Avocados are a fruit that is mainly grown in the warmer regions of the world such as South and Central America. And if you’re in the United States, you’ll also find them in certain areas there as well. They are most commonly used for making guacamole, but are also great when used in meat dishes, smoothies, salads, sandwiches and wraps, as well as in raw puddings, raw fruit pies and other delicious desserts.
Avocados are available year round in the fresh produce section in most grocery stores. They can be purchased fully mature and ready to be eaten, or still in the green state to be ripened at home.
Following are some tips for buying the right avocados at the right time:
For Immediate Use
Ripeness. If the avocados are going to be used immediately, then a darker colored avocado is suitable as it is ripe and ready to be eaten. When gently squeezing the ends of the avocado, it should be nice and soft.
Avocados that are too dark and/or have indents in them should be avoided as they are too ripe and may have already begun to rot.
For Later Use
Buy Them Green. The best way to purchase avocados is to purchase them while they are still green and hard. This basically ensures that they will not be bruised from customers picking them up to check for their ripeness.
To Ripen Them. After purchasing them, the avocados may take 3 to 5 days to ripen. To speed up the ripening process, the avocados can be placed in a brown paper bag to help trap the ethylene gas, which helps with the ripening process. Other fruits such as bananas or apples will also help to create ethylene gas, and thus when placed in with the avocados, they can ripen in as little as one to two days.
Buy them in Quantities. Avocados often come in quantities of 5 or so in mesh bags. These are usually cheaper than the loose ones, and thus are perfect for those on a budget. It is a good deal, even if the avocados are ripe as they will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Tip: Never cut up more avocados than what is needed because they tend to brown easy due to the air exposure. If only using half of an avocado, the other half can be coated with lemon juice and wrapped up in plastic wrap in order to prevent oxidation. And it’s always a good idea to use lemon along with your avocado recipe in case you have left-overs. Believe it or not, the lemon does an amazing job at keeping the avocado fresh.