Mastering the art of avocado selection, ripening and storage

Avocados, with their creamy texture and versatile flavour, have become a kitchen staple for many. However, achieving the perfect ripeness can sometimes be a challenge. In this guide, we explore the art of selecting, ripening, and then storing avocados, along with tips to make the process smoother.


Avocados continue ripening so select an avocado depending on when and how you intend to prepare it. The various stages of ripening are detailed below; use them as a guide to decide which avocado to pick.

Ripening techniques

Avocados are known to ripen in a fruit bowl, but for those eager to enjoy their avocados sooner, consider this trick: place them in a brown paper bag along with a banana or apple. These additional fruits emit ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent, expediting the ripening process.

For pre-ripened avocados treated with ethylene or another ripening agent, a simply placing in your fruit bowl for 2-3 days will complete the ripening process.


Hass avocados change colour as they ripen so choose an avocado based on its colour rather than squeezing as this causes bruising. Avoid extremely soft avocados with very dark skin or dented or flattened areas.   

Firm and bright green - not ripe

  • Store in a fruit bowl until the skin turns dark green.

  • Approximately 7 days until eating.

Olive green - not ripe

  • Store in a fruit bowl until the skin turns dark green.

  • Approximately 3-5 days until eating.

Dark green - firm ripe

  • Ready to eat; perfect for slicing, dicing, or cubes

  • Great in a range of avocado dishes.

Store in the fridge to maintain firmness or continue ripening in the fruit bowl.

Dark purple - soft ripe

  • Ready to eat; ideal for mashing, spreading, or dips.

  • Store in the fridge.

  • When selecting Hass avocados, focus on colour rather than squeezing, as excessive pressure can cause bruising. Avoid extremely soft avocados with very dark skin or dented areas.

  • Great for all of your guacamole recipes.


The reed avocado is another variety sometimes seen in New Zealand.

Reed stays green when ripe.

Reed avocados, though less common in New Zealand, present a circular appearance. They remain green when ripe. To check for ripeness, gently press the stem on top of the fruit – if it moves, the Reed avocado is ready to eat. Please only use this technique at home once you have purchased your avocado.

Avocado storage tips:

Maximize freshness with avocado storage tips that ensure your avocados stay perfect for your next culinary adventure.

Uncut Ripe Fruit

  • Refrigerate until eaten, but limit this to two or three days.

Cut Avocado

  • Sprinkle with lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Consume within a day or two. If browning occurs on the top layer, simply scrape it off to reveal perfectly fine flesh.


  • Not ready to make a delicious avocado recipe? Freezing avocado is a neat storage tip.
  • Puree avocado with lemon juice and freeze for up to four months.
  • Avocados that have been frozen are best used in guacamole, dips, or smoothie recipes. 

You’ve now mastered selecting, ripening, and storing avocados.

By mastering the art of selecting and ripening avocados, you can ensure a consistently delightful avocado experience. From choosing the right colour for Hass avocados to understanding the unique qualities of Reed avocados, these tips will help you savour the creamy goodness of this beloved fruit at its peak. Whether you’re slicing, mashing, or freezing, the versatility of avocados knows no bounds when guided by a few helpful tips.

Read more about varieties of New Zealand avocados here

See how to peel & prepare avocados

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