Clearly, it's really, really easy to love avocados. Adding avocado takes countless other foods from mundane to mmmm in minutes. Sliced, diced, whipped, smashed, or eaten straight out of the "shell," avocados aren't just a fad food, they're a fab food (sorry, I had to). They're easy to fall for, but maintaining a strong and unconditional love for avocados--like anything--requires truly getting know them and understand them on every level. Good news is, that's fairly simple given a few simple tips, tricks, and facts. Learning these things will deepen your love and keep it burning even when haters start spitting their, "Ugh, avocados are so overplayed" nonsense.
1.) Avocados are actually a fruit.
Contrary to what you may believe about this green savory piece of produce, it's no vegetable. Technically, it's a single-seed berry, which means it is similar to stone fruits like cherries and peaches (although, those reside in a different category of stone fruits called drupes). This is a factoid that's handy to keep in mind because fruits ripen over time while vegetables don't--which is why buying a sorta still-too-hard avocado today only means that you'll have a perfectly tender one tomorrow.
2.) Because they're a fruit, you can use a brown bag to expedite their ripening.
In the same way that you would to ripen peaches or plums, you can ripen a batch of rock-hard avocados by placing two or three of the suckers in a paper bag and sealing it tightly. Leave it at room temperature, and the avocados will darken and become ripe in about two days. The paper bag traps in ethylene gas given off by the fruit which induces and speeds along that ripening process. Also, you can try tossing in another fruit, like a banana, to produce more of the gas and speed it along even further. Once they're ripe, you can store them (un-bagged) in the fridge to halt the process.
3.) It's easy to tell when avocados are too ripe or just right.
Avocados have a reputation for going bad too quickly. Slicing open an avocado to reveal a brown and stringy interior is one of the bigger disappointments in the food world (second to realizing that those chocolate chips are actually raisins...) which is why learning how to check for ripeness and avoid this kind of upset is important. It's also super easy.
- Visual cues. If the outer shell is a vibrant green, chances are it's not ripe yet. If it's dark in color, the odds are in your favor for it being ripe (or potentially overripe).
- Press it. If it feels soft to a controlled gentle press, but still has a little firmness, it's perfect. Overly soft or mushy are not good feels.
- Remove the stem. If the spot where the stem was is pale in color, it's still good; if it's black in color, the avocado has likely gone bad.
4.) Avocados deliver some serious nutrition points.
Avocados are a high-fat food, with nearly 70% of their total makeup being a compound called oleic acid, which is the same beneficial fatty acid found in olive oil. This healthy fat helps lower LDL cholesterol, supports a healthy heart, and is known to be anti-inflammatory. Avocados also boast more potassium than bananas, carry a large amount of fiber, and are rich in vitamin K. Beyond that, avocados are recognized as a great prenatal food, as well as a healthy (and soft) food for babies.
5.) Avocado prep is stupid easy.
With the right tools (mainly a sharp knife) you're well on your way to having your avocados ready for recipes (or devouring) in no time flat. Removing the pit is simple with one easy trick, and slicing and dicing can be done within the shell for a mess-free approach. Removing the skin is as simple as slicing the avocado in half or into quarters, then peeling it right off.
6.) Guacamole, duh.
Obviously one of the most important things to understand about avocados is that even if they had nothing else to offer (obviously not the case), guac is enough. Guacamole can be made chunky with diced avocados, super smooth by using a food processor for a creamy finish, or somewhere in between by mashing it completely by hand to your ideal consistency. And keeping your guac fresh if you're making it ahead of time is easy if you keep a few anti-browning tips in mind.
7.) Avocados make dessert better too.
You into chocolate? Adding avocado to your favorite chocolatey dessert recipes adds creaminess and nutritive benefits that team up really well with rich chocolate. Using avocados in place of milk, cream, and/or butter is totally do-able, and lends a very subtle earthy flavor. This is a great swap for vegan baking, as well as an excellent way to sneak in some healthy benefits for kids. Recipes like our vegan Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake and Avocado Pudding Pops are prime examples.
8.) Avocados are art.
If you've been around the internet for a minute, you may have noticed that avocados have picked up a huge following in the social media sphere. The Instagram hashtag #avocadoroses reveals mesmerizing creations that are almost ( emphasis on almost) too gorgeous to eat. These beautiful flower creations require just a little bit of patience, but anyone can create an avocado masterpiece by shaping thin slices together. Taking the notion of "playing with your food" to such delicious and aesthetic levels can clearly bump your avo-toast up a few notches.
9.) Not sure what to be for Halloween this year? Avocados are here to help.
It all goes back to that age old saying: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And when it comes down to it, doesn't everyone want to be as awesome and widely respected as an avocado? It's a no brainer. I mean honestly, forget Halloween, and just dress up like an avocado whenever you feel like it. Guaranteed confidence booster--you can see it all over this model's face.
10.) Bottom line, avocados are everything.
From avocado fries, to an avocado-based pasta sauce, and even stuffed and baked avocados, there's no limit to where your creativity can take you when you have a few avocados on the counter. By making educated picks at the store, avoiding the tragedy of overripe avocados, and using your kitchen skills to prep them to perfection, you're well on your way to avocado heaven.
BLT Baked and Stuffed Avocados
Do you have any favorite avocado recipes? Let us know in the comments below.
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