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There’s nothing worse than buying an avocado, getting it home, cutting it up, only to find it’s so rubbery you could bounce it off the floor. It’s one of the reasons I’ve found that so many people won’t buy them. But life doesn’t have to be like this, you just need a little bit of knowledge on how best to choose your avocado before you buy it.
First, the avocado should be a darkish green; as avocados ripen, their skin darken. But with so many different varieties available, that might not be the easiest test.
Now supermarkets will hate me for saying this, but the best test is to gently push your thumb into the thickest part of the fruit, the base. It should leave a small indentation and the fruit should generally feel soft in your hand (not too soft; if it’s over-ripe, it won’t last when you get it home and could just be a brown mess when you cut into it).
When you cut into the fruit, the knife should slide in easily. Cut the fruit from top to bottom, guiding the knife around the stone in the middle. Then twist one half and the two parts should easily come apart, leaving the stone in one side. If you only want to use half of the avocado, put the half with the stone in (don’t remove it) into the fridge tightly sealed in film wrap. This will stop it from browning, and you can keep it fresh for about another 24 hours.
If you don’t want to use your avocado straight away, then buy a firmer fruit and let it sit on the counter top (away from other fruits like apples or bananas) for a day or two, and keep checking with your thumb until you can feel it is ripe to eat. Don’t squeeze the fruit, it will bruise, and you’ll have big chunks of unappetising brown spots when you cut into it.
If you need to ripen it quickly, put the fruit into a brown paper bag along with something else like a banana or apple – these fruits speed up the ripening of other fruits by emitting gases (hence why you should generally keep them apart).
The half you are using now can be mashed inside the skin, scooped out of the skin with a spoon, or peeled then sliced or chopped.
Seb is a writer and blogger of food and nutrition. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in nutrition science, and has studied sports and exercise nutrition at postgraduate level. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and believes passionately that we can all live with a little less meat. He writes for www.veggieandspice.com and www.itsaboutnutrition.com