The avocado, a tree likely originating from south-central Mexico, is classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado, is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed.
Most people love avocados. They have a delicious and smooth, buttery flavor. And they’re amazingly versatile. But how do you pick an avocado so that it’s ready to eat when you’re ready to enjoy it? Try these helpful tips.
Check the Color
This is important: The color of an avocado can tell you when it will be ready to eat. Every variety has a different skin color and shape. For example, the skin color for Hass avocados can range from green to black with various shades of purple and black — or even a slightly reddish-black in the mix. A green Hass will be very hard and will take roughly 7 – 10 days to soften.
If you’re looking for an avocado to eat today or the next day, look for darker shades of black, purple-black and reddish-black. You should also make sure the skin is fairly consistent in coloring with no punctures, bruising or visible breakdown.
Do a Squeeze Test
This is the most important step! There should be a slight give to pressure when you hold a ripe avocado in your hand. If it’s soft and gives too much, it’s beyond the perfect level of ripeness. Most importantly, you want to make sure there is no layer of oxygen or any air pockets between the exterior skin and the flesh. These layers of oxygen feel like little air bubbles, and they’re what causes your avocado to turn brown or even moldy (which is just sad).
Once you’ve picked your perfect avocado, you can store it in the fridge for about five days — it will maintain its level of softness, more or less. If it feels a little firm, leave it out on the counter until it gives slightly to pressure. Then move it into the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. While there’s no way to stop an avocado’s ripening process, the chillier environment in your fridge will slow it down.
You can also speed up the ripening process by putting your avocados in a paper bag with a banana or an apple. Close the paper bag and store at room temperature (like on your counter or on top of the fridge).
How to Use Avocados
When your avocado is ripe, it’s time to make that perfect guacamole or avocado toast. You can also add it to smoothies and salad dressing for extra creaminess. Or, just eat it with a spoon with a little sea salt. Creamy avocado spread onto well-toasted bread is a favorite quick meal.
1) Pick great avocados
You want ripe but not over-ripe Hass avocados. Look for avocados that yield a bit to a gentle squeeze, but avoid using avocados that are mushy or stringy on the inside. If you run into any bruised or brown bits when you cut them open, scoop those out and discard before mashing the rest.
2) Buy good bread and toast it well
I think sturdy, thick-sliced, whole grain bread make the best avocado toast. Golden, well-toasted bread offers a sturdy base and a crisp, shattering contrast against the creamy avocado.
3) Mash your avocado separately
Mashed avocado is more creamy and luxurious than sliced avocado (think guacamole vs. plain avocado). But don’t mash it on the toast! You risk poking holes in your toast or smashing it. Cut your avocados in half, remove the pit, scoop the flesh into a bowl or onto the side of your plate, and mash it up with a fork.
4) Don’t forget the salt
You’ll want to mix in at least a pinch of salt per avocado half. Bonus points? Finish your avocado toast with a light sprinkle of sea salt.
Everything Bagel Avocado Toast
Add a generous sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning on top of your avocado toast.
Loaded Avocado Toast
Mix chopped fresh radish, green onion, jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed) and toasted sunflower seeds. Sprinkle generously on your toast.
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