A Guide To Buying And Cooking Avocados
It’s said the British called avocados “alligator pear” because of their rough, alligator-like skin. But despite the fruit’s rough skin, avocados are rich, creamy and delicious on the inside. Available year round in grocery stories, but at their peak in the spring and summer, avocados are also a great source of vitamin K, potassium, and folic acid.
They contain oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that researchers think may lower cholesterol, they provide all the essential amino acids, plus they’re a good source of omega-3 and omega 6. In other words, they are a food worth eating more often.
How to Buy Avocado
It can be tricky to purchase avocados that are perfectly ripe. In most grocery stores, they are either hard and not yet ripe, or too soft and over-ripe. This is why it makes sense to buy nearly-ripe avocados and allow them to sit at room temperature; they will ripen in a couple of days.
Once an avocado is ripe, it’s best to eat it right away. However, it will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
A fully ripe avocado is should yield slightly to a gentle squeeze and should have no bruises (darker, sunken spots) or cracks. Hass avocados, which are the standard in the United States, have dark green or black skin that’s bumpy.
Fuerte avocados are smoother, and their skin is a brighter green. However, their skin should not be bright green. Avocados grown in Florida aren’t as rich tasting as those grown in California, but they do have fewer calories and less fat.
How to Store Unused Portions
If you need only part of an avocado, store the remainder in an airtight storage bag. If you have a half avocado, keeping the pit intact will help prevent browning. Otherwise, sprinkling the unused avocado with lemon juice will do the trick.
How to Prepare Avocado
In most cases, avocados are cut up for use in recipes. For best results, cut the fruit lengthwise with a sharp knife, rotating the avocado slightly to cut fully around the pit. Twist the top half from the bottom half.
To remove the pit, gently insert a knife into the seed and lift.
Ripe avocados peel easily. Place the fruit, cut side down, on a cutting board and remove the skin with your fingers or with a paring knife. Alternatively, you can scoop out the meat of the avocado, or use a knife to score the meat; if the avocado is ripe, the meat will fall out easily.
You may also mash avocado with a fork until the desired texture is reached.
How to Cook Avocado
Diced or sliced avocado is an excellent addition to salads.
Trying garnishing a soup of black beans with chopped avocado.
Use mashed avocado on sandwiches.
Add avocado to salsa, or serve sliced avocado alongside your favorite bean-based dishes.
How to Freeze Avocado
Although avocados are available year round, if you find a great sale, you can mash up the fruit and freeze it. Be sure to add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice for each avocado, and mix it well into the mashed fruit.
This will prevent browning. Place in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible from the bag, and store in the freezer for up to six months.
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