Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Avocados
Today on The Daily Meal
Creamy, silky, and undeniably delicious, avocados are not a tough sell. Unfortunately, for those living on the East Coast and in colder climates, avocados do not grow on trees like they do in some parts of the world. But thanks to modern technology and transportation, cold-climate dwellers can also enjoy all that is lovely about avocados.
But as approachable and versatile as avocados are, they are also a little mysterious. Particularly when it comes to how to ripen them quickly or how to best store leftover halves that went uneaten (how that happens is beyond us — just eat it!)
To answer these pressing questions and to learn more about avocados in general, we turned to Avocados from Mexico, who sent us a sample of their fabulous product, which we used to create the tasty recipes below.
Cristy-Lucie Alvarado, a representative of Avocados from Mexico shared some tips and information that any avocado lover should know. Check out what she has to say below and don’t miss the great avocado recipes we came up with!
What’s the best way to ripen an avocado?
The best way to ripen avocados is to keep them in a warm part of your kitchen. Either wrap them up in a kitchen towel on the counter or put them in a basket on top of the refrigerator. The warmer the area, the faster they’ll ripen. Putting an avocado and a banana in a brown paper bag together also speeds up the process.
Can avocados be refrigerated?
It is OK to refrigerate avocados, but don’t expect them to get ripe. The best time to refrigerate them is once they are ripe and you want them to last a few more days. The cold temperature will halt the ripening process and allow you to have perfectly ripe avocados whenever you’re ready for them.
Cut around the lengthwise circumference and twist the avocado halves apart. If an avocado is ripe, all you need to do is hold the avocado half in the palm of your hand and with the other hand gently push the pit out with the tip of a knife. This is much safer than trying to lodge a knife into the pit and twisting it out.
If there's a leftover half, what's the best way to preserve it?
With your finger, rub a little lemon juice or oil on the exposed flesh. Then, using clingy plastic wrap, tightly cover the avocado, making sure the plastic wrap is pressed tightly against the green flesh, even where the pit used to be, to avoid any exposure to oxygen which will cause it to brown. If the flesh does turn brown, simply slice off the top layer of the avocado half to reveal the perfect green flesh underneath!
Besides being delicious, what health benefits do avocados offer?
Avocados have nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including potassium, vitamins B6, C and E, folate, and fiber. They have the "good" fats — heart healthy mono- and poly- unsaturated fats — which make avocados a good alternative to foods rich in saturated fats such as mayo and cream cheese. Avocados act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Does removing avocados from the tree before they are ripe affect the flavor of the avocados?
Avocados do not begin to ripen until they are removed from the tree. While on the tree, avocados develop the oils and nutrients that make them so creamy and nutritious. Avocados must reach a minimum oil content so that they properly ripen once off the tree. Once they’ve reached a minimum oil requirement, they are hand-picked and arrive in your supermarket within two to five days. The longer an avocado stays on the tree, the oilier and creamier it becomes. In Mexico, avocados can spend up to one year on the tree thanks to the unique climate and growing region.
What are some unusual ways to eat avocados that people might not know about?
Avocados are a wonderful addition to eggs in the morning. Try some slices in an omelette or mash up an avocado, spread it on crusty toast, and top it off with a fried egg.
Avocados are a great substitute for dairy in smoothies. They give you a creamy mouthfeel and a boost of nutrients without the saturated fat. Try blending pineapple chunks in juice, an avocado, and ice for a light, creamy beverage.
Avocados are great in a fruit salad — it is a fruit after all! Strawberries, apples, mango, papaya, pineapple, and banana are all great with avocado. Toss a few of these and avocado chunks with lemon juice and chopped mint for a tropical fruit salad.
Are there any other facts about avocados that people may not know?
- Avocados are cholesterol-free
- Besides lemon or lime juice, oil also keeps avocados from browning.
- The pit in the guacamole tip is a myth!
- Avocado leaves smell like anise and are used to flavor Mexican food such as beans and fish.
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