Guide to Avocado: Shopping, Storing, Slicing, Eating | STACK

Guide to Avocado: Shopping, Storing, Slicing, Eating

April 17, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

The avocado pile in the produce section can be intimidating. For avocado newbies, it can be tricky to determine whether your selection is a "dud" or a "stud."

Full of healthy omega 3 fats, vitamin B6, folic acid, and potassium, avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. They've been shown to help maintain a healthy heart, manage blood pressure, lower cholesterol and prevent multiple diseases.

Master the avocado stack with this helpful guide. It can get you closer to reaping the benefits of adding avocados to your diet.

How to Pick an Avocado

The way to identify a ripe avocado is by color and touch. Unripe avocados are light green and very firm. Ripe avocados are a dark green, almost purple color and soft to the touch. If it's mushy or bruised, it's overripe. Put it back on the stack.

Ripe Avocado

Ripe avocados should be eaten within one to two days, so base your selection on when you plan to eat it. If you think it may be a few days, select a firm green ones and allow it to ripen naturally in your kitchen. This will take about four to five days at room temperature.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

How to Slice an Avocado

Because their skin is soft, avocados can be dangerous to cut open. Place the ripe avocado on a cutting board and cut it in half lengthwise. Do not hold the fruit in your hand while cutting. Once it's opened up, remove the pit with a spoon before removing the skin. The skin should come off easily when you peel it with your fingers. (If the avocado is hard to cut or peel, it may not be ripe enough to eat.) Once the skin is off, you can slice or dice the fruit any way you like, depending on how you plan to use it.

How to Serve an Avocado

Not only are avocados good for you, they are extremely versatile. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy avocados:

  • Mashed with salt, pepper, and lime juice and served with pita or carrots
  • Sliced as a topping for turkey or chicken sandwiches, a great alternative to dressing or other condiments
  • Mashed into tuna salad with lemon juice, salt and pepper; the creaminess is comparable to mayo
  • Served with eggs as a heart-healthy breakfast.
  • Enjoyed as a snack drizzled with balsamic vinegar

Unopened avocados will keep at room temperature. To prolong their shelf life, place them in the produce drawer in your fridge. The cold air stops them from ripening, so refrigerate only the ones that are ready to eat.

Sometimes you only need a small portion of the avocado for a recipe or snack. But if you've ever placed the unused half in the fridge, you've probably gone back the next day to find a mushy brown mess. Because of all their omega-3 fatty acids, avocados are sensitive to light, air and heat. They easily oxidize when exposed, becoming brown and breaking down. To keep an opened avocados longer, limit its cut surface and exposure. First squirt it with lemon or lime juice and sprinkle a little bit of salt. Then press a piece of plastic wrap over the cut surface and stick it in the refrigerator.

 

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Dietary Fiber We learned recently why carbohydrates are not the enemy and are so important, especially for athletes. One of the main reasons to obtain...

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Foods for Athletes: Top Trends for 2014

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

The Boston Cannons'

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

The Case for Red Meat

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices