Avocado slices are a delicious addition to just about everything (veggie bowls, tortilla chips, toast, etc.). As with any fruit—yep a fruit!—an avocado does go bad after a certain amount of time, especially if the item isn’t cared for properly. Inspecting both the inside and outside of the avocado before you use it in a recipe prevents you from completely ruining a dish.

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Inspect the outside of the avocado. Cracks, dark or mushy spots on the avocado’s skin means it is likely bad.

Smell the avocado. Skip or toss it if you notice a sour or unpleasant odor which is a sign that the inside of the avocado is rotten.

Squeeze the avocado gently. A ripe avocado has a little “give” when squeezed, but is still firm enough that it doesn’t compress when squeezed. An avocado that is hard hasn’t yet ripened while one that is very soft or caves in when squeezed has gone bad.

Slice the avocado in half. Remove the pit found in the center. Look for brown spots on the inside of the avocado and remove any of those areas. Green, soft portions of avocado are the best to use!

If you want to keep part of an avocado fresh, keep it in the fridge. If you want to ripen one fast, store it in a brown bag or next to other fruit outside of the fridge!