Tips for Cooking with Avocado

Avocados, technically fruit, are full of healthy monounsaturated fats and essential nutrients.  If you’re looking to incorporate more of this superfood in your diet, check out these tips for selecting, preparing, and storing avocados.

Selection

To make sure you choose nice, ripe avocados the next time you visit the produce section, perform these two simple tests.

1)  The avocado should be soft.  I’m not talking mushy, but it should give under your fingers if you squeeze it.  (In my experience soft avocados tend to have skin that is more brown than green)

2)  Remove that little woody piece at the end of the avocado (see below).  If the color inside is green, you’re good to go.  If it’s brown, the avocado is overripe.  Find a different a one.

Avocado - Selection

Preparation

Once you’re ready to use your avocados (I wouldn’t recommend waiting more than a few days after purchasing), they’re really easy to cut, pit, and peel.  First, slide a knife into the center of the avocado, parallel to the long axis, until you hit the pit.  This doesn’t require a particularly sharp knife.  I use a steak knife from my cutlery set.

Then cut along the axis until you meet your original cut.  Now that you’ve cut all the way around, twist the two halves.  They should come apart easily.  The pit will be stuck in one of the halves.  Gently remove the pit with a knife or fork.  If you’re interested, you should be able to plant this pit to grow your own avocado.  I’ve never tried it so I can’t give you any advice for planting.

Avocado - Halved

After you’ve cut and pitted your avocado, you need to peel it.  Slide a spoon just underneath the skin (seen below), and run the spoon around the edges of the avocado.

Avocado - Peel

The entire half should come away from the skin in one piece.  Now you can slice, mash, or puree your avocado as called for in your recipe.

Storage

Often, I use only half of an avocado at a time.  Storing these things can be tricky.  They brown very easily!  The first thing you want to do is lightly brush the surface of the avocado with water.

Avocado - Brush with Water

You don’t want to soak it.  You need only a thin layer of water.  This layer helps seal the surface of the avocado to prevent browning.

Next, wrap the avocado in plastic wrap.  Now you can stick it in the refrigerator to use the next day.  Or if, like me, you don’t need it for several days, put it in a freezer bag and freeze.  Move to the refrigerator to defrost the night before you need it.

Avocado - Wrapped to Freeze

Following these simple tricks, you’re ready to use these rich, flavorful, healthy fruits in your kitchen!

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