Every avocado lover has had this experience; your avocado has reached the perfect state of ripeness. The skin has turned black and there is just the right amount of give when you squeeze it. You eagerly cut open your avocado only find the creamy green avocado interior full of brown spots and completely unusable.
Such a disappointment!
Get ready to say goodbye to avocados that are full of brown spots. Once you start using the simple tip I’m about to provide you these regretful occurrences will be a thing of the past.
Let me show you how to pick the perfect avocado every time. You will finally be able to eat an avocado when you want one and get all of the great health benefits from including them in your diet as well.
Avocado Health Benefits
Let’s start by quickly looking at the health benefits of including avocado in your diet.
One cup of an avocado has 80 calories, 10 grams of fiber and provides over 20 essential vitamins and minerals. This includes a healthy dose of vitamin E, something that many people do not consume enough of.
Botanically avocado is a fruit, though in nutrition circles we classify it as a healthy fat. The majority of the calories in an avocado come from the fat. However, it is unsaturated fat that has been shown to be beneficial for our health.
Avocados make a great addition to a weight loss diet because all of that healthy fat and the high fiber content keeps us full longer and can help reduce between meal hunger.
Picking the Perfect Avocado Free of Brown Spots
Ok enough about that, we know avocados are good for us, how do we get a perfect one every time? Just follow these four simple steps.
Step 1 – Plan Ahead
The journey toward the perfect avocado starts before you head out to the store for your shopping trip. When planning your week, decide when you will need your avocados to be ripe and how many you need.
You will want to select avocados with a variety of skin colors to help spread the love and avoid having several become ripe at the same time.
When the skin is totally green and the avocado is firm, it will be about 4-5 days until it is fully ripe. Buy one to two that are dark green.
If the skin is mixed green and brown, you are getting closer. It will be about 1-3 days until it is ready to eat. Also buy one or two of these.
If the skin is black but the avocado is still firm, it is ripe and ready to eat. Buy at most one of these.
And when the skin feels soft and mush, or there are indentations this means it is over ripe. Put these back on the store shelf.
Here is a link to a great visual guide to fully help you select avocados at different stages of ripeness.
Step 2 – Visual Inspection
Once you are at the store, take a moment to look at the selection of avocados. Pick up an avocado and examine it, looking for any large indentations or mushy soft spots.
Regardless of the color, if the skin caves in easily with slight pressure or has many dented spots, it’s overripe. This means it is likely rotten and the avocado is full of brown spots inside.
Step 3 – Make Sure the Stem is Intact
The most important step.
Make sure the little stem on top of the avocado is intact.
This matters whether the avocado is green and hard or nearly ripe and ready to eat. You can tell immediately if it’s there; it looks almost like a little cap on top of the avocado.
And that is exactly what it is doing; keeping oxygen out, allowing the avocado to properly ripen and keeping brown spots from forming inside.
I’ve seen advice out there on the internet telling you to do the exact opposite and remove that little stem. Doing so allows you to see how green the avocado is inside, but you start letting oxygen in and ruin that avocado for other shoppers.
You know how an apple turns brown after you cut it or you take a bite? The same thing is going on here, it’s called oxidation.
Now, when the avocado is ripe, this stem will be loose and about to fall off. This is a good indication that it is ready to eat.
If you have a very soft avocado and are worried there may be brown spots inside, pop off the stem and assess. If the flesh is full of brown spots the avocado will be gross and unusable.
Try not to purchase soft, mushy avocados from the store. Once you buy better quality avocados with the top stem intact, and you learn how to properly store ripe avocados you will never be an issue!
Step 4 – Storing Avocados Properly
How do you store avocados? Green avocados will continue to ripen if you leave them out on the counter.
Allegedly you can put an avocado in a brown paper bag overnight and it will ripen faster, though I will be honest this has never done much of anything for me.
We store avocados in the same bowl as bananas on our kitchen counter and carefully monitor them. Once they turn dark brown or black and are ripe with a little bit of give we either eat them or move them into the refrigerator.
Be careful with the summer heat, your green avocados will ripen faster when it is a bit warmer in your house.
A ripe but not yet needed avocado can be stored in the fridge for two to three days.
The cold will slow the ripening process and buy you extra time without affecting the taste or color. This way you do not end up with an overripe brown avocado full of spots.
Preventing a Cut Avocado from Developing Brown Spots
Once you cut an avocado the clock starts ticking. The same process that causes brown spots when the little stem is missing is going to take place at a much faster pace with a cut avocado. There is too much surface area exposed to oxygen.
Here are a couple of tricks you can try to buy yourself a day or two of extra storage.
1. Use Lemon Juice
Squirt lemon or lime juice on the cut surface of the avocado. The vitamin C, also called citric acid, protects that cut surface from reacting with oxygen and forming brown spots on your avocado.
2. Try Cling Wrap
Cover the cut avocado surface with cling wrap, making sure to gently press down until the wrap is covering all of the cut surface. This again will slow how much oxygen can react the avocado.
3. Store with Cut Red Onion
Put some cut red onion in the same container next to your cut avocado. Onions release gases that help protect the avocado from developing brown spots.
I’ll be honest, this one is less practical because you have to actually cut up an onion and it can be a waste of food to use a half an onion for this purpose.
Can You Eat an Avocado With Brown Spots?
What if your refrigerated avocado does develop brown spots? How do you know when an avocado is bad?
Fortunately it is still safe to eat a brown avocado though the flavor may be sour and the texture will become more stringy.
I would recommend cutting away the area of the avocado with brown spots if possible and salvaging what you can. Sometimes you just have to accept the loss and move on, the bad flavor and off texture is not worth it.
By following these simple steps you can perfect the art of spreading avocados over the course of a week. You will enjoy ripe, creamy and delicious avocados whenever you want.
If you have never tried an avocado, they are full of healthy fats, taste great, and make a great addition to your diet. Especially with a little bit of sea salt.
Next time you head out to the grocery store, take the extra time to check for the intact stem on top of the avocado. Just by doing this you will greatly reduce the number of times you end up with a spotted brown avocado.
With any luck you will never be stuck eating a brown avocado again! Now add some ripe and creamy avocado to your scrambled eggs and thank me later.