forest green:
The skin has started to look more pebbled than rough bumps and has a darker shade of green. The nub will likely be tan or light brown. The consistency will be firm and should be ripe in a few days.

The pebbled skin is dark green with hints of purple. Underneath the nub should be tan/light brown color. The consistency will be medium-firm (known as breaking). This avocado will be ripe within 1-2 days.

The skin has a shiny, slightly pebbled texture, and the color may look deep green with a purple tinge or reddish-purple. The color underneath the nub should be light or medium brown. The consistency is somewhat firm, it’s a ripe avocado to eat it within 24 hours or less.

Dark purple or black:
The skin is shiny, smooth, and dark. As it ages, the skin will wrinkle or show slight depressions and may start to look dry or lose its shine. The color of nub underneath should be brown (but not black or moldy). The consistency is soft and it is ready to eat immediately.

How avocado ripes

You see avocado trees everywhere in California. My buddy has huge avocado trees in his backyard and takes it as he needs them – for free!

The fruit doesn’t ripen while on the tree. Normal softening occurs only after they have been picked from the tree.

Avocados must only be picked when mature so they have enough oil content and dry matter. As they grow, the dry matter (made up mostly of carbohydrates) and oil content increase. This contributes to the creamy, soft texture. Avocados picked before they are ready will never produce the oil content, remain rubbery, and will taste bland and watery. According to California law, avocados with less than 8 %t fat should never be picked for sale!

If you find the brown or black spots on the inside of the avocado due to overripe, cut them out and eat the rest of it safely.

FYI: Softening begins at the round end of the fruit and then continues up to the stem end.

How to Quickly Ripen an Avocado

1. Use the oven

Wrap it in tinfoil and place on a baking sheet. Bake it in the oven at 200°F for 10 minutes, or until the avocado is soft (depending on how hard it is, it could take up to 1 hour to soften). Remove it from the oven, then cool it down with iced water.

2. Use a brown paper bag

You can put the avocado alone in the brown paper bag and seal it. Or put banana or apple in a brown paper bag together with avocadoes, close it, and store on your counter. Avocado, apple, and banana produce ethylene gas, which causes the fruit to ripen. By putting apple or banana, it accelerates the process faster. Just check the avocado daily so you won’t overdo it.

3. Fill a brown paper bag with flour

Fill the bottom of a brown paper bag with flour (about 2 inches) and place your avocado inside, making sure to roll the bag shut. This method concentrates the amount of ethylene gas while protecting the fruit from mold and bruising.

Avocado health benefits

Avocado is a superfood with a good source of healthy fats etc. Here’s the complete list of avocado health benefits. Avocado is a star item for Keto diet – a great help for weight loss. It’s a great addition to your smoothies to boost nutritious value easily.

  • Full of vitamins and minerals
  • Healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Low carb
  • Zero sodium, sugar, cholesterol, or trans fat

How to store avocado

  • The ideal temperature to store: about 68 degrees.
  • Unripe avocados should be stored on countertop away from heat, but not in the refrigerator until they are ripe.
  • Don’t store the avocados with bananas and potatoes unless you want to quickly ripen your avocado. They’ll ripe the avocado faster.

Storing a cut avocado

Oxidation makes avocado dark. Once you cut it, eat the portion without the seed first. The seed helps keep the other half fresher in the refrigerator. Then follow the processes to extend the shelf life for 1-2 days:

  1. Rub or spray lemon or lime juice on the flesh.
  2. Wrap it with a plastic wrap
  3. Put in a plastic zip-lock bag. Air out as much as you can.
  4. Place the bagged avocado in a plastic container.
  5. Place the container in the fridge.

When to refrigerate avocado

Once an avocado is ripe, put it in the refrigerator. Eat within 2 days. If you want to slow down the ripening process of an avocado, place it in the fridge before it is ripe. This will not stop the ripening process but it will give the avocado another couple of days before it turns too dark and mushy to eat.

​Freezing avocado

While the whole avocado doesn’t freeze well, but freshly mashed or chunked avocado will do well for up to 3 months. Add in a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice and mix it with the mashed avocado before freezing.

Thawing: in the refrigerator when you are ready to use.

Conclusion: Avocado is a mighty healthy fruit you should include in your diet. Practice the tips and get the ripe avocado every time. You're in charge of ripe avocado! 

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