Avocados and the truth about bananas

I don’t know many people who dislike avocados, but I know plenty who find them perplexing when it comes to selecting them.  I certainly don’t have all the answers, but thought I would relay how I choose and store them.

I love a good avocado and there are so many uses from smashing them for breakfast with some feta or goats cheese, using them in a multitude of salads, classic guacamole, prawn cocktails and the list goes on.  But, I hate buying avocados only to find when I get home that they are too ripe and can’t be used.

Selection

  • Visual – As with most things always have a good look at them and make sure visually they look in reasonable condition.  Check the colour and look for abnormal discoloration, bruises and other strange markings.  I always initially go for avocados that look fresh, a little shine on the skin, not too black.  Depending on the variety blackness is often an indicator of ripeness so I usually pick those that have a little blackness so I know I have a couple of days to use them.
  • Touch – Pick up the avocado and make sure the weight feels right compared to the size.  If it feels too light it could be  a bit too ripe and you will probably also feel some very soft patches without even squeezing – if so, put it back and move on.
  • Pinch – I like to give the very top a gentle squeeze.  If it gives a little then its probably good to go, if not it may need a couple more days to ripen properly.  Also, pinching the top is better than squeezing the avocado as you don’t leave bruises and, if you put it back, its not damaged for the next person who picks up.

Storage

  • Refrigeration slows down the ripening process.  If you want your avocados to ripen leave them out in room temperature and check them each day.  When ripe, move to the fridge where they can keep for up to a week.

The truth about bananas… There is a kitchen rumor that storing avocados in a paper bag with bananas speeds up the ripening process.  Well its true and I have done it a number of times.  I bought the avocados pictured at a farmers market recently because they looked amazingly fresh, but they were also hard as rocks!  I put one in a paper bag with a couple of bananas and sat the bag on my kitchen bench.  I put the other avocado in my fruit bowl.  This picture is about 5 days later and the one on the left is ready now while the one on the right still has a couple of days left in it.

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