If the avocado does not yield to gentle pressure it is considered still “firm” and will be ripe in a few days. Firm, underripe fresh avocados will have a bright green color. Pick them up from the grocery store a few days (approx. 4 to 5 days) before you plan on serving them to ensure that they will be perfectly ripe and ready to eat for your event. Store avocados at room temperature (65-75 degrees F). Place your unripe avocados in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana if you want to speed up the ripening process. If you didn't check avocado ripeness before cutting it, don't worry, it can still be saved. All you need to do is spray some lemon or lime juice, put plastic wrap over it or store them in an airtight container.
Fresh avocados that are referred to as “breaking” or almost ripe can vary in color so it is best to go by feel as well as color. Breaking avocados will have a softer feel but will not quite yield to firm gentle pressure. If cut, the seed will often be difficult to remove and the inside flesh will be firm and difficult to mash. Breaking avocados (uncut) should take a couple of days at room temperature (65-75 degrees F) to ripen.
If the avocado yields to firm gentle pressure you know that it’s a ripe avocado. Ripe, ready-to-eat avocados may have a dark green color but color can vary so it is best to go by feel as well as color. It will feel lightly soft but it will not feel “mushy” to the touch. Ripe fruit is perfect for making guacamole or avocado toast that day. Store in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it in a day or two to prevent your perfect avocados from becoming overripe or spoiled.
Overripe fruit will feel very mushy to the touch; it may have deep indentations, brown spots, and have darker yellow or brownish-colored flesh throughout the inside of the fruit. Spoiled overripe fruit will have a rancid smell that some describe as smelling like “a pumpkin” or “squash-like”. For the best eating experience pass on the overripe fruit and enjoy ripe fresh avocados.
Here are the most popular questions about avocado ripeness.
How do I know when an avocado is ripe enough to eat?
Avocados that are ripe enough to be eaten may be of a darker color. However, that is not always the case, so you should instead feel it out. You can eat an avocado if it is soft but not mushy when you touch it. That means it's perfectly ripe and you should eat it the same day.
Are avocados ripe when hard?
A ripe avocado that is ready to be eaten will be firm when you are holding it but will also soften if you put gentle pressure on it. Hard avocados still need a few more days before they can be eaten.
What are the four stages of ripeness for avocados?
Figuring out the perfect time to eat or use an avocado in cooking is a bit tricky, as there are four different ripeness stages you need to consider. The color of the avocado is not always an indicator of the ripeness stage. The four stages of ripeness for avocados are firm, breaking, ripe, and overripe.
Can an avocado be too ripe to eat?
Yes, avocados can be overripe and it's best to pass on them for some good ones. Most overripe avocados have a mushy or brown flesh.
What happens if you eat an avocado that isn't ripe?
Nothing will happen to you, as unripe avocados are perfectly healthy to eat. However, they will probably taste awful.
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