5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Eating an Underripe Avocado

updated Aug 16, 2022
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(Image credit: natalia bulatova)

Did a bin of firm, underripe avocados dash your hopes for a piece of avocado toast once again? I don’t mean avocados that are still rock-hard — those specimens that seem like they require a chainsaw to cut open. I’m talking about the avocados that dash your plans because they’re just a little too firm for making your favorite batch of guacamole.

It turns out underripe avocados are really more magnificent than we give them credit for, and it’s all a matter of knowing how to make them work for you. If you have avocados that are just a little too firm, you’ll be surprised to know there are still ways to enjoy them. Avocado fries, anyone?

How to Tell If You Have an Underripe Avocado

How exactly do you know if you have an underripe avocado on your hands? It’s all about using your senses. The best indicators of ripeness are the look and feel of an avocado:

  • Color: Some varieties, like Haas avocados, darken in skin color as they ripen; green skin is an indicator of an underripe avocado.
  • Firmness: Another telltale sign of an underripe avocado is when it feels firm. There are various degrees of firm that range from rock hard to slightly hard to the touch.
  • Stem nub: Underripe avocados will still have the remaining nub of the stem attached, and pretty firmly at that. If it comes off easily, you have a ripe avocado on your hands (in which case, let the guacamole and avocado toast commence).

What to Do with Underripe Avocados

You’ve determined your avocados are still a bit firm, so what can you do with them? Try these easy and delicious ways to use them.

1. Cook up avocado fries.

We’re big fans of veggie fries over here, and these just made the top of our list (even though they’re really a fruit). The soft texture of a perfectly ripe avocado doesn’t work for making fries, but a firm, underripe avocado will excel. After some time in the oven, you’re left with super-crispy fries with a soft, creamy center.

2. Make avocado pickles.

Talk about a transformation! Soaking firm avocado in a tangy brine softens this fruit up, gives it a super-tender texture, and adds a big burst or flavor.

Get the Recipe: Avocado Pickles

3. Use grated avocado as a garnish.

Just because your avocados aren’t soft doesn’t mean they can’t be used as a garnish. Forget slicing and dicing — get out a box grater. This handy tool turns firm avocado into confetti for topping chicken salad, tacos (try breakfast or fish tacos), rice bowls, and omelets.

4. Stir-fry it.

Use some firm slices of avocado to change up your stir-fry game. Some time on the heat will round out the flavor and soften the texture. It balances the typical firm and crunchy veggies that fill our stir-fries and acts as a cool complement to spicy flavors.

5. Bake an egg in it.

That firm avocado makes for a tasty edible bowl that will soften up in the oven just enough so it’s ready to eat. Plus, eggs and avocados are always a winning team.