Frequently Asked Avocado Questions

Avocado FAQs

Avocados do not "ripen" or "soften" on the tree, they ripen after they have been harvested. Depending on the time of the season, green fruit can take anywhere from two to seven days to ripen when stored at room temperature. You can speed the process by placing your Hass avocados in a paper bag with an apple for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. To check for ripeness, gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand (avoid using your fingertips), when they yield to gentle pressure, they're ready to eat.

Oxidation (exposure to air) can cause the fruit of an avocado and/or guacamole to turn brown. By brushing the fruit or guacamole with an acidic agent such as lemon, lime, vinegar or even oranges and placing the avocado or dish in an air-tight container in your refrigerator you can help delay this process.

Placing the avocado seed in guacamole may help maintain the color of the guacamole because the seed reduces the amount of surface area that is exposed to air (minimizing oxidization). We recommend covering your guacamole with clear plastic wrap or placing in an air-tight container if you prepare in advance and want to store in the refrigerator for a few hours.

The "streaks" you describe are a relatively rare occurrence generally found in fruit from young trees. Although the fibers may be unsightly, the surrounding fruit is safe for your consumption.

Flesh discoloration occurs when the avocado has been exposed to cold temperatures for a long period of time before it begins the ripening process. Flesh bruising can occur in transit or as a result of compression caused by excessive handling. Unfortunately there is no way to detect either flesh discoloration or flesh bruising by looking at the avocado's exterior. They are not harmful and can be removed by cutting them out.

We do not recommend eating "browned" or oxidized portions of the fruit. Overly ripe fruit can take on a rancid odor, it is best not to eat the fruit. If the fruit or guacamole has oxidized (turned brown) on the top layer and the underneath is green, simply discard the brown layer. Find more information on how to know if an avocado is overripe.

The USDA site has a great tool in which you can search for the exact nutrition analysis or food composition for avocados and other items. Visit USDA Food Composition Databases for more information.

Avocados are grown throughout the world, which means they are always in-season and available whenever you need them at your local supermarket, grocery store or farmers market; look for the PLU sticker #s: 4770, 4225, 4046.

Many factors contribute to the demand and pricing of avocados. Around holidays retailers face demand that causes avocado prices to fluctuate. At other points in the year, price changes can be the result of inflation, the rise in growing costs, or crop supplies that don’t meet the huge demand. The unpredictability of Mother Nature can also play a role in affecting the price of our favorite fruit. From time-to-time, individual retail stores will have promotions, coupons or discounts on avocados.

Depending on your need or even creativity, avocados can be purchased in a variety of sizes and quantities. You may find them in small, medium, or large varieties, or even bundled in a bag for convenience. We recommend purchasing fruit that is green and allowing it to ripen at home in order to space out eating avocados every day.

If you need help selecting the unripe or ripe fruit, visit our how to pick & buy fresh avocados page.

For the tastiest results, learn how to store fresh avocados and check out our avocado recipes.

The PLU (Price Look Up) sticker you reference should have a number on it (normally four digits or if the product is organic then it has five digits prefaced with a 9). The common PLU #s for the Hass variety of avocados are: 4046, 4225 and 4770 depending on the size of the fruit. Organic Hass avocados PLU #s are 94046, 94225 and 94770. The PLU sticker may also contain source of origin information such as California, Mexico, Chile, Dominican Republic, Peru or New Zealand and some shippers include their company or label name.

It is a lot of information for such a little sticker, designed originally to give the retail clerk the necessary information at the register.

The Hass variety represents the majority of avocados consumed in the United States. Each variety of avocado has its own varietal characteristics. For example, Hass avocados are known as the "year-round avocado" because of their availability. The Hass avocados in your grocers' produce section are grown in California, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and The Dominican Republic. That assures you of a ready supply of fresh fruit 365 days a year. Hass avocados are oval shaped, with a small to medium sized seed, they range in weight from 5 to 12 ounces, and have a creamy texture with a great taste. They also have a distinctive skin that may turn from dark green to purplish-black when ripe. Learn more about how to identify Hass avocados.

To learn more about avocado varieties, check out the University of California at Riverside's Avocado Information site.

It is spelled HASS and spoken to rhyme with "pass." Postman Rudolph Hass planted this seedling in his front yard and gave it the "Hass" varietal name. He patented it in 1935 (plant patent No. 139) and died in 1952, never realizing how important the variety would be to the global avocado industry.

The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is a marketing organization under USDA supervision. Nearly 20,000 producers and 100 importers are involved in HAB, which covers fresh domestic and imported Hass avocados sold in the U.S. market. The Hass Avocado Board is not involved in the purchase or sale of avocados or avocado related products.