Avocados have a bad rap for being fattening. It is true that they are a high fat food, but their fat provides health benefits including anti-inflammatory phytosterols. In fact, avocados are very good for us. They provide almost 20 essential nutrients including fiber, Vitamins E, K, B6, C, potassium and folic acid.
The Haas variety of avocado is the most popular in the U.S. It is rough skinned, very dark green and has a smaller pit and more buttery texture than the second place Fuerte avocado. Sometimes known as alligator pears, avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable.
Best way to buy and use avocados:
- Anyone who has cut into an unripe avocado knows that they can only be eaten when fully ripe. Most fresh avocados are shipped to markets unripe. To test for ripeness, hold an avocado gently in your hand. A ripe one will have some give but still be firm. If you leave a dent when you press, it is overripe but can still be used in any recipe that requires mashing (like guacamole).
- To ripen an unripe avocado, put it in a brown paper bag for a couple of days. To hasten ripening add an apple to the bag. This also works for most fruits that need ripening.
- They are best served at room temperature but if ripe, can be ‘held’ in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.
- To open, cut in half lengthwise and gently twist the two halves in opposite directions.
- Most chefs remove the pit by placing the half with the pit on a hard surface. Take a sharp knife and embed the blade lengthwise in the pit. Lift the knife and the pit will come with it.
- To remove the pulp scoop it out with a spoon and if you’re careful the pulp will come out in one piece.
- Avocado pulp can be frozen for future use. Mash the pulp with 2T lime juice, place in an airtight container with little extra space. It will last up to six months.
- To avoid discoloration, add lemon or lime juice. Leaving the pit in guacamole will NOT prevent discoloration. Covering the guacamole with lemon slices also helps. Another trick is to rinse or submerge the avocado slices in cold water.
From allrecipes.com is our favorite guacamole recipe:
- 3 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.
Prep time is 10 minutes