How many times have you come home from your local grocery store, certain that you’ve got yourself the perfectly ripe avocados, only to find that they are not ripe(or overripe) yet?
The good news is you’re not alone. Picking out the perfect, ready-to-eat avocado may seem tough, but it really doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to let this temperamental fruit get the better of you – because after all having avocado as snacks or desserts should be an enjoyment to yourself! And that is why we’ve rounded up these tips and tricks for finding the perfect avocado.
You may think by looking at the skin color of avocados you’d be able to guess the ripeness level. However, that’s far from the truth. Skin color is not the best indicator for ripeness; color can sometimes be misleading as avocados soften at a varying rate, independent of the color.
What are the key indicators of ripeness? Read on to learn more about the stages of avocado ripeness, and how to choose the perfect avocado at your local grocery store!
Table of Content
What is an Avocado?
Firstly, here’s a brief introduction of avocados: A pear-shaped fruit with bumpy, dark green skin and light green flesh, avocados are classified under the same fruit family cluster as peaches, apricots, and plums – known as drupes a.k.a stone fruits! The reason why they are called that is that they each have a pit in the center, whether it’s big or small.
Avocado has a distinctive texture that separates it from the rest of the fruits. It’s especially creamy, buttery, and nutty, which is why it can complement many different types of dishes from Mexican tacos to European toasts!
The 5 Stages of Ripeness
The first step to ensuring that avocados are served at their peak of freshness and flavor is understanding the stages of ripeness for Hass avocados. Another good way to judge its ripeness is also to feel for uniform softness.
|Stage||Texture||Characteristics||Ripening Process||Physical Appearance|
|Stage 1||Hard||Fresh off the tree, avocado is hard with no give||Needs more than 5 days until ripe at room temperature||Very green|
|Stage 2||Pre-conditioned||Ripening has begun, but avocado is still firm||Needs 4-5 days until ripe at room temperature||Mostly green with black hues|
|Stage 3||Breaking||As it ripens, the avocado is firm but yields slightly to pressure||Needs 2 days until ripe at room temperature||Brown with few green hues|
|Stage 4||Firm-Ripe||Avocado is ripe and yields slightly to gentle pressure||Ripe, and best for slices and cubes||85% black with a few green hues|
|Stage 5||Ripe||Avocado is ripe and yields easily to gentle pressure||Ripe, and best for mashing and guacamole||95% black|
Here’s How to Choose an Avocado
Making delicious avocado dishes will require not only choosing but also thinking of ways to store the avocados properly at home. And it all comes down to ripeness.
So what are the key indicators of ripeness?
Color + Feel + Firmness
To pick the perfect, ready-to-eat avocado, you’d need to look for all of these traits! Just by looking at the color is not enough to tell if an avocado is perfect (or ripe) to be brought home.
Follow this guide to have a better understanding of the ways to choose a perfectly ripe avocado and also signs to look out for when avoiding picking overripe or underripe avocados!
It’s natural to think the color of avocado should be the top indicator during the selection process; after all, it’s the first aspect you see when you are out for grocery shopping.
In general, avocados will turn dark green or black as it ripens. If the color of the avocado is still green, it means the avocado is still unripe!
Feel & Firmness
The next indicator to look out for when selecting a ripe avocado is feel – start feeling the texture of the avocados at your local grocery store before you decide them home.
You can check to see if the avocado is ripe by giving it a quick squeeze, but never press in on the sides. Why? Because doing so can bruise the beautiful green part which you will ultimately eat. Instead, here’s what you should do – Press down lightly (about the same amount of pressure you’d use to press the sides of the avocado) on the top of the avocado by the stem. If it gives easily and retains its shape, the avocado is ripe and ready to eat. If your finger leaves a dent, the avocado is likely overripe and could be brown inside.
Things to Avoid When Choosing an Avocado
Color – This aspect of avocado selection does not necessarily determine the ripeness of an avocado entirely as there are hundreds of different varieties of avocados, each with a different set of color tones when ripened.
The Hass avocados, for example, turn dark green or black as it ripens, whereas the Shepard avocados (less common in Singapore) stay as shiny green even when it has ripened.
Hence, always check the variety of the avocado before purchasing and avoid choosing an avocado just based on its color.
Bruising – If the avocado – which you have taken an interest in – has large bruises, breaks in the skin, or has areas that are over-soft, avoid buying it entirely! It’s likely overripe, and you might have to toss it away as soon as you slice it open.
Timing – When you are buying avocados, a good rule of thumb is to plan ahead and think of when you’ll be using the avocados. If you’re planning to use them within the next 1-2 days, you can follow all the tips outlined above. But if you’re planning to wait a little longer and use these avocados 3-5 days later, avoid those that have already darkened with a few greenish hues, but instead select ones that are still green and quite firm!
Still Unripe? Follow these Tips for Ripening Avocados
If you have accidentally bought unripe avocados but don’t know what to do about it, don’t worry as there are things that you can do that will speed up the ripening process. Sure, you may leave the avocado outside at room temperature but how long would that take before the avocado ripens to your desired ripeness?
That’s why I’ve come up with the following tips which you could follow through for the avocado to ripen faster than expected!
If you happen to have a banana at home, place it along with the avocado in a brown paper bag. Why? Because bananas produce ethylene gas, which helps fruits ripen faster. The paper bag helps to trap the gas and make it more effective in the ripening process.
If you don’t have bananas at home, you could also switch them up by using uncooked rice. Uncooked rice is also good for ripening avocados! Leave the avocado in a bowl filled with uncooked rice and make sure it’s covered on all sides. A few days later, the avocado should be good to eat.
One last trick is perhaps the most obvious one. Place the avocado in the sun, and let the sunlight work its magic. The warmth from the sunlight will help the avocado ripen quicker!