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How to pick, store and ripen an avocado.

05 January 2009

January articleWhat are the different types of avocados?

In Australia, you’ll find that avocados are grown all year round, but more are actually harvested in winter. 78% of our crop is the Hass variety, and 18% is the Shepard variety.

You can identify the Hass avocado by it’s dark purply-black colour and pebbly skin. The flesh is also soft and buttery. You’ll probably be interested to know that the Hass avocado got its name from Randolph Hass, who discovered and patented it in 1935 in California. 

You can tell the Shepard variety by its smoother skin and lighter green colour.

What is the best way to pick an avocado?

Unlike most fruit, you’ll find that avocado will not ripen until they’re picked from the tree. You should pick an avo by looking for uniformity and density. It should also be soft to touch, but spring back easily when released. It’s best you avoid fruit with bruises, soft spots and flat areas. This will mean your avo is overripe. To reduce your chances of buying a bad avo, get them firm and let them ripen undisturbed in your kitchen. If your avo ripens before you need to use it, place it in the refrigerator.

What is the best way to store an avocado?

You’ll discover that avocados oxidise very quickly. This causes the inside flesh to develop a brownish colour. You can prevent this from happening by either drizzling on lemon or lime juice. The citric acid slows the oxidation process, and will also add a fantastic flavour.

If you have made guacamole, dip or pureed avocado, cover it with glad wrap. Rather than covering the outer surface of the bowl, push the glad wrap onto the surface of the dip, making sure there is no air. This will stop the dip from browning. 

You’ll find that avocados are best eaten straight away, as refrigeration can slightly change the flavour. Believe it or not, you can freeze avos for up to two months. Simply remove the skin and pit, then cut into quarters.

What is the best way to ripen an avocado?

Placing an avo in a brown paper bag with a banana can actually help you speed up the ripening process. This is because of the banana’s naturally produced ethylene gas. You should keep the bag at room temperature and the avocado will ripen within two to five days.

What is the best way to eat an avocado?

Avos are incredibly versatile, as you can use them in sweet or savoury dishes. Try mashing the tender flesh into a dip, adding it to sweet foods and drinks or simply slicing it onto toast. Plus, it’s good to know that avos contain amazingly stable oils, which means you can heat them.

You’ll also be surprised to know that in Brazil, avocados are mixed with sugar and enjoyed as a sweet treat. In Indonesia, they mix it with coffee as a milk alternative.

 

Avocado and Grapefruit Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 of a cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of lime juice and zest
  • 2 tsp of honey or agave nectar
  • 1 medium avocado, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into cm cubes
  • 1 peeled pink grapefruit, cut into segments
  • 1 peeled navel orange, cut into segments
  • 1/2 a red capsicum, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups of rocket

Preparation:

  • Place the first four ingredients into a food processor and mix for a minute.
  • Place the remainder of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour over the dressing and mix through. Serve with salmon or lean meat.
 

Reference:

Golud, C (2006). Avocado: a fruit like no other.  Environmental Nutrition v26 i6 p8

Lofshult, Diane (2006). Grapefruit and Avocado salad. IDEA Fitness Journal v3 p82

Men’s Fitness (2003). The right avocado (How to Stop) v19 i9 p27

Kiser, Sherry (2002). Avocado lover: dig in. Prevention v54 i6 p152

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"Avocados contain Vitamin E, which is great for healthy hair. It may improve your hair condition and will help increase its feel and appearance."
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Thanks! We knew avos were this much fun, happy to see everyone else joining in RT @EmmaStirling Personal thanks to Lisa and Liz #eatkit