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.

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...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,830
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,325
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,268,862
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,536,765
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,144,153
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,437
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,240
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,332

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

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

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

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

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

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

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

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

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

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

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

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

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

YardBarker