Varieties of avocados mature at different times of the year. According to the University of California Extension, the Bacon variety is ready in December, the Hass in April, and the Reed is mature in July. Variances in climate can cause the avocados to ripen sooner or later, but only by one to three weeks. Hass avocados can live on the tree for up to eight months, while the Bacon variety has to be picked within two months. While avocados mature on the tree, they are not ready to eat until softened. Since avocados off the tree must be eaten within days, it is best to leave the fruit on the tree until ready to eat. This can extend the harvest period by many months.
Determine if fruit is truly mature. Pick one of the fruits, set it on a counter and wait for it to ripen. Once ripe, cut it open and remove the seed. Eat the fruit and assess its consistency and taste. Ripe fruit are creamy inside and should not be bitter. The remaining fruit on the tree can be picked once ripeness is determined.
Use a pair of pruning shears to cut the avocados from the tree. Clip the stem connecting the avocado to the tree. Leave a small piece of the stem attached to the avocado to help prevent decay during the ripening process.
Place avocados on a countertop until ripe, usually after fruit have turned a darker green or black. Check for ripeness by holding the fruit in your hand and applying gently pressure; if the fruit yields when pressed, it is ripe. Once ripe, the fruit can be stored in a refrigerator for up to a week.