The Magical Fruit: Avocados March 12, 2014
If you’ve been a HelloFresh customer for a while, you know we love using avocados in our recipes. In fact, avocados play a main role in this week’s Mushroom Quesadillas with Guacamole. As the weather gets warmer, you can look forward to even more delicious avocados in our recipes! In the meantime, here are some tips to help you pick, store, and prepare our favorite fruit.
Picking a ripe avocado
Most fruits ripen on the tree, but the fun fact about avocados is that they start to ripen once they are picked or have fallen to the ground. There are a couple ways of determining a ripe avocado.
Check under the stem or the “belly button of an avocado. Pop the brown stem off and look underneath. If it’s green, the avocado is perfect. If it’s brown or dark, the avocado will be too ripe.
The best way to check for an avocado’s ripeness is by touch. Carefully hold the avocado in your hand and just give it a little squeeze (just a little! you don’t want to bruise the fruit). If it’s firm and the skin doesn’t indent at all, then it’s not ripe or ready to eat. If it’s a bit darker and has a little give to it, then it’s getting close. When you squeeze it and feels like you’re molding clay, then it’s ready!
How to store & ripen your avocado
Put the avocado in a brown paper bag and seal it tight. Essentially, most fruits and vegetables give off ethylene gas during all of their growth stages, and when you seal the fruit in a bag, you’re basically forcing the gases to ripen the fruit faster. If you add an apple or a banana the avocados will ripen quicker because apples and bananas give off more ethylene gas than most other fruits. It’s a cool experiment you can even have the kiddos try. Put out an avocado on the counter and then one into a bag, and another in a bag with a banana and watch what happens!
Keeping freshly cut avocados or guacamole from turning brown
Lemons & Limes – there’s a good reason most recipes call for lemon and/or lime juice in guacamole. The first reason is, it’s acidic. Avocados are fatty and basic, so the acid from the citrus balances the flavor. Second, the acid helps to prevent oxidation. Once you’ve peeled the avocado, it starts to oxidize. The lemon or lime juice acts as an antioxidant (opposite of oxidizing) so it will help to keep your fresh cut avocado or guacamole a little fresher for a day or so.
Plastic wrap. When you store your precious green dip in a bowl, take some plastic wrap and place it directly in contact on top of the guacamole. This ensures any air will stay out and slow down the process even more. If you have a vacuum sealer, all the better. It actually freezes quite well.
Use water. Place a thin layer of water over the top of your guacamole. This creates an “air-tight” seal that prevents any air from touching the guacamole. When you’re ready to serve, just mix in the extra water!
And last but not least, avocados are uber healthy.
They’re very high in fiber. One avocado can supply almost 100% of your daily recommended intake of fiber. Avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated and saturated fats. They pack 35% more potassium than bananas. They are rich in vitamin K, and are good dietary sources of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E.