When shopping for avocados, there are several things you must consider when determining whether or not the fruit is ripe and ready for use. If you buy or try to use an unripe avocado, it can be dry and tasteless on the inside. You can avoid this and make sure you pick a ripe, fresh and flavourful avocado for your next meal by performing a few simple tests on the fruit prior to consumption.
Pick up the avocado to assess its exterior features. This is the easiest way to tell if your avocado is ripe. The avocado should be dark brown in colour with small hints of purple in it. If the avocado is green on the outside, it is not ripe.
Feel the avocado in your hand. Gently squeeze the fruit in your palms. If the fruit is ripe and ready to be used, it will feel firm but still give in to pressure. If the exterior is hard like an apple, then the avocado is too hard and will need time to ripen. If the avocado is soft and mushy and doesn't retain its shape once pressed on, the fruit is overly ripe and is no longer good.
Hold the avocado in your hand and gently pull off the small stem attached to the top of the fruit. Examine the underside of the stem. If it is brown, the avocado is overly ripe and will probably have brown spots on the inside of the fruit. The underside of the stem should be green to reflect the fresh green colour of the inside of the fruit.
Look over the fruit one last time, examining the exterior of the fruit for bruises, fur or soft spots in the fruit. These are also signs that the fruit may have bad spots in it.
Cut the avocado open when you're ready to use or eat the avocado. The interior should be bright green in colour and slightly soft but not mushy. If this is not what the interior looks like -- if it is hard, dry or brown -- the avocado is not good for use.
If you want to use the fruit in a few days, look for slightly hardened avocados. They will ripen in a few days if you place them in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature.