Similar to other fruits that grow on trees, avocados do not ripen on the tree. They are harvested and then they ripen after they have been picked. It can be difficult to look at an avocado and know whether or not it is ripe, but here are a few tips to help you with this task.
Look at the Color of the Avocado
Avocados are green when they are picked, and if you buy them green, they are four to five days away from being ripe. Good avocados will vary from dark green to nearly black. Normally, the greener avocados are not ripe. When avocados are black, they are normally more likely to be ripe. Make sure that the outer skin is free of indentations, as this may be a sign of rough handling during shipping.
You should also look at the texture of the skin. If the avocado is ripe, the skin will be bumpy. If it is smooth, it is not ripe yet.
Feel the Avocado
This is the best way to determine whether your avocado is ripe. Start by taking the avocado in your hand, and you can squeeze it gently. Do not apply too much pressure because you don’t want to bruise it. If the avocado doesn’t give at all, it is not ripe yet.
You should buy the avocado before it is ripe, when it is “breaking.” This is the term they use for an avocado that will be ripe in one to two days. It should have a soft feel, but it should not give when you apply pressure. When it is ready to eat, it will feel somewhat soft, but not mushy. When you press gently on it, there will be some give. You need to eat it that day because they spoil quickly.
Check the Stem
You should see a small stem or cap on one end of the avocado. This is where it was attached to the tree. You can peel it back, and the stem should come away very easily. The avocado underneath should be green. If it is brown, the avocado is overripe, and if the avocado is not ripe, the stem will not come off easily, if at all.
It is important to know that your avocado is ripe before you peel it. If it is not ripe yet, it will be hard to mash into guacamole. Try these tips for the perfectly ripe avocado.