Avocados are an oily fruit that contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. They taste great when tossed in a salad or used to make guacamole dip. One interesting fact about avocados is that they do not ripen on the tree. Instead, they are picked when they mature, and may ripen by the time they reach your grocery store. Whether you buy them at the store or you're growing avocados in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, you'll need to be able to tell when they are ripe so you don't cut an avocado open too soon and end up wasting it.
Look the avocado over and examine its color. The darker the avocado skin, the riper it is. This alone doesn't determine if the avocado is ready to eat, but it's a good place to start.
Squeeze the avocado gently. This is the best way to determine ripeness. A ripe avocado will be somewhat soft, yet will bounce back when you remove your fingers.
Set avocados that still feel hard in a brown paper bag for a few days. This will speed up the ripening process. If the avocado is really squishy, it's too late. The avocado is overripe.
Refrigerate ripe avocados for three to four days if you aren't ready to eat them right away, recommends the University of Hawaii Manoa Extension.