Avocados are delicious and healthy in salads or made into guacamole. Most recipes that include avocados ask for ripe ones, which may not be what you find at the store. Get acquainted with the characteristics of a ripe avocado to pick the right one every time.

Look for avocados with skin that is very dark green, almost black. Green avocados are pretty to look at, but they have days to go before they’ll be ripe enough to eat. If you need to use the avocados right away, be sure they’re the right color when you buy them.

Shop for avocados that are neither rock hard nor mushy. Gently squeeze an avocado; a ripe one should give slightly.

If you can’t find ripe avocados on the day you need them, go ahead and buy the green ones, then let them ripen at home. Firm or light green avocados kept at room temperature will ripen in four to five days.