An avocado is actually a tropical fruit, yes, a fruit. Even more mind blowing???? Wait for it… an avocado is actually considered a berry! Okay, I realize this might not be as exciting to you as it is to me (I realize I am clearly food geeking out) but I just recently found out the same information about a banana, and I am still processing it. A Banana is a berry? Yes it is. Here’s my link for a quick 1 minute read. They lied to you about strawberries too. ijs
Back to avocados. Avocados are grown mostly in California and Florida and can be anywhere from a bright green color to a dark purplish-black color. The inside fruit can be a buttery yellow color or a brighter green color. The texture of the fruit is luscious and creamy once perfectly ripened.
The minute an avocado leaves it’s tree it begins to ripen faster. However, I can almost never find a perfectly ripened avocado at the grocery store. That said our local farmers market always has them. In the event you find them the very day you need them, good for you! It’s never a bad idea to cozy up to your produce manager of your store, get their name and remember it, many of them will hold great produce for you just because you are nice to them. Plus it’s nice for them to interact with their customers, most of the time they probably feel invisible, always getting out of a customers way, whom probably just knocked all the shiny apples out of sync (yes, I did that). All these hardworking men and women need is an appreciative customer. I know this because my father in law was a little Italian man, who had every lady customer in his produce department swooning over him, and he loved to do special orders for his customers. He was quite the charmer, who knew his stuff.
Okay, back to how you to pick your avocados at the store. First, find a darker colored fruit with perhaps even a tinge of green. It should be a unblemished and not dented fruit and you should just hold it in your hand. It should feel very heavy, and the skin should feel tight around it. Give the fruit alight squeeze, if you feel no give at all, but don’t need it right away grab it, I’ll speak on ripening in a moment. If you find one and you just know its your avocado, it will be firm, yet tender with a tiny squeeze. I you pick and squeeze an overripe avocado, it will explode like a guacamole grenade and you should just back away from the produce department. I’m kidding, but I have had one or two explode on my hands; kind of like stepping on a toothpaste tube.
Once you are home and if you purposely bought avocados for later in the week, place them in a brown paper bag and keep them out of the sunlight. They will ripen this way in 2 to 3 days. I always ask for a couple of the ice cream brown paper freezer bags just for this purpose.
When you are ready to use your avocado, lay it flat on a cutting board, while also pressing down on the top of the avocado with your hand, spread your fingers and splay them upwards to avoid injury. You’ll want to cut your avocado lengthwise, working your knife gently around the pit until the two side can be separated. To remove the pit, wrap the side of the avocado still holding the pit in a towel (I also suggest holding it with an oven mitt for extra protection), once you have a good grip, fingers protected, give the pit a good whack with your knife. Be careful, no Jackie Chan stuff; your knife doesn’t have to be more then four inches from the avocado. If you’ve done it right, your knife should be embedded in the pit. And with a gentle twist, the pit pops right out. Do NOT throw the pit away!
Finally, you are ready to get at that yumminess. Slice away, if not, you can scoop it with a cookie scoop, a spoon or score it in to cubes for easy mashing, perhaps if you are making guacamole.
And one last important tip: as soon as the fruit is either exposed to air or out of the avocado, in a bowl etc., it can start browning pretty fast. sprinkle lime or lemon juice over the top to slow that process. Another incredible help is to take the pit, and place it in the middle of the bowl, pressing it down into the avocado mixture. That little pit, will help keep your avocado fresh until the minute you need it. The same tip goes, if you only use half of an avocado, keep the pit in the unused side and wrap it airtight. Just remember, once you have avocado, guacamole etc., lemon juice and that pit will keep it looking fresh until your serve it. We are talking hours here not days. Don’t remove the inside fruit until you are very close to using it.
I posted a recipe for Avocado Brownies, click this link and check them out. I know exactly what you are thinking, but they really are wonderful! And boy did I pull one over on my kids! Ha!
I hope this helps you in some way!
Enjoy your day!
-Jaye (no, I did not do that on purpose):)