Creamy, buttery, avocados. Some call them God’s butter. Shaped like pears with a dark green, leathery skin, they are also called alligator pears. Avocados can fit in the palm of your hand or weigh several pounds each. Most of what we have at the market are the Haas variety, but you may find avocados with names like Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Bass, Lamb, Pinkerton, Reed, and Zutano. Many varieties but one incomparable taste.
20 Ways to Use Avocados
Nutrient-dense avocados are technically a fruit. A true superfood, avocados provide a high level of heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat as well as vitamins C, K, B6, and E, folate, fiber, and magnesium. They are anti-inflammatory, containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and 18 of the 22 amino acids our bodies require including nine essentials. A single avocado has almost twice the potassium of a banana, along with protein (2 grams per half) and dietary fiber. And if all of this is not enough to convince you of the power of avocados, they contain an impressive array of special nutrients found in plants that may help prevent disease (phytonutrients).
Buying and Storage
Avocados are ready to enjoy when they yield to a gentle squeeze. If they are rock hard, store them in a cool dark place (but not in the refrigerator) for a few days until they ripen. Placing them in a brown bag will speed the ripening process as avocados produce ethylene gas. Refrigerate only after avocados have ripened.
To open an avocado, run a sharp knife from top to bottom around the middle, part it by twisting in opposite directions. Sink the knife blade into the seed and twist then remove the seed from your knife by grabbing it with a paper towel.
The internet abounds with ideas on keeping a cut avocado from browning, but none of them have worked well for me. Because we eat them often, I wrap the cut half tightly in plastic wrap and its usually fine for the next day.
20 Ways to Use Avocados
- Classic guacamole
- Creamy avocado basil dip with raw veggies for a snack
- Guacamole chicken salad
- Slice for a sandwich
- Top a burger
- Make a green tea and avocado smoothie for breakfast
- Slice avocado for any green salad
- Chicken tostadas topped with avocado
- Add avocado to a breakfast omelet or along side scrambled eggs
- Whip up Creamy Avocado Dip as a healthy snack
- Use this sauce for grilled flank steak or chicken
- Amazing Avocado Gelato, from my friend Chef Jenny Ross
- Pomegranate and Avocado guacamole
- Grilled shrimp salad with raspberry and avocado
- Add it to a green quinoa salad
- Make a Southwestern Black Bean Salad
- Make avocado toast with tomatoes and sprouts for breakfast or lunch
- Use it creamy in a turkey tortilla wrap
- Add half an avocado to hummus for avocado hummus
- Toss chunks into a kale and avocado salad with tahini dressing