How to Shop for and Store Avocados
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There you are, standing in the produce aisle, when another shopping trip comes to a head. You know that you have to buy avocados for your weekend fiesta, and that guacamole is a must, but you are dreading making the selection. After all, you’ve mistakenly thought you purchased the best avocado for your dish before, only to find that it was far from ripe or was already on its way to the food compactor. You could just buy the store-brand guacamole, but that stuff just doesn’t taste like your guacamole. Instead of sacrificing quality, we’ve come up with a guide to help you while you’re shopping.
Put avocados to work with ways they can make you prettier!
When it comes to avocados, there is a perfect balance of softness that means the avocado is ready for eating. To check for firmness, place the avocado in your hand and gently squeeze to test softness. Avoid using your fingers, as it will cause bruising. You are feeling for a soft inside that yields to gentle pressure.
2. The Color Test
Believe it or not, when your avocados are bright green and very firm, they are not at their ideal shade for ripeness. Buying a green avocado means waiting four to five days to actually be able to eat it — which is great if you are prepping for a scheduled-out dish!
The next color is the trickiest one to identify, as it is in the "breaking" stage and is very similar to the darker green that indicates ripeness. These avocados are soft by not completely pliable to the touch and will be ready to eat in one to two days.
When an avocado is at its peak ripeness, it will be a nice, dark green shade and will react to gentle pressure. We recommend you use and eat these right away!
Finally, if an avocado is too dark and too squishy, it has already gone bad and should not be purchased.
3. Storing and Using
If you have purchased a perfectly ripe avocado, get to slicing. These puppies will not hold up well and wait for no hungry man. Purchasing them a few days ahead of desired use is completely fine, but just be sure to store them properly. Keep your avocados out of the refrigerator and be sure to store them in a brown paper bag at room temperature. To speed up the ripening process, put an apple or banana in there with it! And conversely, if they ripen too quickly and begin to yield to pressure, place them in the refrigerator to slow them down!
All the Things Avocados Can Do
If you’re vegan and/or a Millennial, you’re probably familiar with the avocado’s secret-weapon power to lend dairy-free richness and plush texture to all sorts of foods, both sweet and savory, but if you haven’t yet explored these intriguing…avo-nues, you’re in for a revelation.
You can use avocados as a mayo substitute, an emulsifier in salad dressing, and a creamy ingredient in almost everything else: smoothies, truffles, vegan fudge, pudding, mousse, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce, and all manner of baked goods (try fudgy avocado brownies with a buttercream-style avocado chocolate frosting). They can enrich deviled eggs, or be deviled themselves. They can even serve as edible bowls, and be blended into boozy cocktails.
While we’re far from the first generation of American home cooks to use the beloved superfood with creative applications, it’s fairly safe to say that most of the new crop of recipes are more tempting than the verdant horrors of the 1950s, like this salmon-avocado mold monstrosity:
See also: “California style” chipped beef—but know that it wasn’t all dire. As proof, check out this simple yet prophetic, circa-1949 avocado toast from a vintage cookbook/avocado propaganda pamphlet:
See? Everything old is new again. So if you’ve been content to stick to guacamole, diced avocado in your chili, and sliced in your salad up until now, why not try branching out a bit? (Scroll down to the recipe section for even more ideas.)
There’s more to the fruit than its fabulous flesh, too. Avocado oil is a great cooking medium since it’s nutritious and has a high smoke point. And avocado leaves, although they can be a bit hard to find, lend a unique flavor to many Mexican dishes.
- Greens - kale, spinach, chard etc.
- Apples or pears
- Peppers - I love red bell peppers as they're so high in vitamin C
- Lemons and limes - for salad dressings and to add to smoothies and juices
- Red cabbage
- Herbs - parsley, basil, mint etc.
- Berries - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (anything in season)
- Vegan cheese
- Coconut yoghurt
- Superfood powders - chlorella, spirulina, maca, protein powders etc.
- Berries - raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries etc.
- Beans - chickpeas, black beans, adzuki etc. (I like to cook big batches and freeze them)
- Frozen veggies - spinach, peas, sweetcorn
- Bread (because who can get through a whole loaf without it going off?!)
- Good quality veggie sausages and burgers
- Miso paste
- Tinned beans
- Dried lentils
- Pasta and noodles
- Whole grains - brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff, wild rice etc.
- Crushed Tinned Tomatoes
- Sundried tomatoes
- Herbs and spices - turmeric, cumin, chilli powder, garlic powder etc.
- Good quality sea salt and black pepper
- Vegetable stock cubes
- Oils - olive, coconut, avocado, coconut butter/manna etc.
