It’s time to pay homage to the beloved avocado. Saturday is deemed National Avocado Day. This fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) has many good-for-you-qualities. Whether you use them to make guacamole, slice for salads or mash for toast here’s a few tips to keep in mind. And, in honor of its day, two chains are offering some guac specials.
How to buy avocados
Avocados ripen after they are picked, not on the tree. A ripe avocado will yield to gentle pressure when you push into it. The skin will be pebbly and purplish-black. Once ripe, you can store uncut avocados in the refrigerator for about three days. The skin of an unripe avocado will be hard and green. Buy these if you don’t plan on using them right away.
How to ripen avocados
I’ve seen and used many ways tips and tricks that claim to quickly ripen avocados. None of them really worked. The best way, as mentioned above, is to buy them ripe is you need to use them right away. If not, have patience and give them a few days.
How to wash avocados
Treat avocados the same way you do melons: Washing them under cool water before slicing into them. Because avocado skins are pebbly — as are some melons — use a vegetable brush to scrub them. Once scrubbed, pat them dry with paper towels. And always make sure you are preparing them on a clean work surface.
How to slice avocados
Once washed, hold the avocado in a clean dish towel. Insert the tip of a knife through the skin, flesh and to the pit/seed. Cut around the seed, rotating the avocado with one hand and holding the knife with the other. Once you’ve cut around the whole avocado, twist to separate it in half. At this point, you can scoop out the flesh, slice or dice it.
How to store
Once cut in half, sliced, diced or its flesh mashed, avocados don’t last long. Once exposed to air the flesh begins to oxidize and will darken. It doesn’t happen immediately, but will over time. You can extend the life of guacamole by placing and pressing a piece of plastic wrap directly on the dip and refrigerate. Rubbing slices with lemon or lime juices and wrapping in plastic also helps. I’ve had good luck placing an avocado half, cut side down in a container, and add about ¼-inch of water. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator.
Health benefits of avocados
Avocados are a darling fruit noted for their high good fat content — monounsaturated. This is the fat noted for helping to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Avocados are also a good fat source for those following a ketogenic diet.