Where I live, far from avocado country, it’s not unusual for organic avocados to be $2.50 or $3 each.
“Oh, waaah, you big crybaby,” locavore purists might argue, “avocados are expensive because you live in Seattle, so stop buying non-local food!”
To which I reply: “The zombies can have my guacamole when they pry it from my salt-covered, tortilla chip-holding fingers.”
In any event, if you are paying $3 for a single avocado, you want that avocado to be freaking perfect: soft but not bruised, fully ripe but not rotten.
But I suspect many avocado lovers have experienced, as I have, the disappointment of slicing into their avo only to find brown streaks or dark, rotten bruising on the inside.
Here’s how to make sure that never happens again.
Before you commit to a specific avocado, look for all the external signs of ripe-but-not-rotten. With a Hass avocado (the variety we tend to get on the West coast), the skin should be very dark green-to-black and bumpy. The fruit should feel heavy and firm, with no obvious smooshy parts or flat areas.
Now here’s the trick. Once you’ve got a good candidate, take a sneak-peak at what’s inside. Discreetly flick the dry stem off the fruit.
If you see a brown patch under the stem, put that avocado back. It will be gross inside.
But, if the fruit right under the stem is bright avocado yellow-green, you have a winner. Your avocado will be great.
This technique has never failed me.
Haas avocados purchased hard and green will ripen nicely on the counter over several days. However, once your avocado hits that black-skinned stage, don’t delay in enjoying it. The difference between a soft and creamy avocado and a brown-streaked, half-rotten one is only a few days on the counter.1