How to pick out an avocado that's perfectly ripe at the grocery store

Walk by the pile of avocados laid out at the grocery store and you're bound to find a few people hunched around, squeezing each fruit in hopes of finding the perfect one. But, there's more to finding the perfect avocado. Here's how to pick out an avocado that's perfectly ripe.

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Good Eats: 25+ avocado recipes
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Good Eats: 25+ avocado recipes

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Step 1: Look at the skin color

First, you should know that there are a few types of avocados, and each will have a slightly different skin texture and shape. But, the most common kind you'll find at the grocery store are Hass avocados. In fact, they make up nearly 95 percent of avocados sold in the U.S. These should have a bumpy, pebbly looking skin.

A perfectly ripe Hass avocado will have a dark green, almost purple skin color (similar to an eggplant), while a black color will indicate that it's gone bad. If you can't tell the difference, try removing the stubby stem on the end to see if it's green or brown underneath (if it's brown, skip it). However, keep in mind that this will speed up the oxidation process as you're allowing air to get to the flesh. In other words, you'll need to eat it pretty soon to keep it from browning, or if you don't buy it, you could be ruining the fruit for other grocery shoppers.

A green skin color indicates that the avocado is not yet ripe, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you plan to use it in a few days or later in the week, this may be a better option for you.

Step 2: Feel the avocado

There are a few things you'll want to feel for on an avocado. First, check to see if there are any scrapes or bruises that could have ruined the fruit inside. You'll want to especially check for air pockets, as this can mean that the fruit is already past its prime.

Next, give it a little squeeze. A ready-to-eat avocado will be firm, but have a little give to it. If it's hard as rock, it's not yet ripe. If it's too soft though, as soft as say, a stress ball or just downright mushy, it's gone bad. 

SEE ALSO: Make any avocado go from inedible to perfectly ripe in 10 minutes

Once you've picked the perfect avocado, you can eat it right away. If you're not quite ready to dig in, however, you can help preserve its ripeness by keeping it in the refrigerator.

If you have an avocado that isn't ripe yet and you're dying to eat it, you're in luck! There are ways to help it ripen faster. Try tucking your avocado in a brown paper bag, as this will cause it to circulate ethylene gas, which will help it ripen at a faster rate. To create even more gas and speed up the process, add other fruits like an apple or a plum to the bag to help—the more the merrier!

You can also try leaving your avocado out on your counter for a day or two on its own and it will naturally start to ripen.

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