Avocados have a great deal of popularity far beyond the classic guacamole. From toast and smoothies to a moisturizing ingredient in at-home face masks, this green creamy fruit seems to be ubiquitous.
Even if avocados don’t appeal, the light flavor can be masked by incorporating it into sauces and a multitude of recipes. The avocado adds both nutrients and creamy texture. Packed with potassium; B vitamins; fiber to help keep you full; and monounsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol, avocados should definitely be added to your grocery cart.
Picking the cream of the crop
Standing in the grocery store produce aisle presents a variety of options. Soft, rock hard, dark brown, green. A few simple tricks help you to know which avocado to add to the cart. If buying the fruit to use in the future, you’re safe to go for the rock-hard option. After a few days in the fruit bowl, it will be ready to go. For a piece that is ready to use right away, choose an avocado that has a little bit of give and no large soft spots. Look where the stem was attached. If the small piece of stem there flicks off easily and the meat of the avocado is green underneath, the avocado is ready to go. Brown or black meat under the stem means the avocado is overripe. If the stem doesn’t come off with a flick, it isn’t ready quite yet.
Avocados are frequently ready too soon. To extend their shelf life, peel and remove the pit of the avocado. Mash the meat of the fruit and put into ice cube trays to save for smoothies or sauces later.
For the avocado newbie, this piece of produce may seem unapproachable with its thick skin and unique texture. Hold the avocado in one hand, knife in the other. Slice through the length of the avocado until the knife comes in contact with the hard pit in the center. Hold the knife steady and twist the avocado to slice around the pit. Remove the knife and twist the two sides of the avocado to open. Use the knife to remove the large pit. From here, use a spoon to remove the green meat inside. Discard the skin and pit. The meat can be sliced, diced, mashed or left whole. For a simple snack, fill the hole left from the pit with a bit of chicken salad and enjoy with a spoon.
Creamy Green Smoothie
Starting your day with an avocado might sound a bit odd; however, the fresh fruit shines in this smoothie, leaving you to enjoy the flavor, creamy texture, and nutrients.
8 ounces pineapple juice
1 cup spinach
4 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 cup ice
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve either in a glass with a reusable straw or create a smooth bowl and top with granola and a drizzle of almond butter. Makes two servings.
Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, classic guacamole with a personalized twist will have everyone reaching for another chip to dip.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, extra to taste
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Pour the lime juice over the diced onion and let sit while preparing the other ingredients. Peel and pit the avocado. Mash to desired consistency. Stir in olive oil, salt, cumin, garlic, and onion. Taste and adjust flavor as desired.
Variation: From the classic guacamole, home cooks can get creative. Add red pepper flakes or diced jalapenos for a kick. Stir in roasted corn for a pop of smoky sweetness. No matter which way this spread goes, it’s delicious atop a hamburger, served with tortilla chips, or piled onto a burrito bowl.
Spring Garden Avocado Toast
More than just an overpriced millennial brunch item, avocado toast is a filling and tasty dish that can be customized to individual preferences.
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 slices of whole grain bread
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup microgreens
Slice radishes thinly and pour the lemon juice over them. Top with freshly cracked pepper, salt, and fresh dill. Stir together and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Toast bread until warmed through and crispy. Slice and pit avocado. In a small bowl, mash avocado and stir in feta crumbles. Spread the avocado mixture atop the toasted bread and add radishes on top of that. Garnish with microgreens and enjoy.