June 10

The Secret to a Perfectly Ripe Avocado


by Julie Baker

Avocados are amazingly healthy and tasty. With tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, they provide benefits for your heart, blood sugar, digestive health and mood. There’s just one problem: figuring out how to keep your avocados from turning brown.

The Perfect Avocado Challenge

It can be tricky to catch avocados at the perfect state of ripeness. At first, it seems like it takes forever for them to ripen. Then, when they finally start to get softer, they go from temptingly firm to a mushy brown mess in a day!

At the Store: How Can You Choose the Ideal Avocado?

Avocado lovers know that choosing wisely makes a huge difference. What should you look for?

  • Avoid fruit with large black spots: Avocados are extremely sensitive to bruising. Damaged areas may spoil.
  • Pick avocados that are dark green: Light green means the avocado still has a long way to go. Dark green is closer, and black is a day away at most.
  • Give the avocado a gentle squeeze: When an avocado is nearly ripe, it should feel softer but still firm. Anything mushy at the store is too far gone.

How ripe should an avocado be when you buy it? If you’re planning on chopping it up the same day, choose one that yields to gentle pressure in your hand. Otherwise, a dark green avocado that still has three or four days to ripe is your best bet.

The Easiest Way To Tell If Your Avocado Is Ripe

This tip always works, but don't do it at the store (or not when people are looking, wink, wink):

  • Try to remove the stem cap: Most avocados still have part of the stem attached. If the cap doesn’t come off, the avocado needs several days still. If the cap pops off easily, that's a good sign.
  • Look at the flesh underneath: Light green or yellow flesh means the avocado is ripe. It’s time to eat!
Remove brown areas: If you see brown under the stem cap, parts of the avocado are probably mushy inside. The good news is that you can often just chop them off and enjoy the rest of the fruit to your heart’s content.

Tricks for Keeping Avocados Ripe Longer

If you want mouthwatering avocado toast with silky green slices, you need to be prepared. Here are a few tips for keeping avocados wonderful:

  • Store ripe avocados in the fridge: Besides the fact that many people prefer chilled avocados in salads, the fridge can help slow down the ripening process.
  • Use olive oil or lemon juice: A cut avocado turns brown for the same reason cut apples do. The process is called oxidation. You can slow it down by covering exposed areas with olive oil or lemon juice. Choose the one that goes with your recipe the best.
  • Slow down ripening with onions: To keep half an avocado tasty for several days, put it in an airtight container with a chopped onion underneath. Onion vapors can slow down ripening and browning.
  • Don’t scoop the flesh: If you’re saving half an avocado for supper, don’t peel it or take out the pit! The less of the fruit exposed to air, the fresher it stays. Cover the top half with plastic wrap in the fridge.

This delicious fruit makes for a nutritious breakfast or lunch on the go. You can enjoy classic avocado toast, give breakfast burritos extra pizazz, or add healthy fats to your favorite tropical smoothie.


Avocado, Food, Healthy

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