How to Choose, Store and Prepare Avocados

26/Feb/16 / 21:30

Avocados are one of the “it” items in the produce section – and for good reason. Not only are they delicious and versatile, but they’re also known as a “super food” packed with 20 vitamins and minerals in each serving, including potassium, B vitamins and vitamins C and E. But, to the uninitiated, choosing and using avocados can be a little confusing. How do you choose a good one, and what do you do with it?


Types of Avocado

There are several varieties of avocados, but the Hass avocado is the kind most commonly sold in the U.S., according to Whole Foods. Hass avocados have the familiar coarsely textured skin, which starts out green and gradually turns black as it ripens. The buttery, light green flesh is quintessentially known as the basis for guacamole. And, lucky for Northern Illinois shoppers, Hass avocados are available year-round, according to Food Republic. There are many other varieties of avocado that might pop up in local grocery stories – Food Republic gives a rundown of some of the less common avocado types.


Choosing an Avocado

Whether you’re going to use your avocado for some guacamole or as a fresh topping for a salad or sandwich, you want to make sure it’s ripe – but not too ripe. The Hass Avocado Board describes four stages of avocado ripeness:


  1. Not ripe: Firm, green avocados aren’t ripe yet, and if you buy one, it can take four to five days for it to become ripe.
  2. “Breaking”: Almost-ripe avocados, which the Board calls “breaking,” are a day or two from being ready to eat. When you gently squeeze a breaking avocado, they’re slightly softer than they would have been a day or two ago, but they don’t quite yield.
  3. Ripe: If you want to eat your avocado today, look for a ripe one. They often have a darker color, and they feel soft – but don’t give too much.
  4. Overripe: These avocados are no longer good to eat. They feel “mushy” on the outside, and on the inside they might be brownish or yellowed.


Storing for Ripeness


Now that you’ve chosen the perfect avocado and taken it home, it’s time to store it until you’re ready to eat. The Hass Avocado Board suggests the following:


  1. Not ripe: Stick an unripe avocado into a paper bag with an apple or a banana, and leave it on the counter (at room temperature), which will help it ripen more quickly, advises the Board.
  2. “Breaking”: Simply store at room temperature for a day or two.
  3. Ripe: If you’re not eating the avocado immediately when you get home from the store, stick it in the fridge for a day or two to help keep if from over-ripening.


Prepping Your Avocado

Now, it’s time to prepare your avocado and – the best part – eat it! Check out the video from Epicurious below for step-by-step instructions:


Want More?


  • Read other Food Hacks from the Full Plate blog
  • Sign up to receive The Full Plate electronically