Avocados are all the hype nowadays – these pear-shaped fruits, otherwise called alligator pears, have found a way into our daily lives in more or less obvious ways. We can find these green fruits anywhere, in the supermarket’s fruit aisle, in a salad luring us from the next table in a deli, or simply in online recipes. This is because avocados have gained so much popularity worldwide – they’re delicious, easy to integrate into your diet, and affordable.
The Basics of Avocados
Avocados originated in Mexico and have since been grown into hundreds of different varieties. You’ll find that this is where the famous guacamole originated, too – the popular dish that has avocados at its very core. The fruit has a rich and creamy texture, while the outside is yellowish-green flesh. Its consistency is quite creamy, with a nutty taste – a combination that makes avocado ideal as a dessert and an ingredient in many dishes.
There are many types of avocados, each with unique characteristics, varying sizes, and flesh colors. However, they all have one large seed inside and are cut and enjoyed in the same ways.
What Makes Avocados Healthy for You?
What makes avocados truly special is that apart from their versatility and great taste, they also pack in tremendous nutritional value. They’re some of the richest fruits out there regarding the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins they provide.
A brief overview of the nutritional value that avocados pack in looks like this:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
By introducing avocados into your regular diet, you can benefit from a world of nutritious power. In addition, this kind will perk up your immune system and prevent several unpleasant health conditions from happening down the road.
It’s essential to take note of the antioxidants these fruits pack in since they contribute to decreasing inflammation in the body and play an important part against cellular oxidative stress. This means that antioxidants will effectively fight free radicals – the compounds that accelerate the body’s natural aging process.
These compounds can be found in polluted environments, cigarettes, and alcohol. They all contribute to bringing the body down ahead of its time, and the antioxidants in avocados do a terrific job of keeping these unpleasant effects at bay.
Vitamin C will help your body maintain and repair tissues all around. Fiber will give you a feeling of satiety and keep you from snacking while regulating your bowel movements. Vitamin E plays an active role in maintaining the health and healthy appearance of the skin, among others. Vitamin K will help with blood clotting while also regulating blood calcium levels. Protein is also responsible for the healthy maintenance of the tissues in the body – nails, and hair, for example, contain plenty of protein.
Vitamin B6 may help with easing symptoms of depression and may promote brain health. Potassium supports cardiovascular health and proper blood pressure. Copper is responsible for better absorbing iron in the body and supporting build collagen.
So, avocados genuinely bring a lot to the table and your meals and snacking habits. However, now that it’s established how nutritious these antioxidant fruits are, it’s essential to know how you can pick the best avocados and properly store them to get the best they offer.
How Do You Pick the Best Avocados?
As mentioned above, there are hundreds of avocado varieties to choose from, and each of them will look and feel different. Some of the most important types include Hass, Reed, Gwen, Choquette, Ettinger, Zutano, and Bacon.
Some of these will have darker flesh and be bigger, while others may look unripe when ready to be consumed. This may seem unclear and require you to know how to best distinguish between the types of avocados, although Hass avocados tend to dominate the market.
Regardless, most avocados have the same guidelines you can follow when choosing the best, most ripe ones. The skin will always be the most trustworthy indicator of an avocado’s ripeness.
If the avocado has lighter skin, it still has about 4-5 days more to ripen. When it’s close to ripening, the skin gets darker, switching from an intense green to a dark purple hue, with a tendency to even blacken.
How an avocado feels to the touch is also an indicator of the fruit’s ripeness. If it’s firm to the touch and doesn’t yield to a bit of pressure, it still has some way to go until you can consume it. If, however, you can apply slight pressure and you feel it yielding, it means that your avocado is ripe and ready. Similarly to other fruits out there, if an avocado feels mushy to the touch, it’s an indication of it being overripe. In this case, it would be best to pass on this experience and choose ripe avocados instead.
How Do You Store Avocados?
If you haven’t cut your avocados yet, it’s important to remember that their shelf life will be a bit longer than if you did already do that. Storing cut avocado is a bit different; you can find tips on that by further reading this article.
You can keep an unripe avocado that has a greener look and firmer touch on the counter for 4 or 5 days extra. This time should be enough for the ripening process to take its natural course. If you choose to refrigerate it, then this ripening process can extend to up to 1-2 weeks. Of course, this will depend on how ripe the avocado is and what temperature you set in your refrigerator.
