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Like all fruits, once removed from the tree, avocados will begin to ripen. Although ripe avocados may seem quite hard when you buy them and may take a while to soften, once they do begin to soften you have a short amount of time before they become too ripe and begin to turn bad.
Not only is it a short window in order to eat your avocado when it is perfectly ripe, but it is also hard to tell when your avocado is perfectly ripe due to the skin . The skin of avocado acts more like a shell, unlike the skin of fruits like an apple. It is also very dark green in color, so unlike other fruits like bananas or apples, it is hard to see when the avocado begins to brown and turn bad.
Not only are avocados delicious, but they are also quite expensive, and so of all fruits they are the one you really don’t want to have to throw away! Today I am going to tell you the top 5 ways to tell that your overripe avocados have gone bad so you never see another avocado go to waste again!
Table of Contents
How to Tell if Your Avocado’s Are Bad
1. Squishy and Indented
We all do the squeeze test when we are buying the avocados, and usually we go for the ones that are still slightly firm to allow them some time to ripen even more before eating. The harder the avocado, the less ripe it is.
Under ripe avocado will lack in flavor and be extremely difficult to peel, so this is not good. On the other hand, if squeezing the avocado is extremely easy and it begins to leave indentations on the avocado then it may be an overripe avocado. This does not mean it is inedible, it just may be too soft to slice but still great to smash.
If you gently squeeze the avocado feels overly soft, squishy and leaves large indentations, it is likely that you will open the avocado and it will be extremely brown inside. This level of softness means that the avocado is an overripe avocado but has likely gone bad and will not be enjoyable to eat.
Similarly, if the avocado has already sunken in parts or looks slightly deflated and shrivelled, then this means it is likely a rotten avocado inside.
2. Blackened Skin
The most common type of avocados eaten worldwide – the hass avocado – undergoes distinct skin color changes as it goes through the ripening process. If an avocado is bumpy and has bright green skin then it is likely to be very underripe and it will probably feel very firm.
As mentioned, a ripe avocado will usually have a dark green skin and the bumps will be more indented and look more like wrinkles. Avocados, particularly the hass variety, will turn brown or dark green skin color as they ripen, but if the skin color looks closer to black then this is a clear sign that it is likely a rotten one.
It is important to note that varieties other than hass avocados may retain their green color even when overripe, and so these can be harder to test for ripeness as they may not turn a black or brown color.
3. Dark Flesh
Once you open up the avocado it is a lot easier to determine whether or not it is a ripe avocado and good to eat. An avocado should have a light green flesh when it is ripe and ready to eat. Once avocados begin to over ripen, they start to develop brown spots on the avocado flesh.
If you can see an isolated brown spot, this may be due to bruising and probably is not a sign that the avocado has turned rotten, it just means it is a slightly bruised avocado. You can simply cut this off although it is fine to eat. Keep an eye out for multiple brown or black spots. This will be a better indication of whether your avocado has gone bad.
If the avocado does have a few brown spots, you can still try cutting these away instead of wasting the overripe fruit. However, if it is an entirely brown avocado then you are better off throwing this one in the bin. Avocado with brown spots will not cause you any harm, but it won’t be overly enjoyable to eat and may be different to what you are used to.
Similarly to an avocado with brown spots, you should look out for dark streaks running through the flesh. Many fruits develop darker streaks as the fruit matures, but if the brown or black streaks are also quite stringy then this means the avocado has started to go bad. Again, this will still be safe to eat, just not so enjoyable.
4. Off Flavor and Smell
The reason people love avocado so much is because of its creamy taste and slightly sweet aroma with the addition of a somewhat nutty flavor running through it – delicious!
As avocado fruit spoils, it begins to develop quite a sour taste and sour smell. This indicates that there is some widespread spoilage from bacteria and can cause the avocado to taste bitter. In this instance, it is definitely best to throw the avocado away!
This abnormal taste and smell will most likely come with the dark spots and indicates a spoiled avocado.
Finally, the presence of mold on your avocado skin will definitely suggest that it is no longer edible as it may have also gone through the flesh. It takes a long time for avocados to develop mold and so once they have you should definitely put them in the trash. If you inhale mold spores they can be potentially toxic compounds and so getting rid of them as soon as possible is the best call of action.
If you cut your avocado open and you can see mold then this is also a sign that you should bin it. The mold spores may also release a chemical odor which is both unpleasant to smell, but would also be horrific to eat.
Is it Safe to Eat an Overripe Avocado?
So, now that we know the five tips of checking your avocados, if you do see any of the above signs does it always mean it is necessarily bad? Well, that really depends on how decayed the fruit is.
As mentioned, the presence of mold is a definite no, however certain colorings may not mean the fruit has to go in the bin. The mold spores can make you extremely ill and if left around other food the mold can spread.
Singular brown spots can often indicate bruising, and even with multiple brown spots, these can be removed to an extent. The dark stringy areas are similar to the brown spots, and while neither the spots or streaks will cause you harm, they will not be very pleasant and may have quite an off-putting flavor.
The Perfect Avocado
So, to summarise, the perfect avocado is dark green on the outside, with a slight softness to its texture. Inside, it has a bright green flesh and preferably no spots or streaks.
A very squishy avocado, with a very dark skin, is likely to be rotten. You can always cut it open to double check, but if you notice large indents in the skin and the avocado looks slightly shrunken and shrivelled then it is probably no longer edible.
If your avocado does have lots of spots or streaks, it won’t kill you to eat it but the flavor and smell may cause you to regret having it. However, if there is any mold visible both on the outside or the inside, this means you definitely need to put the fruit in the trash.
When picking your avocado at the store, try and go for one slightly firmer as this will extend its shelf life once you take it home. Alternatively, if you are buying an avocado to use that evening then you should opt for the softer ones as this means it is ripe and ready to go.
Overall, it is difficult for you to get ill from an avocado, but to really enjoy the pleasures of one you should wait till the fruit starts to slightly soften but before it starts to turn brown. Slice it for toast, mash it for guac, whatever you decide to do, make sure you enjoy it!