Getting to Know Your Avocado

We eat a lot of avocados.  I like them.  In case you hadn’t noticed.

perfect-halves

Avocados are a lot like mushrooms. People either hate them or they love them, and then there’s a group that just has never tried them because they were never introduced to them when they were sitting around their dinner table at night in third grade. I urge you to give them a try. They’re good for you.

Avocados are wonderful sources of B vitamins, fiber, folate and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. They have long been linked with uterine health and fertility in Aztec culture. Yes, they are high in fat, but it’s monounsaturated fat that has been shown to reduce overall and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and increase the amount of “good” (HDL) cholesterol after only seven days.

Mixing avocados with vegetables also helps carotenoid absorption, making sure you get the most out of your salad. It’s been associated with guarding against oral, breast and prostate cancer, and they actually help increase your metabolism. In other words, they’re good for you. And they taste good and provide texture and contrast in your dishes, so you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Getting into your avocado.


During the course of frequent avocado consumption, I’ve picked up some techniques that work well, keeping frustration levels at a minimum. First, pick a ripe avocado by giving it a little squeeze. There should be some give beneath the leathery skin, but it should not leave a thumb print. Thumb prints are no good. Under-ripe avocados can be left on the counter to ripen. Similar to bananas, avocados don’t ripen until they are picked, and if you have a bunch of bananas handy and an avocado you’re looking to ripen, put them near each other. The ethylene the bananas give off will help your avocado ripen.

Start by cutting your avocado in half. Pick a sizable, sturdy knife for this. You’ll need some weight behind it to remove the pit. I’m using my 5″ Santoku knife from PC that my mommy bought me. Thanks, Mom.
avocado-prep

You’ll see a pesky pit waiting to be yanked free. Do not do what my sister did. She tried to slip her knife in the side of the pit and ended up slipping into her finger. Seven stitches later, Ole impressed her with his avocado pitting skills.

Hold the avocado firmly in one hand, and give the pit a good whack with your knife right square in the center. You could also place it on a cutting board and hold it steady if you’re nervous about swinging knives at your hand. Whichever method you choose, try to avoid chopping fingers and such. Aim for the pit.
avocado-knife

Twist the knife to one side, still holding the avocado firmly, until the pit breaks free.
avocado-twist

Lift the pit out with the knife and carefully remove from knife.
avocado-lift

Two perfect halves.
perfect-halves

Now I like to make chunks with my avocado for green salads, pasta salads, to add to tacos or to eat with chips with a squirt of lime juice and salt and pepper, in sushi! So many choices. The smaller chunks are also easy to work with if you’re looking to make guacamole. They’re significantly easier to get under the tines of a fork or other squashing utensil. We also use them as a convenient baby food. To combat browning from oxidation, give your chunks a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.

Start by cutting long, lengthwise slits just down to the skin of the avocado.
avocado-lengthwise

Continue by cutting the avocado the other direction.
avocado-back

Slip a large spoon down between the skin and the flesh of the avocado, freeing all the little chunks you’ve created.
avocado-spoon

Now you have perfect avocado chunks for all your cooking needs. These ones are going to become guacamole.
avocado-to-guacamole

Mmm.
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For more helpful kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.

Comments

  1. I’m on my way to set my rather green avocados next to my bananas. Who knew?! Terrific tip!

  2. Very interesting @ the Avocados & Bananas… I always have them next to each other on my board! :D I give my 11 month old mashed up Avocado and he lovessssssssssss it! I’m not a fan.. I’ve tried and tried but just can’t learn to like it! ah well… thanks for the info :D

  3. I never really like avocados until I moved to California. I’ve since learned to love them: in sandwiches, salads, Mexican food- everywhere. I have an unholy love of fresh guacamole.

  4. Sounds awesome! I just came back from mexico last year and find myself addicted to these incredible enchilada recipes now!! Must go back next year sometime, I suppose, and this time head off the beaten track a little. Looking to reading more!

  5. Have you heard that if you leave the pit in dishes like your guac that it also keeps it from turning brown. I got this idea from a co-worker and it always works with our homemade guac. Thanks for the bananas tip! :)

  6. Oh No!!!!!!! Great post, I realy need your rss feed.

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