The avocado is a buttery, luscious fruit native to Central and South America. Thanks to their nutty, creamy flavor, avocados are an amazing and healthy addition to everything from salads to sushi.
How To Pick An Avocado
Select a plump avocado with the button of the stem still in place. Ripe avocados will yield to slight pressure. Avoid fruit with blemishes and dark spots.
There are hundreds of varieties of avocados, but the California-grown Hass (pictured above) is the most popular and widely available. Its peak season runs spring through fall and they have a distinctive, pebbly skin that turns from green to greenish-black when ripe.
The Fuerte, also grown in California, is another common variety. Harvested from late fall to spring it has a smoother skin that darkens slightly but remains green when ripe.
Unripe (firm and green) avocados can take 4 to 5 days to fully ripen at room temperature. To speed this process, place avocados in a brown paper bag along with a banana or apple. The ethylene gases produced by these fruits should shorten the avocado's ripening time to 2 to 3 days.
Uncut, ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Cut fruit should be drizzled with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container. Use within a day or two.
Ripe avocados can also be mashed or puréed with a little lemon juice and frozen for up to 3 months.
Favorite Avocado Recipes
- Mexican Toasted Noodles with Cilantro Crema
- Shrimp Tacos with Corn and Avocado Salsa
- Avocado and Shrimp Crostini
- Our Favorite Guacamole
- Chilaquiles with Fresh Salsa and Avocado
- Linguine with Bacon, Shrimp and Avocado-Cilantro Pesto
- Linguine with Chipotle Onions and Avocado
- Margarita Shrimp Tostadas
Avocados sometimes get a bad rap for their high fat content, but in fact, they are actually low in saturated fat and high in healthy monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat helps to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, maintain good (HDL) cholesterol and assists the body in absorbing fat-soluble nutrients. Avocados are also a good source of potassium (better than a banana) and contain a number of other vitamins and minerals.