When is an avocado ripe?

Peel back the stem of the avocado. If the stem does not peel away easily, it isn't yet ripe. If the area around the stem is green, the avocado is likely creamy and ready to eat. If the stem area is brown, the avocado is likely overripe with browning on the inside.

If you plan to use the avocado in a few days, buy it unripe and ripen it at home. Just place it in a brown paper bag and check daily until it begins to yield to slight pressure. Do not refrigerate.

Chilled Avocado Soup 'Cocktail'

Avocado3 ripe avocados
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 lime, cut in half
Zest from one lemon
1/4 lb. large cocktail shrimp, tails removed
1 rib of celery, peeled and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded with pith removed
2 mint leaves, julienned
1 Tbsp. olive oil 


Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit and scoop the flesh out with a large spoon. Cut the jalapeno in half. Dice one half and reserve.

Place the other half of the pepper, avocado, diced onion, vegetable stock, water and yogurt in a blender. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Add salt and juice from half lime and blend again to incorporate. Chill until ready to serve.

Dice the cocktail shrimp. Combine with reserved jalapeno, diced celery, lemon zest and mint. Dress with olive oil and the juice of the remaining half of lime.

Divide the soup into four large martini glasses. Divide the shrimp salad garnish evenly in the center of each glass.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional information
Per serving: 315.2 calories, 23.7g total fat, 7.9g protein, 23.1g carbohydrate, 10.8g dietary fiber, 30.6mg cholesterol, 541.8mg sodium, 9.9g sugar