Hass avocados do not ripen on the tree, they ripen or “soften” after they have been harvested. Hass avocados are unique from some of the other varieties of avocados because they can change from a dark-green color to a deep purplish almost black hue when ripe. Although skin color can help in the initial visual selection of Hass avocados it is not always the best indicator for ripeness. Ripeness is ultimately determined by consistency. Color can sometimes be misleading as avocado “softening” can occur at a varying rate, independent of the color.
Step 1 – Take a look at the chart below. When comparing a group of Hass avocados, check the outside color of the skin of the avocados for any that are darker in color than the others. These may be riper than Hass avocados with lighter skin. Check the outer skin of the avocado for any large indentations as this may be a sign that the fruit has been bruised.
Note: Avocado color does not always indicate ripeness. Ripe avocados will yield to firm gentle pressure in the palm of your hand.
Step 2 – Place the avocado in the palm of your hand.
Step 3 – Gently squeeze without applying your fingertips as this can cause bruising and feel.
Ripe: If the avocado yields to firm gentle pressure you know it’s ripe and ready-to-eat.
Unripe: If the avocado does not yield to gentle pressure it is considered still “firm” and will be ripe in a couple of days.
Overripe: If the avocado feels mushy or very soft to the touch it may be very ripe to overripe. Learn more about how to tell if an avocado is overripe or unsafe to eat.
Practice makes perfect – if it’s your first time selecting avocados, try choosing a couple of avocados that yield to gentle pressure to see how they differ in taste. Or try purchasing an unripe avocado, checking it every day for 2 – 3 days as it softens. Practice will help you learn what to look for when you’re in the store.
How to Buy Avocados Ahead of Time for an Event
Unripe, firm green avocados can be purchased 4-5 days ahead of an event
Ripe Hass avocados that yield to gentle pressure should be eaten within a day or two. For events a couple days out, purchase firm avocados instead. Unripe, firm or green fruit can take four to five days to ripen at room temperature, perfect for celebrations that are a few days out. Just be careful to watch the fruit to make sure the temperature in your kitchen does not cause them to ripen too quickly. If they begin to yield to gentle pressure, place them in the refrigerator to slow the ripening process.