Avocados are becoming a must-have to pick up in the produce department because of their versatility and variety of powerful nutrients. Between their healthy monounsaturated fats that can improve heart health, the fiber that may lower cholesterol and folate’s ability to improve brain health and prevent birth defects, avocados can definitely be considered a superfood. However, when it comes to picking, storing and preparing them … you want to know what you are doing. These tips will make you a pro at successfully including this wholesome fruit in your diet.
It all starts with picking the right avocado. This first step will depend on when you plan on eating your avocado. Use these guidelines below to pick out your avocados:
• Yields to gentle pressure: eat within a day
• Firm: eat in 2 to 3 days
• Hard: eat in 4 to 5 days
Are you not going to eat your avocado when you originally planned? If you want to delay your avocado from ripening, simply place it in the fridge. Or, to speed up the ripening process, place it in a brown paper bag with either an apple or banana and fold shut. Check the bag daily until you find the avocado ripened.
To get to the fruit, cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Then scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Be sure to get the dark green layer of flesh closest to the skin; this is where the highest concentration of lutein is. Lutein is an antioxidant that has been shown to be beneficial for eye health.
Ready to make a recipe? You’ll be happy to know that the ways to prepare avocados are endless. Of course there is the classic guacamole, but you can put avocados in smoothies, on toast or sandwiches, in salads, dips, deviled eggs, brownies and more! Just be sure to properly store what you don’t use from the cut open avocado by drizzling with olive oil or lemon juice, wrapping with plastic wrap and refrigerating. Check out the avocado boat recipe to step up your avocado game.