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After many mistakes I finally learned how to tell if your avocado is ripe to eat after visiting an avocado farm in California!
Simply gently roll your thumb over the tiny nub-stem on top and look inside the hole that it leaves behind. If it's bright green inside it's perfect to cut and use. If it's very dark or very gray it's old. If it's hard to roll off, it is still unripe, so leave it a while longer before cutting it. No more wasting avocados!
Avocados make a healthy bread spread for sandwiches too! Better than mayo.
When selecting an avocado look for one that is large all around and larger on one end. The skin should be nearly black. Gently cup the whole avocado and gently squeeze. It should be firm with a slight softness. If you can squeeze and make a dent then the avocado is too ripe. Don't accept any that have soft spots, dents, or other markings.
You can buy a greener, harder avocado and let it sit on the counter for a couple of days to ripen.
Source: Experience has shown me how to buy an avocado. I love avocados in sandwiches, guacamole, salads, and dressings.
By Shirley from Henderson, NV
Hi Shirley, this is Shirley from Tehachapi CA. Your comments are true for the large, wonderful, thick-skinned, buttery Haas avocados, but not all types. The Fuerte are more oily and very thin skinned, and when they are black they are way too far along for firm slicing (& usually mooshy too!). No matter the type, don't always shun the marred or too-ripes; they can be a real bargain. Stores often mark them way down to try to sell some before they have to remove them from the shelves. While they may be beyond the firm slicing stage, they make great guac! In fact, when shopping we've often commented that "that's already guacamole" when we see 'em!
I, too, love avocados of all types in all ways; tho I've not yet tried avocado soup or ice cream (yes, there are recipes for both). I love 'em just the way they are, with a little salt! I had some friends 'way back that always cut the fruit in half, seeded it, then filled the cavity with maple syrup--not tried that either! Besides the fact they are delicious, they are one of the nearly "perfect" foods for nutrition (but not everyone tells the kids that...hehehe!)
Oh, and here in California we often have little roadside fruit & veggie stands selling their home-grown stuff. We've gotten many small avocados from them, not much larger than a large egg and they were wonderful! Very small pit, wonderful taste & texture.
Have you ever tried to sprout an avocado seed? Maybe I should put something about that in the gardening section sometime!
(Source? Lifetime of experience growing, cooking & eating)