Full of scrumptious goodness
Do you love avocados? Here are a few facts and tips on how to prepare this very nutritious fruit. The avocado is colloquially known as the “Alligator Pear”, reflecting its shape and the leather-like appearance of its skin.
Avocados come in various shapes and sizes. When selecting an avocado, go for one that's not too big as bigger avocados tend to retain more water.
Avocados have various health benefits and the trick is to understand a few rules when it comes to preparing and consuming it.
Selecting and Storing Avocado
- A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft and should have no dark spots or cracks on the skin. If the avocado has a neck, rather than a rounded top, it was probably tree ripened and will have better flavour. A firmer, less mature fruit can be ripened at home and will be less likely to have bruises.
- A firm avocado will ripen in a paper bag or in a fruit basket at room temperature within a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.
- It's best to refrigerate a whole avocado and not in slices to avoid browning that occurs when the flesh is exposed to air.
- Store sliced avocados in a plastic bag or place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Sprinkling the exposed surface(s) with lemon juice will help to prevent the browning that can occur when the flesh comes into contact with oxygen in the air.
Tips for Preparing Avocados
- Use a stainless steel knife to cut the avocado lengthwise and in half.
- Gently twist the two halves in opposite directions if you find that the flesh is clinging to the pit.
- Remove the pit, either with a spoon or by spearing it with the tip of a knife.
You can also use the "nick and peel" method to peel the avocado. Just take your thumb and index finger to grip an edge of the avocado skin and peel it away from the flesh, in exactly the same way that you would peel a banana.
The final result will be a peeled avocado that contains most of that dark green outermost flesh that is richest in carotenoid antioxidants.