// By: Emily Fitzgerald, MScFN,RD

This nutrient packed creamy fruit, also known as the alligator pear, is an amazing addition to your diet! Read on for tips and tricks for choosing, ripening, opening and using avocados.

Avocados are rich in healthy fat, vitamin E and fibre. They can act as “nutrient-boosters” by helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins from other foods eaten with the fruit. To top it off, they contain nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients! Continue reading on to discover more about the flavourful creamy fruit.

 

How to Choose a Ripe Avocado

There are 3 strategies to determine whether your avocado is ready to be eaten or not – the colour, feel and stem check. Keep these simple tips in mind during your next avocado hunt at the grocery store!

Colour

  • Start by taking a look at the colour of the skin. The avocados that are darker in colour are most likely riper than the lighter coloured ones.

Feel

  • Gently squeeze the avocado in your palm. If it yields to the pressure and is not too soft, it is ripe and ready to eat. If it feels soft and mushy or hard, it is overripe or unripe.

Stem Check

  • Peel back the small stem at the top of the fruit. If the stem comes off easily and the colour underneath it is green, it is ripe and ready to eat. If the stem is difficult to remove or the colour underneath it is brown, the avocado is either unripe or overripe.

 

How to Ripen an Avocado

Have you ever planned to make guacamole and get to the grocery store and all of the avocados are hard as a rock and not ready to use at all? How inconvenient! Here is a quick tip for speeding up the ripening process so you can make use of those delicious avocados earlier rather than later.

Start by placing the unripe avocado in a brown paper bag. Add an apple or banana to the bag and seal tightly. One to two days later the avocados will be ripe and ready to enjoy!

 

How does it work?

Bananas and apples naturally release ethylene gas, a plant hormone, which helps speed up the ripening process. Placing one of these fruits in the same paper bag as your unripe avocado will result in a ready-to-eat avocado!

 

How to Open an Avocado

Don’t take a big bite out of the fruit – you need to get rid of that skin first! The delicious flesh inside is what you are after.

  1. Slice the avocado in half lengthwise, from tip to bottom, around the seed. Twist the two halves opposite directions until you have the two separate pieces, flesh-side open.
  1. Use a spoon to remove the large seed by slipping a spoon between the seed and fruit flesh. Alternatively, if you feel comfortable working with knives, use a chef’s knife to strike down on the seed and twist it out with the knife blade. Use your thumb to push the seed off the blade.
  1. If you just want to use the flesh as is, spoon it out of the skin. If you want slices of avocado, use your knife to cut the flesh into slices while it is still in the skin. Then use a spoon to carefully spoon out the slices of avocado.

 

5 Simple Ways to Use Avocado

  1. Add avocado slices to your favourite salad
  1. Blend up some chocolate avocado pudding for a healthy dessert
  1. Make it a dip to go with your favourite tortillas! You can try this avocado kale and artichoke dip
  1. Stuff them with your choice of bean, veggies, cheese and spices. The options are endless!
  1. Add avocado to your next smoothie for an added nutty flavour and healthy fat boost