Selecting Fresh Fruit
- When selecting an Avocado, look for the Fresh California Avocado Brand, your assurance that the fruit was grown under the best conditions possible.
- The best way to tell if a California Avocado is ready for immediate use is to gently squeeze it in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm yet will yield to gentle pressure.
- Color alone may not tell the whole story. The Hass Avocado will turn dark green or black as it ripens, but other varieties retain their light-green skin even when ripe.
- If you plan to serve the fruit in a few days, stock up on hard, unripened fruit.
- Avoid fruit with dark blemishes on its skin or overly soft fruit.
Preparing an Avocado for Use
To hasten the ripening of an Avocado, set it in a fruit bowl or inside a paper bag, or wrap it in aluminum foil. Once it yields when gently squeezed, it's ready for use. Be sure to remove the pit before using the Avocado.
Most recipes containing Avocado can be stored at least 24 hours and used more than once. To delay darkening of a mixture, cover it in plastic wrap to prevent exposure to air. Adding lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar will also help delay browning.
Ripening a California Avocado
- To ripen a California Avocado, place it in a plain brown paper bag and store it at room temperature, 65 to 75°F, until it's ready to eat (anywhere from 7 to 10 days depending on the time of year).
- Including an apple or banana in the bag accelerates the process because these fruits emit ethylene gas, a ripening reagent.
- Soft, ripe fruit can be refrigerated until it's eaten but not for more than 2 or 3 days.
- Avoid using a microwave to accelerate the ripening process.
Preparing a Hass Avocado *
- Use this simple process:
Start with a ripe Avocado, and cut it lengthwise around the seed.
Rotate the halves to separate.
Remove the seed by sliding the tip of a spoon gently underneath and lifting it out. The other common seed-extraction method—striking the seed with a knife and twisting—requires some skill and isn't recommended.
For recipes that require diced cubes, use a knife to carefully score the Avocado halves both laterally and vertically. Then use a large spoon to detach the skin from the flesh. Turn the skin inside out, and the cubes should fall away easily.
For sliced avocados, first remove the skin with a large spoon then cut desired-size slices lengthwise.
Helpful Tip: Sprinkle all cut surfaces with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar to help prevent discoloration.
Storing or Freezing Hass Avocados *
Ripe fruit can be stored in the refrigerator uncut for 2 to 3 days. To store cut fruit, sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar and place in an airtight container in your refrigerator. If refrigerated guacamole turns brown during storage, simply discard the top layer before using it.
When you have an abundance of fresh Avocados, consider freezing them. Pureed Avocados freeze well and are great for use in salads, sandwiches and dips. Here's how:
- Wash, seed and peel the fruit as described above.
- Puree the flesh, adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each 2 pureed Avocados. Pack the puree into an airtight container, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Seal and label the containers.
- Freeze and use within 4 to 5 months.