Either in guacamole, as a replacement for mayo on a sandwich, or just plain with a little bit of salt, avocados are delicious and nutritious! Full of fiber, potassium, folate, vitamins K, C, B6, E, and monounsaturated fat, avocados are great for blood pressure and blood sugar control, as well as for keeping belly fat down. Do you need any more reasons to indulge?
When ripe, avocados have a fantastic flavor and a buttery texture. Yet they have half the calories of butter and are way more nutritious. If you aren’t using ripe avocados for a few days, put them in the refrigerator right away to slow down the ripening process.
Underripe avocados are hard like a bouncy ball and shouldn’t go in the refrigerator until they are riper. The temperature slows down the ripening process and may keep the avocado from ripening correctly to bring out the best taste. So what do you do when you’re having mad avo cravings, but your stash isn’t ripe? Read ahead for some pointers!
Speed Up Ripening
Some internet sources suggest microwaving the avocado or wrapping underripe avocados in tin foil and baking at 200 degrees for 10 minutes or so. The heat will soften the flesh of the avocado, so it is easier to eat, but it won’t actually ripen. It’ll retain some of its rubbery texture and will lack the great buttery, nutty flavor that comes through the natural ripening process. All in all, this method is not something I recommend. You can, however, significantly speed up the natural ripening process with a more effective trick.
The best way to expedite the natural process is to put an apple, kiwi fruit, or pear in a bag with your avocado and let it sit at room temperature. These fruits, along with avocados, release ethylene gas, a plant hormone that moves the ripening process along. When enclosed in a bag, the trapped ethylene will encourage the avocado to ripen quickly. Older varieties of apples, like golden or red delicious, release more ethylene than newer varieties, like Gala or Fuji.
Try peeling avocados over scooping them out of the skin with a spoon. The most nutrient-packed part of the fruit is the dark green closest to the skin; it has the highest concentration of carotenoids, (avocados have 11 different kinds of carotenoids!) including lutein, which helps your eyesight stay keen while you age.
Several years ago at a food and nutrition conference, the California Avocado Commission showed me the best way to cut and peel an avocado. It’s easier too! Just halve the avocado length-wise, and then slice the halves into quarters, length-wise as well. The pit comes out easily at this point, keeping you safer than removing the pit with a knife. You can just peel the skin off each avocado section with your fingers. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Check out this video to see it happen.
To keep the remaining avocado half from turning grayish brown, keep air away from the open flesh and use a red onion. Just place a few slices of raw red onion in the bottom of a small air-tight storage container. Put the half of avocado that still contains the pit on top of the red onions, pit side down, so the onions are in contact with the meat of the avocado. Seal the container with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
You can also top an avocado (with the pit still in) with sliced raw red onions and tightly wrap avocado half with onion with plastic wrap. Try to use it within 12 – 24 hours. Some browning might still occur depending on how long it sits before you use the avocado with either method, but it will be significantly less. Just scrape off the top layer of the stored avocado, and no one will be the wiser since it’s only on the surface.
This tasty No-mayo Avocado Egg Salad recipe lasts for at least two days without browning. It’s made with a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped red onion as well as two tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar. The combination of these two ingredients makes all the difference in keeping the avocado looking green. The red onion added to this Avocado Black Bean Roasted Corn Salad recipe also seems to keep the yummy salad looking good. Both recipes are gobbled quickly, so the test has never been completed beyond two days.
With these avocado tricks in hand, you will have an easier time enjoying avocados! Follow Fix #2 of my 12 Fixes to replace less healthy fats with healthier fats like the healthful monounsaturated fat found in avocados.
You can find all 12 of these fixes in my the book, Lean Body Smart Life, where I narrowed down the scientific findings to most essential fixes to improve your health and weight. So grab this book from Amazon or LeanBodySmartLife.com to use as a manual as I go over each fix a month, throughout the year. Find us on my website, FoodsWithJudes.com and through Foods With Judes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Enjoy avocados while boosting your health and losing fat weight as you do this 12-Fix Lean Life Plan with me!
By Judith Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD – Your How-To Dietitian Nutritionist and Author of Lean Body Smart Life
Contributor: Ray Norton