Monday, August 17, 2009
Quick Tips for Avocado Lovers
*How to tell them apart: Small avocados with a wrinkled, very dark (almost black) skin are Hass or California avocados. The ones from Florida are much larger, with smooth, bright-green skin.
*How to tell when an avocado is ripe: A ripe avocado will "give" a little when gently pressed, especially at the stem end. Avoid very soft avocados or ones with "mushy" spots, as they are over-ripe and/or bruised
*How to speed up ripening: Avocados ripen at room temperature, but to speed up the process simply place them in a closed brown paper bag to capture the natural ethylene gas that's released as the fruit ripens. Just remember to check it every day or two - I once forgot a ripening avocado in a bag on the top of my fridge, and it was not a pretty sight when I discovered it a couple of weeks too late!
*How to prevent browning of a cut avocado: Squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice over the surface, or sprinkle with vinegar as a last resort. Because cut avocado browns so easily when exposed to air, it's best to add to a salad or serve cut wedges or guacamole at the very last minute.
*How to store a cut avocado for later use: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, making sure to completely cover the cut surface to prevent browning. Store the wrapped avocado in your refrigerator. When ready to use, you can scrape off any surface browning with a knife - it won't affect the rest of the avocado.
*How to cut an avocado in half: Stick your knife in the stem end and gently insert straight in until you reach the pit, then run the knife lengthwise down and around the avocado using the pit as your guide. Remove knife, hold the avocado with a hand around each half and gently twist while pulling apart to separate. One side will hold the entire pit while the other side will have a "hollow" where the pit was.
*How to pit an avocado: After you've cut the avocado in half as described above, thrust the blade of a sharp paring knife into the pit. Then twist the knife gently to dislodge the pit, and lift it out (it will be "stuck" on the knife).
*How to peel an avocado: It's easiest to peel an avocado after you've cut it in half. Simply use your fingers to pull the skin off in strips starting at one end. A perfectly ripe avocado will easily peel this way. To cube an avocado to use the cubes in a salad, I first cut the avocado in half and remove the pit as described above. I then use a butter knife to carefully cut a cross-hatch pattern (several vertical cuts down the length of the half, then several horizontal cuts across) through the flesh of the avocado, being very careful to not cut through the skin. I then run a large spoon under the flesh at the skin while holding the avocado half over a bowl for the cubes to fall into.
Carolina Sauce Company