There's nothing more disappointing than cutting into the beloved superfood and realizing that it's not quite ready to be guacamole. Here's the good news: There are quite a few ways you can learn how to spot a ripe avocado among the unripe pieces of produce. (Psst: While avocados are on your mind, you might want to brush up on the best ways to ripen avocados quickly in a pinch.)
How to Tell If an Avocado Is Ripe By Color and Feel
According to the company Avocados From Mexico, looking at the color of the avocado's skin is a great clue as to whether it's ripe yet or not. Ripe avocados tend to have a skin color that is dark green to black. So if it still bears a lighter hue, it might not be worth purchasing, especially if you plan on making some yummy avocado toast for brunch that same day. That said, if you have a few days to spare and don't mind waiting for your tasty meal, feel free to toss it in your grocery cart.
But if you're anything like us and you simply can't wait to slice that superfood open, gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand before making a snap decision. According to the California Avocado Commission, ripe avocados should be firm yet also yield to gentle pressure. If it doesn't, it's not ready to eat. Tip: Don't try to squeeze any avocado with your fingertips. Experts at the Hass Avocado Board say this type of mishandling can cause bruising on the fruit. That sure won't make an avocado any more appetizing — even after it's ripened!
How to Tell If an Avocado Is Ripe By the Stem
If you're worried about squeezing an avocado too hard or if you find yourself second-guessing the color of the avocado, you'll be happy to know that there is an alternative way to tell if an avocado is ripe. According to University of Iowa Extension and Outreach, all you have to do is pull back the small stem or "cap" at the top of the avocado. If the stem comes off easily and you see a yellow or green shade underneath, then the avocado should be ready for all your delicious recipes.
If you find yourself struggling to pull the stem off, however, that's a sign that the avocado isn't ripe yet and that it still needs at least a few days before it is. Alternatively, if you see brown underneath the stem, that means that the avocado is overripe and probably has a bunch of brown spots inside. Don't waste your time — or your hard-earned cash — on trying to resurrect that one. Not worth it!
Now that you know how to tell if an avocado is ripe, learn about the ways to get the most out of the superfood that go way beyond guacamole.