- Soy sauce, tamari, Braggs Soy Seasoning
- Vinegar - apple cider and balsamic
- Seeds and nuts - chia, hemp, flax, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds etc.
- Dried fruit - goji berries, raisins, apricots, prunes, figs etc.
- Nut and seed butters - almond, peanut, sunflower, hazelnut etc.
- Dessicated or ribboned coconut
- Sundried tomatoes
- Nutritional yeast
- Flours - chickpea, brown rice, buckwheat etc.
- Baking ingredients - baking soda, vanilla essence, xanthan gum etc.
- Rolled oats
- Sweeteners - maple syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, agave
- Dark chocolate, cacao/cocoa powder and cacao nibs
- Seaweed - nori, kelp, kelp noodles, dulse flakes
Elizabeth Emery is a food blogger, recipe developer and writer. Her blog Vancouver with Love focuses on all things vegan, from recipes to travel and lifestyle tips. She is based in Vancouver, BC.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.
How to Store Avocados (and Freeze!)
So what happens when you don't use a whole avocado at once? Is it salvageable? The answer is yes! There are a few ways that I have found to store avocados that actually keep them pretty well.
- Pop them in the fridge when they're ripe – this will stop them from getting any riper on the counter
- Buy an avocado saver – I don't have one, but have heard they work well
- Keep them in a Stasher bag – this is my preferred method and it works really well!
- Wrap them in foil or paper towel & store them in a sealed container/baggie
- Freeze them – slice them into chunks and freeze them for smoothies
Can You Freeze Avocado?
Extend the life of perfectly ripe avocados easily and effectively.
FNK AVOCADO TOAST Food Network Kitchen Food Network Avocados, Whole Grain Bread, Garlic, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Red Pepper Flake
Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
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By Regan Cafiso for Food Network Kitchen
A perfectly ripe avocado is a thing of beauty, but its freshness is often fleeting. Often it seems like you wait eons for that hard, funny-looking fruit to reach that idyllic firm-but-yielding state of ripeness, only to miss the window and have it yield dark, stringy mush when you finally use it. But here is a secret: You can freeze avocado and preserve that ideal ripe state — but there are some tips and caveats.
How to Freeze Avocados
The most successful way to freeze avocado is to mash it first with some lemon juice. Start with perfectly fresh, pitted avocados. Scoop the insides into a mixing bowl and top with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mash to a uniform consistency with a fork or potato masher. Scoop the mashed fruit into a resealable freezer bag and press into an even layer. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal and freeze for up to 1 month. To use it, thaw the frozen avocado in the refrigerator before using. Use the mashed avocado as a sandwich spread, on toast or in guacamole.
Another nice idea is to blend avocado flesh with another fruit, like pineapple, mango or banana. This puree can be frozen in ice cube trays and stashed in the freezer to add a sweet, creamy and nutritious boost to smoothies.
Can You Freeze Whole Avocados?
You really can't freeze a whole avocado, or even slices of fresh avocado. The fruit just doesn't stand up to it. As it thaws, its texture and flavor are compromised, getting spongy and watery. If your recipe calls for avocado in a whole or diced state, you're better off using fresh.
Can You Freeze Guacamole?
If you took the time to mash avocados for freezing, you might think it's a good idea to take it all the way and make guacamole, then just freeze that. Not so fast! While the avocado flesh itself holds up well to freezing, the onions, tomatoes and herbs in guacamole get loose and watery when thawed. Therefore, we do not recommend freezing guacamole. It's better to just mix thawed avocado mash with freshly chopped aromatics for your guac.
A big bag full of fresh, ripe avocados at a bulk price is tempting, but unless you’re making a tub of guacamole for a big party, it’s not going to work out. “What I do, and I think this gives you more freedom, is I buy for the week,” Jinich explains. “I look for green and rock hard (for the end of the week), and ripe and soft (for tomorrow).” That way the batch will ripen gradually and you can have perfect avos every day of the week.
So, what is involved in Freezing Strawberries?
How to Freeze Strawberries
First of all, pick your strawberries in the early morning from your greenhouse or garden……or, pick them up from your local Farmer’s Market or grocery…………
Fresh Strawberry Ready to Pick
Next, take your handfuls of berries or your containers of berries and place them in a colander to rinse.
I rinse my strawberries prior to freezing but still freeze them individually for ease of use later on. I rinse and sort under cool running water or simply sort, take out green tops and spray with your sink faucet. Any way, you want to rinse is just fine, just make sure your berries are fresh, not bruised or damaged and clean. You may use a small knife to remove the green stem area or you may use the berry huller like this one, Chef’n StemGem Strawberry Huller for ease of hulling.
