4/9/14

Everything you should know about avocados

Image credit: Marco.Finke. Edited by Merops.

When I was growing up, I only had avocados once or twice: they weren't in my family's regular diet.

But since I've been married, I've had them myriad times, mainly because my husband loves them (and now I do too!). He served a two-year mission for our church in Chile, and there avocados are like zucchini, but worse, because there are more of them and they spoil faster. People were always trying to unload the avocados their trees dropped on the roof and ground.

So here's what I've learned about avocados. Let's do this as a Q&A, shall we?

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Everything you should know about avocados

Q. How do you spell avocado
A. Avocado, not avacado. Please.

Q. How do you pluralize avocado?
A. Avocados. No need for an extra e.

Q. Are avocados a fruit or a vegetable?
A. Fruit.

Q. When are avocados in season?
A. California avocados are in season from February through September, but imported avocados from other countries such as Mexico allow us to have avocados year-round. (source)

Q. How do I choose an avocado at the store?
A. When are you going to use it? If you're going to use it today, look for an avocado that just barely gives when you press on it. If it's too mushy, don't buy it! If you're going to use your avocado in a few days, look for something a little firmer. It will ripen as you leave it out on your counter. Steer clear of rock-hard avocados unless you're not wanting to use it for a week or more.

Q. Should I keep my avocado on the counter or in the fridge?
A. Contrary to popular belief, either one is fine. Avocados left on the counter will ripen faster. If you store them in the fridge, ripening will slow down considerably, giving you several extra days in which to use them. Storing your avocados in the fridge can increase the likelihood of brown or black spots forming inside (see below), but I usually don't have a huge problem with it.

Q. Can I freeze avocados?
A. I haven't tried it, but others have done it successfully.

Q. How do I remove the pit from an avocado?
A. Remove the stem from the top. Cut in a line the tall way around the outside of the avocado, all the way to the pit, and pull it in half (this will be harder if your avocado isn't ripe). Now either scoop the pit out with a spoon (safer), or ease it out with your knife blade (less safe, but what I usually do).

Q. How do I slice an avocado?
A. Take your pitted avocado and scoop the flesh out with a spoon, trying to keep each half intact. Place pit-side down and slice. Some like to slice it still in the skin, but I find that's a good way to cut myself.

Q. How do I mash up an avocado?
A. Scoop the flesh out with a spoon into a bowl. Add a little lemon or lime juice and salt if you like, and mash it with a fork.

Q. Help! My avocado isn't soft enough to mash, but I need to anyway.
A. A food processor works for me. You may need to add extra liquid (lemon juice, water, olive oil, etc.) to get it going.

Q. How do I keep an avocado from going brown?
A. Acid. Mash or toss it with lemon or lime juice; with some of the dressing for the salad you're making, if it's a vinaigrette; or with anything edible and acidic that goes with your recipe.

Q. Help! My avocado has brown or black streaks going through it.
A. Oh dear, you've either let your avocado get too ripe or you've left it in the fridge for too long. I don't like the taste or smell of the spots, but they're not harmful. Cut the spots out if there's enough remaining salvageable flesh, and move forward with your recipe. (source)

Q. What should I make with my avocado?
A. Mash it up with salt and lemon or lime and dip your chips in it. (This is our lazy man's version of guacamole.)
A. Mash it up with salt and lemon and spread it on bread.
A. Put it on your hot dog, Chilean style.
A. Taco/nacho topping.
A. Put it on a salad.
A. Make my family's favorite salad.
A. Put it on a sandwich.
A. Put it on a grilled cheese sandwich.
A. Make this chickpea and avocado sandwich.

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This post brought to you by a fierce avocado craving. Do you have any avocado tips, facts, or recipes to share? Please do!


5 comments:

  1. I did not discover avocados until a couple of years ago. I don't think I'd EVER had one before then! I started making some guacamole and was completely smitten with them. I am SO MAD that I live in CA but in the high desert where I can't grow them- or citrus. Grrr...
    If only they weren't so ridiculously expensive! They are usually $1 a piece for large ones!

    My absolute favorite use for them is bacon, avocado and basil pasta salad. I can't seem to find the recipe that I pinned one time, but I'll keep looking. It's so good!

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  2. I discovered the fridge tip a few years ago - it's helped a lot with not wasting avocados! I bought 2 ripe ones today and stashed them in the fridge for dinner tomorrow night.

    I've read that keeping the pit in the guacamole helps it to stay green longer. And I read an interesting tip on The Kitchn for covering the surface of guacamole with water to keep it green for a day or so.

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  3. Avocados are a good source for healthy fat. For a great snack or a quick breakfast idea, toast a very grainy bread (multigrains, sprouted grains, not balloon bread) and spread fresh avocado
    slices on it, I add a chopped green onion to this and consume at once. Sooo good.
    I also choose the Haas variety of avocado for its warm, nutty flavor, but all avocados are good.

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  4. We use mashed spiced avocado as a bread spread, toss chunks of it with breakfast potato hash topped with egg, and puree it with lime juice and a dash of cayenne for great veggie dip. I love the combination of avocado and egg so much that sometimes I just put an egg over a few slices of avocado (and tomato if one is handy) with salt and pepper and eat it for breakfast.

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