Avocados! We all love them, but sometimes they can be a bit tricky to understand. For those of us not well versed in the life cycle of avocados and how to select them, picking a couple out or keeping a few avocados fresh can seem like an epic challenge.
Pati Jinich, of Pati’s Mexican Table, grew up with avocados like I did. She had a few tips for those who are not too familiar with the avocado. I thought I’d add to her tips in five easy steps and help you to figure this extraordinary food out!
— David Wolfe (@DavidWolfe) October 21, 2015
Don’t miss out when purchasing, opening, and storing avocados.
Follow these tips for the best results!
1. Use Your Eyes and Hands
First look for mold around the stem. If you pop the stem out of the avocado, and you see brown or black underneath, the avocado is likely moldy. Reject it. It should be green under the stem.
When you pick up an avocado, select it if it has more weight for its size than most. In addition, a valid assessment of ripeness is evaluated from color and texture. Ripe Hass avocados are almost black in color, and they are soft. Ripe Reed, Bacon, Zutano or Pinkerton avocados* are green and soft when ripe. Avoid any avocados that are too mushy.
*[There are over 600 varieties of avocados.]
2. Focus on Various Stages of Ripeness
Buying a whole bunch of avocados in bulk might seem like a great idea, but one needs to consider ripeness levels. If one purchases avocados at varying stages of freshness, none will be wasted. “What I do, and I think this gives you more freedom, is I buy for the week,” Jinich explains. “I look for green and rock hard (for the end of the week), and ripe and soft (for tomorrow).” That way the batch will ripen gradually, and you can have perfect avos every day of the week. (Well and Good)
Of course, if all your avocados ripen at once, then it is time for guacamole!
3. Keep Avocados Out of the Refrigerator
Avocados ripen best out of the refrigerator. If you have a fully ripe avocado that needs to last one more day, it may be put in the refrigerator to extend its life. Also, if you have unripe avocados that you want to ripen up faster, place them in a paper bag or wrap them in paper with ripening bananas. The avocados will ripen more quickly due to the release of ethylene gas by the ripening bananas.
4. Getting the Pit Out
There are plenty of fancy ways to get the pit out of an avocado, but simple and safe methods are typically the best methods. You can cut the avocado in half then gently squeeze the avocado half with the pit until the pit pops out, or push the side of the pit with the tip of a spoon until it drops out. These are easier, safer, child-safe methods than stabbing or hooking a knife blade into the pit.
5. Preserving Avocados and Guacamole
If you can only eat half an avocado at a time or have the half left over, you may be looking for a way to save the other half. Keep the half with the pit in it, as the pit preserves the avocado. Avocado pits may also be dropped into guacamole to prevent early spoiling. Jinch suggests wrapping an avocado half super tightly with plastic wrap, pressing it as close to the flesh as you can before sticking it in the fridge. The flesh of the avocado and the top of the guacamole could also be dripped with lemon or lime juice; this will preserve freshness and will also add flavor.
Special Note: Avocado pits are edible, but not recommended due to astringency and lack of taste.