Wondering how to ripen avocados because you got home with a bumpy green fruit that might as well be a stone? We’ve all been there. It’s almost like the avocados themselves are working against us: When an emergency breakfast sandwich calls for slices of the creamy green stuff, or some tortilla chips are begging for a last-minute bowl of guacamole, every single avocado at the local grocery store is just a couple of days shy of being perfectly ripe.

But fear not! There are ways to make sure you have a ripe avocado when you need one. But let’s start with the basics: how to shop for avocados in the first place.

How do I pick out a ripe avocado?

The road to a successful avocado experience starts at the grocery store. And we’d like to offer some general advice: It’s okay to give a couple avocados a light squeeze to make sure you’re getting a good one. Just don’t be that guy who’s touching the entire produce display or leaving dents and bruises in every avocado.

The majority of avocados sold in the U.S. are of the Hass variety. When ripe, these will have dark green skins with a purply blush. Hold one in the palm of your hand and give it a light squeeze; it should give just a little. These avocados will have a creamy texture that’s just right for slicing and dicing. To be sure, you can nudge the stem of the avocado. If it’s solidly in place, the fruit needs a little more time. If it comes away and you see a bright green dimple underneath, you’re in business. If it comes away and you see brown streaks, the avocado might be past its prime. If you’re looking for a guacamole-ready avocado, choose one with skins that are nearly black. These will have flesh that’s softer, ready to be mashed. You can perform the same tests to decide whether it’s the avocado for you.

Avocado sandwiches for everybody!

Photo by Laura Murray, food styling by Susie Theodorou

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