If you love Mexican food, chances are that you have had avocados, too. After all, they are native to the region. So whether it was guacamole or a sliced avocado topping, you know it enhances any Mexican dish. That being said, nothing is as disappointing as buying an avocado, bringing it home and finding out it’s unripe, especially when you were looking forward to that creamy, ripe flavor and texture. It’s vital knowing how to tell if an avocado is ripe or not to avoid this regret.
The window between a ripe avocado and an unripe avocado – or even an overripe avocado – is pretty slim, as most avocado lovers know. That is why having some tricks on how to tell if an avocado is ripe and creamy can be so helpful.
Removing the avocado’s stem gives a peek into how ripe or unripe the avocado is. The ripeness is determined by the color underneath the removed stem and how easy it was to remove it.
To remove the stem, use your fingertips. If the stem was difficult to remove and shows mostly pale green underneath, it is not ripe.
If the step broke off easily and shows a green/yellow/brown mixture, you are in luck!
However, if it broke off but shows only brown, it is overripe.
Please keep in mind that this is not a good test to do at the grocery store. Removing the stem is like removing the avocado’s seal to freshness. You don’t want to ruin the avocados for everyone else.
This trick, on the other hand, is good for those grocery store runs.
Take the avocado into the palm of your hand and gently squeeze without using your fingertips; they can bruise the avocado. The goal is for the avocado to handle the slight pressure without being mushy or squishy.
If the skin is hard and firm, it is not ripe. On the other hand, if the skin completely deflates, it is overripe.
A good comparison is that you are looking for the consistency of squeezing a stress ball, not a tennis ball.
If you want an avocado for immediate use, the skin should be dark green, nearly deep purple or black, color with bumpy skin.
Unripe avocadoes are usually a lighter, brighter green with tight, smooth skin. Overripe avocados are basically brown.
Avoid any avocados with skin blemishes or bruises, as they are probably not good underneath the skin.
If you thought an avocado was ripe and cut into it but now aren’t sure if it is ripe, there is one more trick.
Try to remove the seed, or pit, from the avocado. If it is difficult to remove, it is not ripe yet.
With that being said, you have now cut into your avocado, meaning oxidation has begun. If you decide you want to store the avocado for a few days and let it ripen a bit more, here is what you do.
Sprinkle the “meat” with a tablespoon of lime juice, lemon juice or white vinegar. Then put the avocado halves back together to limit the amount of exposed “meat.” Leaving the pit also helps it last a bit longer. Place the avocado into an airtight container or surround it with plastic wrap. Finally, place it in the fridge, where it should last for a day or two.
For those that don’t have the time or energy to determine if an avocado is ripe or not, don’t worry. At Benny’s Tacos, we always use ripe, creamy avocados so you are never disappointed.
Order online from our Santa Monica, Westchester or Culver City location so you can eat some of the best Mexican food – and avocadoes – ever!