How To Pick The Perfect Avocado
The avocado is the superfood that everyone is talking about. This delectably fatty fruit has transformed into a cultural icon over the past several years. It has made its way into popsicles, artwork, smoothies, and so much more. However you intend to use the fruit, the first thing you need to know is how to pick the perfect avocado.
Tips for Picking a Ripe Avocado
You can most likely find avocados in grocery stores year-round. Most of the avocados that you can buy in the U.S. are sourced from Mexico and California. In California, the peak season for avocados is late spring into early summer. Luckily for us, Mexico can grow avocados year-round due to their rich soil, giving us the benefit of enjoying this delicious fruit all year long!
You may have noticed that avocados are a stubborn fruit. There tends to be a very short frame of time between the avocado being unripe to overripe. When picking your avocado, there are a few things to look for.
- The skin of the avocado – If you’re looking for an avocado to eat immediately, the skin should be a dark purple or almost black. If the skin of the avocado is still emerald green, it will probably take three to four more days to ripen.
- The stem – Pop off the tiny stem of the avocado to reveal the color underneath. If it is brown, the avocado is ripe and ready to eat! If the color under the stem is turning tan, but it’s not quite brown, it may need two to three days to ripen.
- Consistency – If the avocado is a little soft, it is ready for use! If your avocado is still somewhat firm, it may need a couple of days to ripen. To speed up the ripening process, you can store your avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple. The apple releases a natural gas called ethylene which, when trapped in a contained area, accelerates the ripening process.
How to Cut an Avocado
If your avocado is ripe, cutting it should be a breeze! Follow the steps below to successfully and safely cut your avocado.
- Place your avocado on the cutting board on its side.
- Hold the top of the avocado securely while you cut it lengthwise around the seed.
- Rotate both sides of the fruit to open the halves and reveal the pit.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the pit.
- If you want slices, cut the halves into quarters and gently scoop the avocado out of the skin.
- If you don’t need slices, you can scoop out the flesh of the avocado with a spoon.
If you’ve cut your avocado and you realize it’s not ripe enough, there’s no need to worry! You can save your avocado with the following steps.
- Rub lime or lemon juice on the flesh of the avocado.
- Squeeze the avocado halves back together.
- Wrap the avocado in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
Be sure to check on your avocado every day so you know when it has ripened!
Using Avocado as a Substitute
There are a variety of health benefits that avocados have to offer! Consider swapping ingredients with avocado for a more nutritional dish.
Skip the mayonnaise and use mashed avocado in recipes like tuna salad for a healthier alternative. By using avocado, you are replacing the saturated fats in mayonnaise with monounsaturated fats that help in lowering cholesterol. You’re also eliminating the sodium and preservatives which are found in mayonnaise.
Believe it or not, avocado can be used as an egg replacement for a variety of recipes, including desserts! For every 1 egg, use 2 tbs. to a quarter cup of avocado. You may need to experiment with this substitution to find just the right measurement. One thing to keep in mind is that the natural soft texture of the avocado tends to make cakes cave in the center and remain soft. If you appreciate a fudgy dessert, this will be no problem for you.
Rather than using butter or oil in desserts like cakes or brownies, try using avocado instead! The natural fattiness of the fruit will replace the butter without compromising the flavor.
If you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative to a creamy dressing, avocado is the answer. With just 1/2 of a ripe avocado, some herbs, and a squeeze of lemon, you can replace your sodium-filled dressing with a creamy and nutritional option.
Tasty Avocado Recipes
With Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, consider trying some of these tasty avocado recipes!
These mouth-watering fish tacos pair perfectly with avocado salsa! Choose tilapia, swai, or a similar fish for the best results.
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 4 fish fillets (1 lb.)
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 corn tortillas, warmed
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 1/2 c. fresh pico de gallo, salsa verde, or picante sauce
- 1 medium lime
Skip the bleu cheese dressing, and try this delicious avocado dipping sauce with your fajita chicken wings!
- 2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings
- 2 pkgs. of fajita or taco seasoning
- 3/4 c. ketchup
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Hass avocados
- 1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Enjoy this egg dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! It’s a savory meal that will entice your taste buds.
- 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 8 large eggs
- 2/3 c. milk
- 3/4 tsp. dried leaf oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 avocados
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 c. feta cheese
- 1/2 c. Kalamata olives
- 1/2 c. Fire roasted sweet red bell peppers