Gauging the ripeness of an avocado can be deceptive. You pick one up, and it feels adequately squishy in your hands (but not too much so). But then you cut one open, and it’s not fully ripe throughout. It could have used an extra day on the counter. And an avocado that's not quite ripe is an unsatisfying avocado.
Turns out, avocados don’t ripen uniformly. And there’s a specific place you should squeeze to tell if an avocado is fully ripened.
I learned this trick from Chicago chef Rick Bayless, the man behind the acclaimed Mexican restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago. He told me avocados ripen first at the stem end, then down to the bottom of the fruit.