How to Tell when Avocados are Ripe

How to know when Avocados are Ripe before Picking and Eating them

By: R. Renee Bembry

From the kingdom “Plantae”, the division “Magnoliohyta”, and the class “Magnoliopsid”, avocado fruit has a taste that most people either love or despise. Whichever category you fall into personally, you may need to know how to tell if avocado is ripe if for some reason you wind up having to pick or buy one—or two—or possibly even three!

As lovely as evergreen avocado trees look, they may spell danger to unsuspecting dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, fish and other animals that partake in devouring avocado plant parts. This is because beautiful avocado leaves, skin, bark, and pits are poisonous and sometimes deadly to these animals. Humans, on the other hand, may suffer allergic reactions to the fruit, but do not need to lose sleep over consuming it.

Avocados pretty much look like over dark bumpy pears. Their outer greenness ranges from bright green to greenish brown; and in fact, many avocados actually look black.

Avocado trees bear climacteric fruit. Simply put, climacteric fruit is fruit that becomes mature while on the tree but does not ripen until after it is picked or after it falls to the ground. This unique ripening characteristic makes mass picking avocados, while they remain green and hard, and then shipping them from one place to another to be sold, a great way for farmers to get their fruit to consumers before it reaches its ripeness peak. All that must be done to encourage avocado shipments to maintain their viability is hold them in coolers at temperatures from 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining this coolness level is vital because avocados ripen within a few days of picking or falling from trees—granted the avocados have matured prior to tree removal.

If you purchase, pick, or otherwise come into possessing avocados that have yet to ripen, and you want to halt their ripening, store them in a cool place. Do not store them with other kinds of fruit, however, because fruits like bananas, for example, emit ethylene gas that encourages avocados to ripen.

If you grow avocados at home, and your yield becomes too large for you and your family to consume, you can leave the avocados on the tree for months before picking and allowing them to ripen. This is an advantage not associated with most other fruits. If you leave avocados on trees too long, however, they will fall to the ground on their own—and sort of pick themselves.

You will know your avocados are ripe when your “gentle” squeezes embed minor indentations in them. When you cut them open, their flesh should look anywhere between yellowish green and golden yellow.

Avocados tend to turn brown quickly, as do apples, once exposed to the atmosphere. To prevent this discoloration, treat them the same as you treat apples when deterring the same dilemma—saturate them with lemon or even lime juice.


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