How-To Pick the Perfect Avocado

A great guacamole starts at the store. Even though it's not written into any recipe, selecting the right avocado is the key first step to a delicious dip. Here, your supermarket shopping guide for finding great avocados.

Choose the right type. Are you making a dip or throwing some sliced avocado into a salad? What you do will determine which variety of avocado to choose. Hass avocados have dark green, bumpy skin and are great for making guacamole and game-day dips. (Chances are, that's the type you'll find at your local grocery store-Hass avocados account for 90 percent of all avocados sold in the United States.) Alternatively, the pear-shaped Fuerte avocado has smooth skin and firmer flesh. Use slices to liven up your best BLT recipe (B.L.A.T, anyone?).

Related: Your New Favorite Sandwich: The Guacamole BLT

Decide when you want to use it. If you want to eat the avocado right away, choose one that is fully ripe-the skin gives a little when softly pressed. If not, choose a firm avocado and you can continue the ripening process at home.

Related: Holy Guacamole! Guacamole 6 Ways

Storage depends on ripeness. If you bought a firm avocado that needs a little more time ripening, leave it out on the counter (avocados are among a handful of fruit that keep ripening even after being picked). To ripen in double-time, put the avocado in a bag with an apple or banana. Both fruits give off gases that get trapped in the bag and speed the process along.

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