The Anatomy of An Avo: Why We Love Them and How to Choose the Perfect One

Words: Julie Velosa

There is no fruit more revered, more loved and more socially photographed than the humble avo. These days, it seems you can’t scroll through social feeds without seeing a gorgeous fan of avo slices, perfect cubes delicately gracing the top of a quinoa bowl or even its gorgeous greenness blended into a luscious smoothie. Its versatility is boundless.

Other than their very obvious delish factor, how clued up are you about this gorge fruit? We dig a little deeper and look at the differences between the avo varieties available on local shelves. We also bust some myths as to what you should be doing to reach that smooth, blemish-free and perfectly ripe avo ‘Shangri La’, every time.

avocado toast

Avo Art: Yes, it’s a thing. Explore #avocadoart and check out Daniele Barresi on Instagram to see how your beautifully crafted avo fan is severely underachieving.

Green is Not the Only Go

First and foremost, it’s important to distinguish that there are green-skinned and dark-skinned avos available. The texture and colour of their respective skins can give you clues when it comes to picking the right one. Contrary to belief, a dark-skinned avo doesn’t necessarily indicate over-ripeness.

Green-Skinned Avos

The skins of Fuerte, Pinkerton, Edranol and Ryan avos start out green and remain green once ripened.

They are great if your intention is to create those aforementioned perfect fans and slices, as the skin can be easily peeled off the fruit. Hopefully, it will reveal a smooth, blemish-free flesh that can be sliced and diced into mesmerising ‘Instagrammable’ creations.


Dark-Skinned Avos

Hass and GEM® avos will mature, turning their skins dark purple and even black. Dark-skinned avos of these varieties will be tougher to peel. The skin of the fruit is more of a malleable shell with a perceptible strength, making it perfect for scooping out the creamy flesh for mashing. The harder skin – usually pebbly in texture and compared to crocodile leather – is a protective barrier, keeping that flesh bruise-free.


Avocado Roulette

If you could invent a device that could see inside an avo, you’d be the Messiah to the millennial generation. But alas, no such device exists right now, so you have to figure out the tricks of finding a perfect one yourself.

Despite the fact that retailers go to a lot of effort to stock ripe and ready avos, the truth is it’s always a bit of a gamble. An avo roulette if you will. But fear not, there are a few tricks to enable you to check the ripeness of avos without damaging the fruit.

Breaking the bank: Over the past couple of years, the avocado has managed to become the poster child for all things millennial. This is in part thanks to a somewhat controversial article by columnist for The Australian, Bernard Salt, where he questioned how ‘millennial hipsters’ afford to eat out so often and eat costly ‘avo toast’ at that.

How to Choose the Perfect Avo

Your first clue to an overripe avo (which you want to avoid) is obvious indentations in the skin and a mushy feel, which would indicate bruising of the soft flesh inside. It’s likely that once you open that avo, you’re going to be greeted with brown spots and stringy flesh. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Your best bet here is to simply accept defeat and move on.

The next rule of avo testing is: no pinching! Pinching damages the fruit and isn’t necessary. Instead, place the fruit in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze without using the pressure of your fingertips. The fruit should have a little give but not feel soft/mushy. If it still feels quite firm, you have a few days before its ready; if it feels mushy, you’ve probably missed the boat.

In the case of a dark-skinned variety such as Hass, a darker skin will help indicate ripeness, as the fruit will turn from green to darker purple/black as it ripens.

avo toast

Stem Check

Another trick for choosing an avo that’s ready to eat is to check the little stem at the top of the fruit. When it comes to varieties with a longer neck, this theory isn’t always sound, as the neck part ripens first. However, for rounder varieties, it can help.

>> If you pop off the stem and it looks good and green, it’s likely it’ll be that way when you open it.

>> If it looks brown, that’s probably what your fruit is going to look like inside too.

>> If you struggle to get it off, then your avo isn’t ready yet – abort!

Failure to launch: The Aussie ‘avo toast’ saga went globally viral. A correlation was made between Gen Y not being able to afford to buy homes because they spend too much money ‘living a life of experiences’ (i.e. eating avo toast at fancy cafés). As writer Tom Cavill quipped in an article on, “making it the dish that ties a generation to their parents’ spare bedroom” – eek.

Ripening an Avo

Unlike many other fruits and veggies, avos don’t ripen on the tree, this process happens after picking. If you have avos that are close but not quite ready, you can speed up the ripening process by placing them in a brown bag with a banana (or even an apple or cabbage).

Why? Because bananas, apples and cabbages naturally produce ethylene gas (C2H4), which acts as a plant hormone and speeds up the ripening process. In other words, avoid putting your bananas and apples with other fruit in your basket if you want to avoid that ripening effect.


Did you know? Avocado is derived from the Aztec word ahuácatl’ meaning ‘testicle’. There are theories that this could be because of its curvy shape, its aphrodisiac/fertility qualities or because they grow in pairs.

Green Butter

Avos have been dubbed ‘nature’s butter’ and aside from their amazing creaminess, they’re also really good for us. Avos contain healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins and a generous amount of fibre too.

So, all in all – avos are great for us, are super versatile and can work in both sweet or savoury dishes… they really are nature’s miracle fruits. So keep eating them and remember all these tips in your quest to find that perfect green-gold interior with just the right amount of squish.

Make these recipes for Avo Mayo and Avo and Prawn Cocktail Salad

prawn and avocado salad
crudite with avocado dipping sauce

Can’t get enough, can you? Try these delicious avocado recipes.

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