Nowadays you hear about avocados at every step of the way, as you carry on with your day-to-day life. Avocados are in the supermarket, they’re in the sandwiches you can order while you line up in the queue, they’re in delicious online recipes. This is because these fruits, otherwise called alligator pears, are not only delicious, with a nutty flavor and rich texture, but also very healthy. They can be eaten raw, added to anything and prepared to take the limelight as the main ingredient in certain dishes.
Basic Information You Need to Know About Avocados
This fruit has originated in Mexico and has since crossed all borders of the world, finding its way to people of all cultures. In Mexico it’s widely used in the popular dish called guacamole, a recipe that has been adapted and reinterpreted multiple times in several cultures throughout the world.
The fruit itself can vary in size, flavor, texture, firmness, color and nutritional value. All these variables will change depending on the type of avocado you choose. There are 15 types of avocados out there and they are categorized in A-type cultivars and B-type cultivars. The difference between these two types resides in the pollination behavior and avocado tree flower opening times.
Below you’ll find the A-type cultivators:
- Choquette. This South Florida variety has smooth skin and watery flesh.
- Maluma. The Maluma avocado has a dark-purple coloration and comes from South Africa.
- Lula. This type of avocado contains more water than other varieties of avocado and is known to weigh around 1 pound (450 grams).
- Pinkerton. This type of avocado has rough skin that is easy to peel and contains a small seed inside. It can grow to weigh 0.5–1.5 pounds (225–680 grams).
- Reed. Unlike other types of avocados, this one remains green when ripe and has a softer taste.
- Hass. This is the most popular type of avocado and has that nutty, buttery flavor that avocados are known for. The Hass avocado turns dark purplish-black when it ripens.
- Gwen. This one resembles the Hass avocado in taste and appearance, but is larger and has a thick, dark-green skin that is easy to remove.
And these are the B-type cultivators:
- Brogden. This dark-purple hybrid avocado pertains to the West Indian and Mexican varieties. It’s also difficult to peel, which makes it a less popular variety among avocados.
- Ettinger. The Ettinger avocado is particular mostly to Israel and is bright green in color, mild in flavor and has a large seed.
- Fuerte. This pear-shaped avocado has an oily texture resembling that of a hazelnut.
- Sharwil. This Australian avocado variety has a rough, green peel and yellow flesh. It has a bold taste and an oily texture.
- Bacon. This easy-to-peel avocado has a lighter taste than most other avocado varieties.
- Monroe. This large avocado type can reach up to 2 pounds (910 grams) in weight and even more. You can expect it to be firmer than other varieties and the content will be less watery.
- Zutano. This mild-tasting avocado type has a yellow-green skin and tends to grow around 0.5–1 pound (225–450 grams).
- Cleopatra. This is a dwarf avocado type and still new to the consumer market.
As you can see, each type of avocado presents itself with different characteristics in terms of firmness, fleshiness and peeling possibilities. This is why many people wonder how to cut avocado the right way. Avocados are very versatile fruits, they can be used in a myriad of ways and their taste makes them simply irresistible. Having said this, it’s extremely important to know, firstly, how to pick the right avocados and secondly how to properly cut and peel them. These are the initial required steps before you can even start preparing these amazing fruits.
Cutting and Peeling Your Avocado
Let’s look at ways on how to cut an avocado as well as how to peel an avocado, step by step:
- When you begin cutting your avocado you need to ensure you either have a cutting board in handy or that you feel comfortable enough to hold it in one hand and begin the process. With a good chef’s knife, you can cut the avocado straight through the middle, all across its length, until you feel you’ve reached the pit. At this point it’s best that you don’t remove the knife and instead cut around the pit, through the entire avocado, until your knife gets to the initial incision point.
- Slightly twist the knife to ensure the avocado can easily split into two halves.
- Place the half of your avocado containing the pit on a hard surface and strike the pit of the fruit with your knife. The motion should be forceful enough so that the knife remains embedded in the pit of the avocado.
- Keep the avocado in your hand and simply twist the knife – the pit should easily come out of the fleshy part.
