Cutting open that perfectly ripe avocado feels a bit like magic, doesn’t it? Here’s how you can experience that each and every time, courtesy of nutrition Expert Marissa Thiry.

We’ve all been there – when we buy what we assume will be the perfect avocado, only to cut it open and it be underripe (milky, hard, difficult to cut) or overripe (browning, mushy, bruised). Let’s save you a lifetime of disappointment and cut to the chase.

Luckily, picking a ripe avocado, or ripening an unripe one, is easier than you think. Here are 4 ways to help you get the perfect avocado for that toast of yours:

1. Firm around the middle.

Give it a GENTLE squeeze and make sure it is still firm around the middle. If it’s easily indented and soft, chances are this avocado is overripe already.

2. Soft on top, by the stem.

This area should have a little give when gently pushed. If it does not, then this avocado is likely underripe and too firm for use right away.

3. Ripen your avocado quickly.

If you can only find unripe avocados, store it in a paper bag. This helps trap the ethylene gas avocados produces which helps them ripen at a quicker pace. To accelerate ripening even more, add a banana to the bag for more ethylene gas production. Avocados are shelf stable, so store them in room temperature conditions, when possible. Storing them in the refrigerator or cold temperatures will prevent ripening. However, refrigeration may be desired if you buy ripe avocados several days before you plan on using them.

4. Slow the browning of cut avocados.

When avocados are cut open, they are exposed to oxygen in the air which results in browning. This oxidation is natural, but creates an undesirable visual appeal. To avoid this, add citrus (such as lemon or lime juice) to your avocado to help prevent browning. Leave the pit in the avocado (or guacamole bowl) if possible, to further prevent browning.

Happy shopping, avo-lovers!

Adapted from the original article.

Marissa Thiry, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Orange County, CA with a passion for health, wellness, and delicious food. With her love of innovating in the kitchen and testing unique flavors from different cultures, Marissa helps others understand that eating should be an experience, not a task. Make a visit to read more from Marissa.

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