How to Cook with Avocado
Avocado is a delicious fruit packed with nutrition. I have grown up cooking with avocado and enjoy it many different ways. Over the years I have become comfortable choosing a ripe avocado, ripening an avocado, peeling an avocado, and keeping my prepared avocado from turning brown. If you can master these tasks, you will be able to use avocado in your cooking and you won't have to worry about wasting money on fruit that is not yet ripe or is too ripe.
How to Test an Avocado for Firmness
When testing an avocado for firmness, remember to:
- hold the avocado in the palm of your hand;
- gently squeeze with your fingers (not fingertips) as much as possible;
- be careful not to bruise the fruit.
When is an Avocado Ripe?
Choosing a good avocado can be a daunting task. While we all enjoy guacamole and fresh avocado slices, picking a ripe avocado can seem a bit of a mystery. The good news is that with a little practice you can learn to choose a ripe avocado. Here are some tips on how to tell if an avocado is ripe.
Firmness - An avocado of any type is considered ripe when it is only somewhat soft. Really soft or mushy avocados are over ripe. Over ripe avocados feel mushy. When you test firmness by pressing on them, an indentation will remain on the avocado skin.
Avocados that are really hard are not yet ripe, cannot be mashed easily, and lack flavor. These avocados feel like stones.
A just right and ripe avocado will feel barely soft when you press on the skin but should not have an indentation where you touched it afterward.
Color - Haas avocados should have skin that is a very dark purplish/black color. Green Haas avocados will not be ripe. While color is important it is only one part of determining if the fruit is ripe.
Remove the Stem - Another way to determine if an avocado is ripe is the remove the little brown stem. If the area underneath the stem is dark brown or black, choose another fruit. If the area under the stem is bright yellow green, the avocado is ripe.
Why Does a Brown Paper Bag Make an Avocado Ripe?
When an avocado is placed in a closed brown paper bag, the bag traps ethylene gas produced by the fruit. This gas speeds the ripening process for the avocado. By adding an apple or banana to the bag with the avocado more ethylene gas is trapped. This can ripen an avocado in 1-3 days!
How to Make an Avocado Ripen
I have been to the store numerous times wanting to buy avocado only to find that all of them are hard as rocks and not yet ripe. If you have a 7-10 days to wait, these avocados will ripen while sitting at room temperature. If you would like to speed the ripening process, try either of these methods.
Ripen an Avocado in 3-6 Days - Place the avocado in a brown paper bag. Close the bag. The fruit will be ripe in 3-6 days.
Quick Ripen Method for Avocado (1-3 days) - Place the avocado in a brown paper bag. Add an apple or banana to the bag. The avocado will be ripe in 1-3 days.
How to Peel an Avocado: Step by Step Photo GuideClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Peel an Avocado
Peeling an avocado is a simple task, but it is important to do it right. The avocado is loaded with nutrients, and many of those are on the outer part of the fruit just beneath the hard skin. So, take a little care when peeling avocado to preserve its nutritional content.
- Make a cut all around the avocado from top to bottom. This will create two halves.
- Hold the bottom half firmly in your hand and gently twist off the top half with your other hand. One half will remain attached to the pit.
- Cut both halves into quarters. Cut the side containing the pit on the outside of the skin from top to bottom.
- To remove the pit, hold one side of the avocado and gently twist the other side off of the pit. The pit will remain on a 1/4 slice of avocado. Hold the avocado firmly while pulling and twisting the pit away from the avocado. (You will get a little fruit on your hands when doing this.)
- Grasp one quarter of avocado firmly in your hand. Peel the thick skin from the top of the fruit all the way to the bottom. It comes off easily.
- Repeat with remaining quarters.
How to Keep Avocado from Turning Brown
Ripe avocados have a beautiful green color when freshly cut. Most of us have experienced how quickly that green color can turn to a yucky brown color. Avocado turns brown when cut because the enzymes it contains react with air (oxidation). There are a few things you can do to keep your avocado fresh and green longer.
- Drizzle lemon or lime juice onto guacamole or avocado slices. The acid in the juice keeps delays the oxidation for a few hours.
- When you slice an avocado into two halves do not remove the pit if you are only eating 1/2 of the avocado. Drizzle lemon or lime juice on the half with the pit and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. The avocado should stay fresh for about two days.
- Place avocado in ice cold water immediately after cutting or slicing. Water will prevent oxygen from reaching the fruit and prevent browning. Store this way for up to 4 hours.
- Cover cut, sliced or mashed avocado tightly with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should touch the fruit directly. Be sure there are no air bubbles under the plastic wrap.
What to Make with Avocado
Avocados are a wonderful treat when eaten alone, as a dip or in a dish. Some ideas for cooking with avocado are:
- guacamole (of course!);
- sliced in sandwiches;
- diced in salads;
- add to smoothies;
- sliced or mashed on toast;
- fried avocado;
- avocado soup;
- diced in salsa of any kind;
- and whatever else you can dream up!
Experiment with avocado and enjoy all of its health benefits along the way. To your health!
More About Avocado
- What Are the Benefits of Avocado?
Avocado is delicious to eat and full of nutrients that promote health. This delicious fruit is heart healthy and helps decrease cholesterol, control blood pressure and regulates blood sugar levels.
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