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The One Place to Press an Avocado to Tell If It's Fully Ripe

Plus: Learn how to speed up the ripening of an avocado.

Published Aug. 4, 2021.

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.

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Translation: If you want to know whether an avocado is fully ripe, press the bottom. That’s the fat, round end, opposite the stem nub. 

Say your avocado is still pretty hard and you need to speed things up. You can ripen avocados faster by placing them in a paper bag along with bananas or apples. Bananas and apples give off a gas called ethylene, which hastens the ripening process of any climacteric fruits nearby, such as avocados. It’ll still take at least a day to ripen, but you’ll speed up the process. 

Your guacamole will thank you.

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