The mighty avocado. It’s one of nature’s most complete foods thanks to good-for-you fats, essential fatty acids and phytochemical plus vitamins. It’s a nutritional powerhouse and pretty much has it all going on. When it comes to guacamole, avocado toast, and a salad of just about every kind, our love of avocados runs deep and true—as long so we don’t get a bad one.
Choosing a ripe avocado can be a guessing game. I mean, who hasn’t quizically fondled nearly every avocado at the grocery store or plopped one on the kitchen counter to ripen, felt it, and decided it’s not quite ripe only to return a day or two later and discover it’s turned to mush. Dang! You missed the creamy avocado window.
Depending on how you’re planning on using your avocado will determine what stage of ripeness is best. If your fruit isn’t ripe enough you’ll never be able to peel it or mash it. Too ripe and the avocado flavor is bitter and the texture mealy. So whether you’re mashing it for dip or slicing it for toast, here’s how to pick the best avocado that’s at the perfect stage of ripe every time.
The 3 Stages of a Ripe Avocado
Hard, bright green avocados are 4-7 days away from being ripe. Bright green avocados that are very hard when palmed are still underripe and will have 4 days up to 1 week on the counter before they’re ready to eat. Don’t even try to eat them, as they will be hard and waxy and lack any flavor.
Very dark avocados with flecks of green are ready now. If eating avocados right away, look for dark green, almost black avocados that are firm with a slight flex when squeezed. The inside of these avocados will be bright green against the skin and creamy on the inside, pulling away easily from the pit.
Black avocados with mottled skins are past their prime. These avocados will have a dry, wrinkled skin that’s mushy to the touch. The inside will often have brown spots in the fruit, and will have a bitter taste. There’s no point in trying to save them, just toss away and chalk it up to bad timing.