After hulling, sorting and rinsing, I sort by size.
I cut the larger strawberries in half or even quarters as they are easier to add to the blender for smoothies in a more manageable size.
Rinse Strawberries in Colander
The next step is to simply arrange them on a baking sheet or cookie sheet that can be placed in the freezer.
Place Strawberries on Baking Sheet to Freeze
Make sure to leave enough space in-between berries so they freeze individually.
Wait for a little while to allow the strawberries to completely freeze solid, then take the cookie sheet out of the freezer and tap on the counter to loosen the berries. You are now ready to pop them into quart size freezer bags for more long term freezing.
Make sure to label each bag with the date they were frozen and then begin to plan on what you can do with all your strawberries………since most Strawberries arrive at the store in June, make sure to watch for sales so you can freeze this wonderful berry for year round enjoyment.
Strawberry Smoothie ♥
- 1 cup Organic Milk or Almond Milk
- 6 Frozen Strawberries
- 2 tablespoons honey or 1 teaspoon Stevia Pyure Organic Blend Stevia Sweetener, 16 oz
- …….and possibly 1 banana if you so chose.
Whiz in the blender until smooth. Makes one serving. This is delicious, nutritious, refreshing and so easy……….Enjoy.
Sparkling Strawberry Spritzer ♥
- 2 cups sparkling water
- 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
- 2 teaspoons of Stevia Pyure Organic Blend Stevia Sweetener, 16 oz or Organic Cane Sugar -2 lbs
- A sprig of mint leaves, this is optional
Pour sparkling water into your tall glass or quart jar, add strawberries and sweetener of choice. Mix slightly and Enjoy! Refreshing and Beautiful…..this makes you feel good about yourself as it is so pretty to look at and so healthy for you!! I love making things that are easy, healthy and a delight to look at. You will understand what I mean, especially if you are a visual person……Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder of this refreshing drink.
In addition, another way to use your frozen berries is to make strawberry syrup…….
Strawberry Syrup ♥
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and gently heat on low until berries have thawed and the sugar has melted. Spoon warm syrup over pancakes, ice cream, yogurt, waffles or French Toast. This is wonderful…..such a treat, especially during the wintry months. Enjoy.
Still another strawberry idea…….is to add these delightful berries to a fresh greens salad:
Strawberry, Kale and Parmesan Salad ♥
This is so simple…..first, you must gather:
- 5 of 6 large fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
- 1 bunch fresh kale, chard, spinach or lettuces, washed and dried
- 4 tablespoon nice Olive Oil or avocado oil Avohass New Zealand Extra Virgin Avocado Oil 8.5 fl oz Bottles
Rinse fresh strawberries a toss in with your greens. Next, drizzle olive oil or avocado oil over the greens and berries then top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. These is such an easy, pretty way to enjoy the healthy benefits of fresh greens and berries! Plus, the nutritional omegas of olive oil or avocado oil is a wonderful addition to this wholesome and healthy salad.
Related Post: Freezing Kale in Small Individual Servings
Strawberries are simply one of the best……they are beautiful when added to fruit salads & fruit platters, versatile when used as a garnish for breakfast or lunch and a delight to the eye when simply set on the table by the bowlful.
In addition to being healthy and delicious, they are simply a beautiful berry.
Consequently, they are the Number One fruit in the USA.
Therefore……Look for the Beauty of the Strawberry.
How to store avocados
The first step is to asses the current state of your avocados. If you're able to remove the stem with ease, and it gives slightly with a gentle squeeze, it means it's pretty ripe. Either use within the next day or so, or jump to read our tips on storing avocados in the fridge to preserve it for a little longer.
Avocado feeling a little firm? Step away from the fridge, this avocado belongs in the fruit bowl where it will ripen over the next three to six days.
Want to speed up the ripening process? Place your avocados in a paper bag alongside a banana or two. Check on it every day to track progress.
It's true! California Avocados are part of a healthy diet.
Nutrient dense foods are those that provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with relatively few calories. One-Third of a medium avocado (50 g) has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, making it a great nutrient dense food choice.
Naturally Sodium And Cholesterol Free
California Avocados are naturally sodium and cholesterol free.
The avocado is virtually the only fruit that contains monounsaturated fat —good fat.
Avocados can act as a “nutrient booster” by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamins A, D, K and E.
Great For Babies And Kids
The avocado's creamy consistency makes it makes it one of the first fresh foods a baby can enjoy.