There may be no greater single disappointment on this Earth than going out of your way to purchase an avocado, wait a few days for it to reach the perfect level of ripeness, and cut into it, only to discover a stringy, brown mess. But, once you learn how to tell if an avocado is ripe, there is no longer any need for panic.
You can breath easy about your guacamole-making plans. You can stop worrying about whether or not your toast will be made all the more Instagram-worthy with the addition of some smashed avocado. With the perfect avocado, the possibilities are truly endless. And all it takes is a little bit of effort, some observations, and the right timing to get that light green perfection.
The most important thing to remember? Getting a good avocado is a process that starts in the store. What you need to look out for when you are picking one out is the stem. That little nubby stem at the top of an avocado is a good indicator of what's inside, and all you need to do is know the three different things that it can tell you about the fruit before you buy it. The next time you grab an avocado, flick off the stem, and check to see what it looks like.
If You See Bright Green Or Yellow
Congratulations! You, my friend, have scored yourself a ripe avocado. That means it is good to eat as soon as you buy it. However, depending on your consistency preference, waiting a day could result in slightly softer flesh. The color of an avocado's skin does not always point towards ripeness, since different types of avocados are naturally darker or lighter, so be careful of judging the fruit by its outer peel rather than the part under the stem. If the color under the avocado's stem is bright, and if the avocado itself gives into pressure with just a slight squeeze, then it's good to go. Go on, and learn how to cut an avocado the right way.
If You See Brown
Oh, well. This is one avocado that was left to go bad before it could get its chance in the spotlight. A brown color under the stem shows that there is a high possibility for dark spots, and that the whole fruit itself could be inedible already. Leave this one behind. There are other fish in the sea, and other avocados to eat.
If The Stem Won't Budge
Then don't force it! Avocados ripen only after they are picked, so it's highly likely that many avocados you'll find in a supermarket haven't yet reached their peak ripeness. These are still good to buy, so long as you're patient with them. With the right avocado-ripening techniques, the fruit will be set in about two days. Not a bad deal at all — just plan to try some unique avocado recipes a few days after you buy the fruit.
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