Credit: Tina Rupp

Select: Pebbly-skinned Hass avocados are more flavorful than smooth-skinned Fuertes. Choose avocados that are firm but give slightly, then ripen them at home. Don't squeeze too hard. Instead, cup the avocado in your hand and feel it gently with your fingers.

Store: To ripen avocados, store them on a countertop at room temperature. Extend the life of a ripe one by putting it in the refrigerator, unbagged. After a few days, it will shrivel, which means it's time to make guacamole.

Life span: 5 to 7 days.

Good to know: Avocados can be frozen for up to 2 months for later use. Freeze them as a puree (with a few drops of lemon juice to prevent them from browning), rather than in slices.