Rich and creamy avocados are quite versatile. You can dice them into salads, stuff them with fillings, or mash them to make guacamole or sandwich spreads. Their only big drawback is that they're also high in calories and fat, though the fat is mostly monounsaturated, which isn't as bad as other kinds. Since they bruise easily, grocers want customers to buy them while they're still hard and then take them home to ripen at room temperature for a few days. They’ll ripen more quickly if you put them in a paper bag along with an apple or banana. They're ripe when they yield to a gentle squeeze.

bacon avocado

Baconavocado This sweet, smooth-skinned variety shows up in the middle of winter. It's not as flavorful as other avocados.

Fuerte avocado = Florida avocado

Avocado_fuerte This is in season from late fall through spring. It's not quite as buttery as the Hass avocado, but its flavor is excellent.

Hass avocado = California avocado

Haasavocado This is available year-round and has a rich flavor and creamy texture. The skin turns almost black when the avocado is ripe, which can camouflage bad bruises. This is the best variety by far for guacamole, but it turns a bit mushy in salads.

Mexican avocado

Mexicanavocados With their small size and shiny black skins, these look like elongated plums. You can eat them, skin and all.

Pinkerton avocado

Pinkertonavocado These peel easily and their flavor is excellent. One of the best varieties.

Reed Avocado

Reedavocado This large, roundish avocado slips easily from the peel, and has excellent flavor and texture. It will stay firm even when ripe, so it's not a good choice if you're making guacamole.

Zutano Avocado

Usage: Salads, guacamole, dressings.

Selection & Storage: The Zutano avocado is yellow green with a shiny, smooth skin. Signs of ripeness differ by variety, but all varieties yield to gentle pressure when ripe. (Softer for guacamole, more firm for slicing). To ripen an avocado, place it in a sealed plastic bag with a ripe banana at room temperature. Another method is to bury the avocado completely in a jar of flour. Do not refrigerate avocados until they are ripe.

Avoid extremely soft avocados with very dark or blotchy skin or dented areas. This indicates bruised or old avocados.