Avocado is an interesting fruit. Its tough, leathery skin could surely be a turnoff. I mean, how good could something be with that kind of a skin? But it's deceiving. Once you slide a knife into the yielding flesh and around in a circle, it pulls apart into two silky halves. The woody pit comes loose with a little jarring ... but really, just a little. Then you have it...a delectable, delicate avocado.
As a child, I approached the avocado with curiosity and apprehension. I can't say that I really liked it - though I certainly loved guacamole. But as I've gotten older, I have really fallen in love with avocados.
Really, the avocado is wonderful. There are so many fabulous ways to use it. For instance, paired with Tuna Steaks, it's fresh and satisfying. In Chicken Taco Salad, it provides a smooth, cooling element. It's also fantastic in a California BLT Salad. Or top a burger with a little guac and salsa - it's divine.
How do you like your avocado?
Avocado Mini Facts:
Checking Ripeness: Gently press the avocado with your thumb. If it's unyielding, like a rock, then it's not ready yet. If your finger easily sinks into the side, then it's overripe. What you want to feel is a slight yield when you press.
Preserving the Other Half: Want to save half of an avocado? Save the half with the pit still embedded. Use plastic wrap to cover the surface of the avocado (you want it to touch completely - don't let the air touch the flesh!). Then store in an airtight bag or container for up to two or three days.
Avocado Varieties: Haas avocados might be the ones that you've heard of most, but there are actually many, many varieties.
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger. Find her online at Sarah's Cucina Bella.