Avocados are actually fruits dating back centuries. They have only grown in popularity in recent years. They have a nutty taste and a buttery texture. Avocado trees grow in tropical and subtropical climates where the trees can reach up to 65 feet in height. The avocado is its ripening process is interesting. When the avocado is attached to the tree, it will not ripen. Only after it has been removed from the tree does it begin to soften; for that reason, avocados must reach full maturity before they are picked.
Avocados make great additions to garden and pasta salads, sandwiches, dips and more. The most popular recipe made from mashed avocados is guacamole. Typically seen as a garnish on Mexican-style food, this favorite recipe is can also be enjoyed simply as a dip for tortilla chips. Look for avocados in the produce section of your grocery store this spring.
- Most common varieties of avocados are the Haas and Fuerte. The Haas is oval in shape and has a rugged black or dark brown shiny skin when the fruit is ripe. The Fuerte is also oval in shape, but has smooth green, glossy skin.
Choose avocados that are:
- Heavy for their size.
- Not too hard or too soft; yielding slightly to gentle palm pressure.
- Free of black spots and bruises.
- Hass varieties skin will turn black when it's ripe.
- Leave avocados at room temperature to ripen; however, they will continue to ripen in the refrigerator as well.
- To accelerate the ripening process, place avocados in a paper bag.
- Whole, ripe avocados will only last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator; cut avocados will only last 1 to 2 days.
- To keep the exposed avocado flesh from turning brown, sprinkle with lemon juice.
- The flesh can then be sliced, diced, mashed, or pureed for any number of uses.