Ripe avocado: how to tell when it is (too) ripe?
We all love avocado! But it is not always easy to understand when it is ripe, when it is too ripe and when it is still unripe. Fortunately, there are some simple tricks that can help us choose an avocado when it is at the peak of its ripeness, soft and sweet, ready to be enjoyed.
So let's find out together how to understand when an avocado is ripe and let's get ready to cook it in a thousand different recipes, starting for example with these excellent chocolate and avocado muffins:
1. Learn about the avocado variety
To understand when and if an avocado is ripe, first you need to know the variety. The appearance of a ripe avocado, in fact, can vary greatly depending on the variety it belongs to.
The variety also allows you to deduce if the avocado is ripe based on when you are buying it, because not all varieties are harvested at the same time of the year and it will be good to choose one that is in season. An avocado of the Fuerte quality, for example, is harvested from late autumn until spring: if you buy it in early September, it is likely not ripe.
Other avocado qualities to know are: Bacon or Pinkerton avocado (harvested during the winter); the Zutano avocado (between the beginning of September and the beginning of winter); the Reed (in the summer period); the Gwen (during the autumn and winter); the Hass and Lamb Hass avocados (available all year round),
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2. Look carefully at the shape and size of the avocado
Whatever variety of avocado you have chosen, however, if it is ripe it must have a compact appearance. Its shape and size, on the other hand, will vary:
- The Fuerte avocado, if ripe, should be medium to large in size and oblong in shape.
- Bacon avocados, when ripe, will be medium in size and oval in shape.
- Medium to large Gwens and also oval, but more robust. A ripe Pinkerton avocado, on the other hand, is long and pear-shaped, very heavy. The Reed is small to medium and quite round.
- Again: a ripe Zutano avocado is medium to large, thin and pear-shaped.
- Hasses can be medium or large and have an oval shape, while Lamb Hass are always large and have a rather symmetrical pear shape.
3. Examine the color of the avocado
When an avocado is ripe at the right point it does not have dark spots: these can appear if it is too ripe or if it has simply bruised. The color of a ripe avocado also varies according to the quality of the fruit.
Always keep in mind that a ripe avocado of the Bacon or Fuerte variety should have smooth, thin and green skin. A ripe Gwen avocado will always be green, but with dull, soft skin. The Hass and Lamb Hass, on the other hand, when they are mature acquire a darker color, ranging from intense green to purple: be careful not to take a black one, in this case it will be too ripe!
Mature Pinkertons are also dark in color, but generally green. The Reeds, on the other hand, remain bright green than if mature, with small streaks on the skin. Finally, to recognize a mature Zutano lawyer, check that the skin is thin and yellow-green.
4. Check the consistency of the avocado
To know when an avocado is ripe, just test its consistency.
- Take it on the palm of your hand, being careful not to press your fingers on it to avoid creating bruises: sure, if the avocado is still unripe it will be too hard to bruise, but it is better not to risk it!
- Press lightly on the fruit with the palm itself, or at most with the bottom of the fingers. If the avocado is ripe, just a little pressure will be enough to feel the reaction, without causing stains. If it does not react in any way, it means that it is too unripe. When the avocado is too ripe, it will seem really soft.
- In order to make sure that the avocado is really ripe, don't just feel it in one place, but turn it in the palm and check it in different areas. Always remember that the evenness of the surface, even after light pressure, is an important signal of the its being mature.
5. Listen to the sound to see if the avocado is overripe
Now try to bring the avocado to your ear and shake it slowly. Pay attention: when the avocado is too ripe the inner bowl comes off the meat and, shaking the fruit, you will hear a noise. At that point you will know for sure that the avocado is already overripe.
If, on the other hand, the avocado makes no sound, but feels soft to the touch, it means that it is ripe and ready to be eaten!
6. Determine when the avocado is ripe thanks to the stem
An excellent way to understand if the avocado is ripe or not is to try to remove the stem. Just take it between two fingers and pull it away. If you remove it without difficulty, the avocado is ripe. However, if it is still unripe, the stem does not go away very easily and you should even cut it off.
A further confirmation can come, then, from the color under the stalk: check that the flesh that appears there is a nice green. If it appears brown or yellow, the avocado is not ripe yet. When, on the other hand, the meat under the stalk is dark brown, it means that it is already overripe (at this link you will find some advice on how to best preserve it).
If you're wondering if an overripe avocado is bad for you, know that - as long as it's still not rotten (and you can smell it) - you can still use it to make some sauce or spread, guacamole, masks or beauty treatments. Because you know, avocado is good for the skin, just like these other foods: