I used to use Avocados sparingly and intermittently.
I knew they were healthy, and wanted to use them more often; however, they seemed like an expensive waste to me. I could never quite tell when it was perfectly ripe...not to mention how many I would cut open to find bruises! I wanted to be able to eat them daily, but that would cost a fortune at the rate I went through them before finding a good one.
Over time, and paying close attention, I finally figured it out - How to find the perfect avocado! A couple of years later I asked one of my sisters in-law why hadn't any one of them ever taught me the secret to finding a good avocado!? I was surprised to find out she had no idea of how you find the perfect one other than squeezing to test ripeness. After that brief conversation, I decided that perhaps a post on this may be in order?
They key to having prefect avocados, is to buy the bags of them before they have ripened at all. So there is the catch- you have to slightly plan ahead a little. Check to make sure that every avocado in the bag has it's stem intact; that is very important!
Take them home and set them in a safe place, ie: somewhere that kids won't find them and use them as part of their Lego world (that's my reality at least)... Allow them to ripen and just keep checking in on them daily.
When they start to ripen, the skins will begin to shrink away from the stem, like this:
I used to think that buying them dark and soft were the only factors in picking up a ripe avocado. As you can see though, the color has darkened (first picture) before the stem loosens. As for the softness, if some one squeezes it before you (checking softness), it will have started to soften from bruising!
***If a stem pops off prematurely, it will rot inside!***
So now you are probably thinking, "Great.... but what do I do with 5 ripe avocados for the one day they will still be good?!" One word: Refrigerator. I remembered reading that you should never store an unripe avocado in the refrigerator because once it is cold, it will never ripen. The process stops, and you are out of luck. That made me think to test out cold storage for my ripe ones. How long can they last? I can't tell you they last longer than 5 days... because I always eat them all by then. I do know they last at least that long. I've gotten used to eating cold avocados at breakfast, but if you want to pull it out the night before (or at breakfast for dinnertime), it will warm up just fine! Sometimes I microwave on defrost to warm them too.
Enjoy your avocados!