You need a strategy if you’re going to the supermarket with the plan to buy an avocado for tonight’s dinner. For a beginner, all avocados look the same at first glance, but they’re not. Other fruits give you a visual signal that they’re ripe and ready to eat. But with avocados, you need a little bit of experience, and in general, you need to take two factors into consideration, color and texture, to choose the perfect one for the same day or for meals you’ve got planned for later in the week.
In general, Avocados from Mexico tend to darken in color as they progress in their maturation. You should compare a few avocados; look at several, comparing their color, noting the greenest one to the darkest one. The darkest one tends to be the ripest one, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ready to eat right now. There’s another test that’s more effective in making a decision about avocado ripeness, and the reason is because the darkest one might simply be the one that’s been on display longer than the others. Keep in mind that not all avocados in your produce section are picked at the same time, nor do they share the same rate of maturation.
This factor, texture, is the real test when it comes to choosing which avocados you should buy for dinner. The test is simple. Take a few avocados in your hand (one at a time!) and give them a gentle squeeze to see which ones cede to your touch. Don’t push the tips of your fingers into the skin; this can damage them and give you a false signal that they’re ready. If the avocado yields under gentle pressure, it’s ripe. Now that you know about color and texture, you can determine an avocado’s state of ripeness!
Always keep in mind that avocados can take three to four days to ripen if they’re firm to the touch when you buy them. This is important to know if you want to plan a meal in advance. Need to speed along ripening? Check out this tip from Chef Pati Jinich.