If I learned nothing else in my four years of undergrad nutrition studies in Southern California, at least I learned the essentials – picking a ripe avocado. (Just kidding – I learned loads of useful info at school, I swear! I just really love avocados, so this lesson seemed to stand out above the rest.) Picking a ripe avocado is easier than you think! We’ve all been there – when we buy what we assume will be the perfect avocado, only to cut it open and it be underripe (milky, hard, difficult to cut) or overripe (browning, mushy, bruised). Let’s save you a lifetime of disappointment and cut to the chase. You can thank me later.
Two quick easy steps:
- Firm around the middle. Give it a GENTLE squeeze and make sure it is firm around the middle. If it’s easily indented and soft, chances are this avocado is overripe already.
- Soft on top, by the stem. This area should have a little give when gently pushed. If it does not, then this avocado is likely underripe and too firm for use right away.
- To ripen your avocado quickly: store it in a paper bag. This helps trap the ethylene gas avocados produces which helps them ripen at a quicker pace. To accelerate ripening even more, add a banana to the bag for more ethylene gas production. Avocados are shelf stable, so store them in room temperature conditions, when possible. Storing them in the refrigerator or cold temperatures will prevent ripening. However, refrigeration may be desired if you buy ripe avocados several days before you plan on using them.
- To prevent browning: When avocados are cut open, they are exposed to oxygen in the air which results in browning. This oxidation is natural, but creates an undesirable visual appeal. To avoid this, add citrus (such as lemon or lime juice) to your avocado to help prevent browning. Leave the pit in the avocado (or guacamole bowl) if possible, to further prevent browning.
Happy shopping avo-lovers!