Creamy, slighty nutty, and a gorgeous green color, avocados are a very versatile food (not to mention delicious), even though they are most often associated with the party favorite guacamole. But avocados are so much more than just guacamole. They can be grilled, fried, puréed, or used as a garnish or meal of their own. Whether eaten alone with salt and lime juice as a snack, or with some mint and honey as a dessert, avocados are a good source of unsaturated fat (a healthy fat), Vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and other nutrients.
If you find yourself with a rock hard avocado, you can do one of two things: You can wait two to four days for it to ripen, or you can put it in a brown paper bag with a banana to speed up the ripening process. Once cut into, avocados oxidize quickly (turn brown), so it's best to use them immediately and cut them open right before eating. If you have leftover avocado, try wrapping them tightly in plastic or rubbing the cut sides with lemon or lime juice (the acid stops the oxidations process). P.S. It's just a myth that the avocado seed prevents browning. If you've ever left one in your guacamole, you'll know what I'm talking about.
So, if you're looking for an added boost of creaminess plus healthful nutrients, try using avocados in salads, smoothies, sandwiches, or omelettes, or layering slices on tacos or grilled fish. But if you're looking for a new way to use this healthy ingredient, then try one of our delicious ways below. And please do let us know if you have an avocado go-to of your own!
This story was originally published May 26, 2011.