- How do you peel an avocado though? With the avocado still in your hand, insert a spoon between the skin and the pulp of the fruit. Now simply run the spoon as close to the skin as possible throughout the entire avocado half until your scoop out the content. Do the same with the other half of the avocado.
- With enough caution, you can remove the entire pulp in just one motion without damaging its form. If the pulp has any discoloration on it, you can simply remove these spots with the spoon – it’s best to do this, since apart from the poor aesthetic value, they also bring in an unpleasant taste.
- Be sure not to leave the pulp of the avocado out for too long, since it tends to discolor quickly when it meets the air. In order to avoid this, you can either immediately refrigerate the pulp or cover it in film. Similarly, you can simply sprinkle a bit of lemon on the pulp, the acid will help maintain the avocado’s freshness. If you want to freeze the pulp, this is also a possibility. If you’ve refrigerated the avocado pulp, know that you can use it within one or two days at most. If it’s frozen, it can last up to about six months.
- At this point maybe you’re wondering how to slice an avocado. If you’ve managed to get the pulp out unscathed, you can simply put it facing down on the cutting board and start slicing through it in your desired shape: either in small pieces or long slices. Whatever it is, be sure to secure the avocado on the board, since its buttery consistency makes it slippery and the cutting process often results in injuries.
Sometimes visual aids work best, so here’s a video you can watch presenting you the best way to cut an avocado.
Health Benefits of Avocados
It’s no surprise so many people across the globe have fallen in love with this amazing fruit – apart from its versatility and rich, nutty taste, it’s also extremely nutritious. Avocados are a powerhouse of nutrients that help boost your immune system and prevent certain health conditions from developing.
Antioxidants are some of the most important compounds they contain and they’re typically widely appreciated in the health community because they fight off free radicals. These are known for the damaging cell aging process occurring in the body while aging, so the antioxidants in your avocado will help you maintain your vitality and youthful spirit.
Antioxidants also make an excellent aid in the fight against the macular degenerative process occurring in the body – in other words, your eye health will be thoroughly supported when you regularly include avocados in your diet.
Avocados also contain protein and they’re quite known for this – this helps your body protect and repair its tissues. Apart from this, protein also helps build enzymes and hormones, making it essential to the body’s continuous healthy development.
These fruits also contain a high level of fiber, which will smooth your gastrointestinal processes, while also leaving you feeling full, which means you won’t feel the need to snack on anything else except your avocado.
As you can see, avocados make quite the case for healthy and delicious additions to your diet. Having said this, perhaps the question still remains: how to prepare an avocado?
Picking the Right Avocado
As mentioned above, depending on the variety of avocado you’ve chosen, your fruit may turn a diverse variety of colors when ripe. Make sure you know which variety you’ve picked and what color it needs to turn to when ripe, just to make sure your assessment is on the right track.
Firmness is also a strong indicator of the level of ripeness for your avocado – if it’s still pretty firm, then it means your avocado still has some way to go.
If you’ve picked an avocado that’s not yet ripe, you can leave it on the counter for another day or two.
Preparing and Using Avocado
The best part about avocados is that they’re easy to integrate in your diet, regardless of your taste or preferences. Avocados are mostly consumed raw, thanks to their fulfilling taste and high satiety levels. You can cut them up, peel them, scoop out their pulp and enjoy the content as is or you can mash it up and make guacamole.
Apart from this, you can also use avocados to make refreshing smoothies or you can spread the pulp on the contents of your sandwich. Soups and salads are also a favorite among those looking to enjoy everything that avocados have to bring to the table. If you want to see how you can make a Caprese salad Napoleon with avocado, for example, you can watch this helpful video describing the process, so it’s easier for you.
Ultimately, avocados are quite easy to find, almost regardless of your geographical location, quite tasty and nutritious. They’ll add flavor to anything you add them to and they will leave you feeling satiated. If you follow the instructions above, you’ll find they’re also pretty easy to cut and peel. All you need to do is to take it step by step and get creative with the way in which you plan to use these wondrous antioxidant fruits. The possibilities are endless and you’ll be surprised at how avocados can enrich your life and improve your health.