I love avocados. Give me an avocado and some salt and I am a happy girl. Avocados can enhance any meal. They are great as a salad topping, mixed in smoothies, topped on savory dishes, even as avocado mousse and ice cream! The options are endless. They are an especially great addition to eating a whole, nutrient-rich, non-processed diet.
Avocados contain healthy fats (oleic acid) that boost HDL (or good cholesterol) and they have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. They are a excellent source of carotenoids (think beta-carotene), as well as, Vitamins K, B5, B6, C, folate, and E. They also contain more potassium than a banana. They are a great source of dietary fiber and they are shown to be anti-inflammatory. In summary, they are nutrition powerhouses.
The problem I had was I could never make the most of my avocados. I would either miss the one day of perfect ripeness or I would be wary of buying more than one for fear of not using them in time or having to use them all at once. Thus, I was left avocado-less most of the time. With a little experimenting, I was able fix my predicament and ensure I had avocados aplenty.
The answer comes in two parts:
- Keeping ripe avocados for more than one day
- Storing ½ an avocado that won’t oxidize and turn brown.
As any regular avocado eater knows, there is one perfect day of avocado ripeness. I am referring to avocados for use outside of guacamole, which need to be riper. My prefect avocado is slightly soft (like a ripe peach), but still firm, and when the stem nub is removed, the underneath is still green.
My tried and true technique is simple. Buy enough avocados you will need for one week, leave them out until they achieve perfect ripeness, and then refrigerate. I have found that they will be good to go from the refrigerator for about 1 week. In my opinion, there is no impact on taste or texture. Just be careful that they are in a safe place and not crammed in the crisper. They will bruise and get mushed if pushed on.
I am not ashamed to say that I can eat a whole avocado in one sitting easily. However, should I eat a whole avocado at once? Probably not. Despite their stellar health benefits, there is a calorie impact to consider. One half an avocado is more consistent with eating a balanced diet and spreading my calories around. So, how do I keep the extra half? A halved avocado doesn’t take long to oxidize and start turning an unappetizing brown. This is my easy step-by-step technique:
- Slice avocado down the middle in half, running your knife around the large pit. Separate by gently twisting. One half will have the pit attached and one will not. Use the side without the pit for your current dish of choice. Use the half with the pit for storage using this guide. I do this since the pit already protects the side attached from oxidation. Prepare this half for storage immediately after slicing.
- Using coconut oil spray, coat the avocado half. Coconut oil spray is widely available in the oils section of most grocery stores. The coconut oil creates a barrier between the avocado flesh and oxygen in the air. Coconut oil also has naturally occurring antioxidants to prevent the beautiful green avocado flesh from turning brown.
- Once sprayed, wrap the avocado half in plastic wrap to protect for storage. Store in refrigerator immediately.
- In my experience, the stored avocado half will be good for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use it, remove from the fridge and unwrap. The coconut oil spray will be solidified. I don’t mind the coating of coconut oil. The spray has much less of a coconut flavor and I don’t even notice it. If it does bother you, remove the pit and slice the thin layer of coconut oil off with a knife.
That’s it! I happily enjoy ½ an avocado on most days. I hope these tricks get more avocados into your diet as well. If you have any other tricks, please share!