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Tips & Tricks: Avocado

Avocado Half Cut

The avocado is a delicious green fruit most often enjoyed as the star of guacamole or sliced atop a salad or a burger. Despite it’s creamy flesh, its bumpy dark green exterior can make choosing a good, ripe one tricky or even intimidating.

Here are some tips & tricks to enjoying your avocado at its best:

 

How to know it’s ripe

Avoid avocados with soft spots or flat areas on the outside. If the avocado is firm and well-shaped, it is usually a sign that the fruit is good on the inside.

To do more than guess whether the creamy interior is ripe, we turned to Northwest Edible Life’s simple explanation:

avocado collage

(via Northwest Edible Life)

To find out if the avocado is edible, remove the stem. If it is hollow and brown underneath, it’s rotten. If you see a yellow-green color, it’s a good one!  Erica Strauss of NEL recommends allowing it to ripen on the counter for a couple of days and enjoying it as soon as the skin becomes black.

“The difference between a soft and creamy avocado and a brown-streaked, half-rotten one is only a few days on the counter,” Strauss says on her blog.

 

How to store it

Store avocados on your counter, but take caution when placing it along with other fruits in a fruit bowl. The enzymes released from the other fruits will speed up the ripening process. If you’re in a rush to ripen it, you can use this technique — just be sure to check it every day.  Once ripe, it is best to eat it right away or keep it in the fridge for up to three to five days (which slows its maturation).

Avocados ripen unevenly in extreme temperatures, which you will see during summer and winter months. They are more delicate than they may seem, so remember to handle avocados with care to avoid bruising.

 

How to slice it

1. Insert a sharp knife into the avocado until you hit the stone.

2. Rotate the avocado around the knife until it’s completely cut in half.

3. Grip both sides of the avocado and twist slightly to pull it apart.

4. Knock the stone with the heel of your knife to embed it, and then twist to remove it.

5. If you want to dice the avocado, make a series of even, parallel cuts using a paring knife, taking care that the knife doesn’t cut through the skin and into your hand!

Then, rotate the avocado 90 degrees, making another series of even, parallel cuts with your paring knife.

6. Over a bowl, use a spoon to scoop out the chunks of the avocado flesh.

7. To slice the avocado, simply make a series of even parallel cuts, and then use a spoon to pull out the flesh. For nice presentation, try to get it all out at once.

Need to see avocado slicing in action? We love this video by Serious Eats on the perfect way of cutting an avocado to get great slices or cubes every time.

 

How to keep an open avocado from browning

Prevent leftover avocados from browning by sprinkling lime or lemon juice on the exposed flesh, sealing it tightly with plastic and keeping it in the fridge. This slows the oxidation process, which causes the unappetizing brown color.

 

When to toss it

If an avocado rattles when shaken, it’s time to toss it. Rattling indicates that the pit has pulled away from the flesh and is overripe.

Did you know? It’s a myth that placing the avocado pit in your guacamole will stop the mixture from turning brown.  All that does is prevent the portion directly below the pit from browning because it doesn’t get oxygen!

 

Do you have any unique tips on picking or storing your avocados?

 

- Pareesha Narang

when is an avocado ripe

 

 

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