We've all heard different tips from people on how to tell if an avocado is ripe. Some say to squeeze it, others tell you that it's best to check the skin texture. These tips are useful in their own right but there's a little more to it than that. A variety of different methods will help you determine your avocado's ripeness so that you can get the best possible produce from your grocery store.

Your Guide To Ripe Avocados

split open avocado

Scanning the skin texture, checking its firmness, plucking out the stem, or looking at its color are among the different ways that you can check an avocado's ripeness. It can get a little overwhelming if you're unfamiliar with avocados, but these tips will help you in your local supermarket so you can get the best bang for your buck.

Different Types Of Avocados

There are dozens of avocados out there, but several are sold more commercially and these are the ones you're more than likely to encounter in stores. We're going to break down some of the most well-known ones out there and how to eyeball their typical size and skin color.


hass avocado

These avocados are perhaps the most well-known to consumers. They're on the larger side and weigh in anywhere from 200-300 grams. These avocados are available throughout the year.

Lamb Hoss

lamb hoss avocado

The lamb hass avocado is slightly larger than the hass. It weighs in at around 510 grams. These guys are available throughout the summer months.


fuerte avocados

These ones clock in at around 170 grams in weight, making them a little smaller than the others. They're only around between spring into the late fall.


reed avocado

One of the larger avocados available, these ones weigh in anywhere from 480-700 grams. They're also easier to spot because of their round shape, as opposed to the others which have more of an oval one. You'll typically find them during the summer months into the early fall.


shepard avocados

These guys here are on the smaller side and weigh in anywhere from 200 - 320 grams. They're only available for a short time and you'll typically find them from February to May.

Skin Color

The Dark Skinned Avocados

Hass and lamb hass are the two avocados on this list that will darken when they're ready to be used.

For these two avocados, it's important to remember that they darken when they're ripe. If you see them in stores and they're still green, they haven't reached their peak ripeness. That doesn't mean you need to leave them behind. What it does mean, though, is that they're best eaten in a few days when you see their skin start to darken and when they yield to gentle pressure.

If your hass avocados are still light to medium green when you grab them then you're looking at a 4-5 day wait before they reach ripeness. After the allotted time has passed you can eyeball the skin color and place the avocados in the palm of your hand to gently squeeze them. If they yield to gentle pressure without indentations or bruising, you know you have the sweet spot.

The Green Skinned Avocados

Fuerte, reed, and shepard avocados will remain green when they're ripe. These guys are a little trickier because they don't darken and it can be harder to pinpoint when they're ready. The best way to tell if these ones are ripe is to squeeze them and see how they react to gentle pressure.

When it comes to checking the ripeness of these three, you'll need to stick the avocado in the middle of your hand and apply gentle pressure with the base of your fingers. You should be able to feel a little bit of a give without leaving behind any dark marks or indentations on the fruit. If you feel these avocados yield to a bit of pressure, you know they're ready to eat and you can start using them.

Once your avocados are ripe you can use them for toast, an avocado spread, or to make a dip. The possibilities are endless once you've found the perfect fruit in front of you.

a knife and an avocado

Skin Texture

The skin texture is an easy way to tell when an avocado is ripe. The next time you're at the store check to see if the avocados are bruised or have any dark spots on them. If an avocado has dark spots peppered onto its skin then it's either bruised or overripe in some spots.

Checking The Firmness

You'll need to be a little sensitive when you're checking the ripeness of your avocado. Their relatively prone to bruising which means that if you apply too much pressure with your fingertips, you could leave dark spots behind.

What you should do is place the avocado in the middle of your palm and gently squeeze without applying pressure from your fingertips. Essentially what you'll do is use your palm and the base of your fingers to squeeze the fruit. Unlike other fruits, if an avocado is firm then it's not quite ready for consumption because it's not ripe yet. Though, if it's too mushy then it's most likely overripe and also not the best for consumption. What you're looking for is for the avocado to yield to gentle pressure. It's best for it to give a little bit without you leaving behind any dark marks or indentations.

Pulling Out The Stem

If you're in a bind and want to figure out the ripeness quicker, this is the easiest way for you to do it.

Pop off the stem to the avocado and inspect the skin underneath. If the skin is a yellow/light green then you have a ripe avocado on your hands and you can rest easy when you consume it. On the other hand, if the skin is brown underneath the stem then you might be dealing with an overripe fruit.

Something else you should look for is how easy it is to remove the stem. If you pull on the stem and it doesn't come off easily then the avocado probably isn't ready yet. If it comes off with ease then you've passed the first hurdle.

With these simple steps on how to tell if an avocado is ripe, you can shop with ease the next time you're at the store. You no longer need to worry about cutting into an overripe or an underdeveloped avocado.

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