However, the situation will look entirely different when you’re looking to store a cut avocado because avocados are such perishable fruits. So, if you’re wondering how to keep a cut avocado fresh, let’s see first what the best cutting technique is, and then we’ll delve straight into tips on how to store cut avocados.
How to Best Cut an Avocado
- Get a cutting board and a good cutting knife and cut straight through the middle of your fruit until you feel the knife has made contact with the pit. Once you get to this point, please don’t remove the knife and instead cut through the entire avocado until it reaches the initial incision point.
- Twist the knife gently, enabling the pit to come right out.
- At this point, you can separate the two halves quite easily.
- Take one half in your hand and use a spoon to scoop its content. Insert it carefully straight between the flesh and the buttery content and use a smooth motion to cover the entire half. The content should come right off.
- Place the peeled half face down on the cutting board and start cutting in pieces as small or as large as you want them to be.
As soon as you do this, and if you’re not consuming your avocado immediately, you must take specific steps to keep a cut avocado fresh.
If it’s the first time you’re doing this, and you may be a bit nervous about botching the cutting job, you can watch this video on how to slice an avocado in three different ways. Injuries tend to happen when cutting up an avocado, so it may be best to let the video guide you. It will take you step by step and enable you with the visuals you need to get creative with your avocado in terms of cutting it before you start preparing it.
How To Store Cut Avocado
If you’ve cut your avocado and are looking to store it properly to keep it from going bad, it’s essential to remember one key aspect: you will need to cover the exposed green part at all costs.
Keeping this in mind, the following helpful insight to consider is to cut this fruit horizontally, as a horizontal cut will expose the least flesh possible. Putting it face down in a bowl and taking it straight to the refrigerator should last a couple more days.
Otherwise, there are several tips on how to store a cut avocado, and each of them implies that you add something to your avocado:
- Leaving the avocado in the refrigerator next to a slice of onion.
- Drizzling a bit of lemon juice on your cut avocado.
- Coating your avocado in oil.
- Simply wrap your avocado in foil and let it sit in the refrigerator.
- Placing your avocado in a container straight into the refrigerator.
Elle Penner from Open Fit experimented with all options above for 48 hours to see which one may better help keep a cut avocado fresh for longer. In her experiment, the lemon-brushed avocado did the worst – it browned first and took a citrusy flavor. However, other sources claim this to be an excellent technique to help preserve your avocado so that it may depend on avocado to avocado.
The one avocado half kept near the onion did fare better than the lemon-drizzled one and got a specific taste that ultimately made it ideal for guacamole.
The oil-covered avocado did better than the two above but did change color in about 72 hours.
The avocado wrapped in the plastic film did pretty well in this experiment, as the flesh didn’t change much in color and consistency, and the taste mainly remained the same.
The one avocado in the container in the refrigerator did better than all the other halves of avocados. Due to the lack of air, the flesh got a bit drier than all the others, but it made perfect sense in this context. It’s only up to you to choose which storing version you prefer.
So although this test is pretty suggestive of what does and doesn’t work in storing a cut avocado, it’s important to test these suggestions yourself as well. It’s only by trying that you see which one does better and, after all, which one works best for you – if you prefer a drier skin, for example, compared to one that’s slightly onion-scented.
How to Use Avocados After Being Cut?
Now that you’ve cut your avocados, choosing what you next want to do with them is important. The best part about these fruits is that you can use them in a variety of ways that can satisfy both your cravings and your creativity:
- Raw, as a snack.
- Avocado salad – take, for example, this one, the Caprese salad Napoleon with avocado, and a video that shows you how to prepare it step by step.
- Avocado soup.
- Avocado brownies.
- Coconut avocado popsicles.
- Chocolate-peanut butter avocado pudding
- The list goes on, and you can see more Avocado recipes here.
As you can see, avocados are wondrous fruits with plenty to offer regarding taste, possibilities of use, and health benefits. Having said this, it’s a shame to buy perfectly ripe and good avocados only to see them quickly brown and spoil after you’ve cut them. However, if you follow the storing suggestions above, you may enjoy your avocados for as long as possible. Furthermore, by keeping them fresh, you’ll also benefit from all the nutrients for much longer – healthy, fresh, and delicious.