How do restaurants get perfect avocados every time?
December 22, 2012 6:04 PM   Subscribe

How can I have guaranteed, perfectly ripe avocados?

If you go to almost any Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, they will open an avocado in front of you and make perfect guacamole. The avocado is always perfectly ripe: it's soft but not gooey, and it contains no brown or stringy filaments. When I buy avocados at the store, 75% of the time they're gross when I open them, even if I buy them underripe and wait for them to ripen. What are the restaurants doing?
posted by sdis to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
buy them when green and then ripen with in a bowl with a few bananas laid on top. once they are black, move them to the fridge.
posted by SueDenim at 6:17 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pop off the stem to check for current ripeness and viability. A non-exhaustive study in my kitchen has so far proved this stem theory correct.

Buy them rock hard and wait.
posted by amanda at 6:30 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think the problem might be your store. I'm in San Francisco which is obviously different but I get great avocados from Trader Joe's and Safeway every time. Just check that the avocado has just a little give to it (but isn't rock hard or mushy) and the skin looks supple like leather (not dried out or flaky).
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:36 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, buy them hard and wait. The test for ripeness (for me) is to hold them in your fist and press very lightly with your thumb at the stem end. Once you feel a little 'give' there, they're ready. You'll soon get the feel of it. Perfect avocados every time.
posted by unSane at 6:41 PM on December 22, 2012

check that the avocado has just a little give to it (but isn't rock hard or mushy)

Yes. Go by feel; don't go by color.
posted by John Cohen at 6:42 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have a Mexican grocery store near you? Buy them there, they are a fraction of the cost and always perfect!
posted by katypickle at 7:38 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

A lot of restaurants grow their own or buy from local growers as well.
If you're interested, you could look into growing your own as well.
posted by JamesBlakeAV at 8:10 PM on December 22, 2012

I've used a lot of different tactics that all seem to work SOMETIMES; removing the little stub on the stem end to see if it's green underneath, asking the greengrocer to choose one for today's salad and one for tomorrow's and just going by the feel of it. We consume a lot of avocados and my track record is around 75%. Seems like it's a blend of art and science...
posted by lois1950 at 9:01 PM on December 22, 2012

Seconding the above poster(s). Buy unripe, wait, and put in the fridge to arrest ripening. They are ready when a light press gives a very slight yielding - just a bit, don't wait until you can leave deep indentations. We eat guacamole every day :)
posted by damo at 9:12 PM on December 22, 2012

And if you can smell them, they're TOO ripe.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:58 PM on December 22, 2012

it contains no brown or stringy filaments

I've been grossed out by these more and more frequently. My internet research indicates they come from young avocado trees. I wish there was a way to tell young-tree-fruit from older-tree-fruit; it all gets mixed together at the market.
posted by Rash at 6:30 AM on December 23, 2012

If you are lucky enough to find a firm but not hard green-black avocado at the store, eat it right away. If not, buy a hard green avocado and place it in a brown paper bag overnight to make it ripen faster. If they're squishy, don't buy them.
posted by xenophile at 9:52 PM on December 24, 2012

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