Avocados vary in shape, color and size depending on the variety. The Haas avocado is oval in shape, with a rough black or purple-brown skin that is shiny when ripe. The Fuerte, Zutano, and Bacon avocados are also oval in shape, with shiny green skin. The “cocktail” avocado is miniature-sized and has no pit.
Choose an avocado that is rather heavy for its size, not too hard, and without any dark spots or bruises. It is ready to eat when it yields to slight finger pressure.
Avoid very soft avocados.
Cut the avocado in two, lengthwise, using a stainless steel knife. If the flesh clings to the pit, separate the two halves by gently twisting in opposite directions, then remove the pit by embedding a knife in the center of the pit and lightly twisting. The pit should stick to your knife. You may also use a spoon to dig around the pit. Sprinkle the flesh with fresh lemon juice to avoid discoloration.
There is an easy way to cut the flesh out of the skin and have it chopped at the same time. Take your knife and make diagonal lines towards the left then again toward the right (it should look like diamond shapes), take a spoon and carefully go between the skin and the flesh.
At room temperature: Place in a paper bag if you wish to speed up the ripening process.
In the fridge: Ripe avocado will last 2-3 days. If the avocado is cut, sprinkle the exposed part of the flesh with fresh lemon juice to avoid discoloration. It will keep for 1-2 days.
In the freezer: Puréed with lemon juice will keep for about 1 year.
Serving Ideas for Avocado
Avocado is usually eaten raw, since it does not cook well. Only add at the end of cooking time and avoid boiling, as it quickly loses its flavor.
Avocado is often served as is, simply cut in half with the cavity filled with a vinaigrette, mayo, or lemon juice seasoned with salt and pepper. Avocado is used in salads and sandwiches. It is cooked hot or cold for soups and desserts.
It is often stuffed with seafood or chicken.
Guacamole, an avocado mash seasoned with hot pepper, pimento, onions, spices, and lime juice, and served with tortillas, is an essential dish in Mexican cooking.
Inner Chef Note: I personally like my avocado diced up and served with cottage cheese, or used on my chicken or turkey sandwiches instead of mayo.
(Taken from the culinary textbook, “ The Visual Food Lover’s Guide)