Avocados are fruits, which grow on trees in warm climates like California, Mexico, and Costa Rica. They have many health benefits including heart, eye and brain health, improved digestion, plus osteoporosis, and cancer prevention. Avocados contain many essential nutrients like vitamins C, E, K, multiple B vitamins, and fiber. They are also a source of potassium, magnesium, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
Three quick steps to selecting perfect avocados
Step 1 – Check the skin color. Avocados with darker skin may be riper than lighter ones. However, color does not always indicate ripeness.
Step 2 – Place the avocado in the palm of your hand, not on your fingertips.
Step 3 – Gently squeeze and check the firmness of the avocado. It should give slightly and feel a little soft, but not mushy. Do not squeeze with your fingertips, which can cause bruising.
Note: Check avocados for any large indentations, this may be a sign that it has been bruised. Also make sure the stem is intact and not loose.
Tip: If you buy firm, slightly under-ripe avocados let them finish ripening on the counter for 1-5 days. If you want to use them sooner, stick them in a paper bag with a banana or an apple to speed the ripening process.
Avocados can be used in a variety of ways including as garnish for soups, salads, and sandwiches or on its own. While they are usually enjoyed fresh and raw, they can be cooked. They oxidize easily after they are cut, which means they lose their bright green color and become brown, similar to an apple. They are still ok to eat and will have good flavor, but they look less appetizing. Sprinkling lemon or lime juice on the cut side will delay the oxidation process. Another way to decrease oxidation is to use the half without the pit first. Keep the pit in the avocado until you are ready to use that half.
Ways to enjoy your perfect avocado:
Cut in half, remove pit, and then…
• Sprinkle with pink salt and enjoy.
• Blend into smoothies, dressings, and sauces.
• Chop and use to garnish tacos, poke or Buddha bowls, soups, sandwiches, etc.
• Fill hole left from pit with small egg and bake.
• Make desserts like chocolate mousse or cheesecake.