How to buy…avocados

A few years ago, I noticed these stickers appearing on avocados from all my local supermarkets:


The weird thing was, they were appearing on super-soft AND hard-as-rock avocados. This makes no sense, folks. I think these poor Calavo people are shooting themselves in the foot—trying to make avocados accessible to those unfamiliar with them, but almost guaranteeing a bad experience as a result.

Here’s my advice: IGNORE THESE STICKERS. Don’t fall for it, like I did once or twice, buying a soft avocado with this “Ripe Now!” sticker, and thinking, “Oh, it’s ready!” 9 times out of 10, when you get that soft avocado home, it will already be spoiling inside (it’s unmistakeable—the flesh will be darkening and graying in spots and even have an off aroma). Or, if you buy a rock-hard avocado and cut into it that day, thinking, “Oh, it’s ready,” you will meet avocado flesh that’s too hard to scoop, impossible to mash or eat, and totally mealy and unappealing in flavor. Just don’t do it.

There is only one way to buy an avocado, and that is: days before you need it. And it should be completely firm when you give it a little squeeze. It might even be sort of shiny on the outside—it darkens to black and loses its sheen as it ripens. Keep it on your counter for a few days, and check it every day. Once it gives a little to the touch all over (it happens first at the stem end), it is ready.

I used to panic and attempt to eat all my perfectly ripe avocados right away, before they spoiled, but I recently learned from a quirky ex-neighbor who for some reason had 24 undesired avocados in his house, that once the avocados do ripen, you can transfer them to the fridge, where they will remain in this state of perfection for quite a few days. Who knew?


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