Depending on where you like to shop for produce, avocados can be pretty pricey. That’s why most of us try to use scientific precision when choosing them from the bin.

It’s a tricky undertaking too. With all the skin hue variations, too-firm-or-too-soft calculations, and questions about ripening times, you may start to second guess yourself and hope for the best. That includes hoping for the best for your wallet.

No one likes to buy a bag of avocados only to cut into one to find brown lesions of disappointment waiting for them. And then cut the others open to find the same thing. There goes your recipe and your hankering for some guacamole.

So, how can we up our avocado-picking game? By following these handy tips below!

  1. Judge Them By Their Cover

    First, let’s go over which ones to avoid. Avocados with bright green skin are generally still firm on the inside and considered unripe. If you don’t need to use them for a few days, then you can take them home and let them sit, or use some ripening magic.

    Those that are in between green and brown on the outside are close to being ripe within a day or two. Avocados with dark skin are usually “day of” ripe or overripe and will need to undergo the pressure test.

  2. The Navel Check

    One of the easiest ways to check ripeness is by flicking the stem off an avocado and checking the color underneath. A greenish color will let you know it is under ripe and needs a few more days. What you want is a yellowish color that’s free of brown streaks. Brown says overripe.

    If the stem won’t pop out at all, the avocado is not ready.

  3. If All Else Fails. . .The Pressure Test

    A mushy avocado is a dead avocado. Gently squeeze one to see if it gives in to light pressure. If it is too soft or has dents, skip it. If it’s “day of” ripe, it will feel soft; an almost-ripe one will feel a bit firm and not respond fully to the pressure test.

You have three options to work with depending on your needs: unripe, almost-ripe, and ripe. To speed up the ripening process on your own, you can do it with this aluminum foil technique, or with a brown bag. Both tricks help them to release ethylene gas, which makes the ripening stage kick in.

With the bag method, simply toss one in and add a banana or apple to the bag to rev up the process. Store it at room temperature. If you’re trying do the opposite and preserve them, stick them into your refrigerator until you are ready for them to ripen.

Still a little confused? Watch this video from Knowmore to hear nine detailed tips on plucking the right avocado. Save yourself from avocado nightmares along with your precious time and money!

Do you have an avocado strategy? How many times have you been fooled by the outer layer? Which of these tips will you try?