Avocados: Thinking Outside the Guacs

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Avocados are both popular and populous in California. About 90 percent of crops from the U.S. come from the Golden State, with more than 6,000 growers producing trees that bear anywhere from 150–500 fruits apiece, each of which is picked by hand. That’s a lot of work! Their popularity stems from the fact that they are creamy and flavorful, but also very good for you: they are one of the only fruits that has “good” fats (about 3 grams per serving of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats), and no cholesterol or sodium.

Picking Out a Good One

The most common variety of avocado is the Hass, and that’s pretty much all that Sprouts sells. Ripe Hass avocados are darker in color—anywhere from dark green to black—and the best ones will be firm but also yield gently to pressure. If you happen to get some that are a little too hard, just put them in a brown paper bag along with an apple or banana for a couple of days. The natural ethylene gases given off by those fruits act as a good ripening agent.
Video Description: When selecting a perfectly ripened avocado look for produce that is green to purple-black in color. Place the avocado in the palm of your hand and squeeze gently. If it yields slightly then your avocado is ready to eat!

Peeling It

There are several techniques for peeling the skin off an avocado and removing the large seed, but the easiest one is this:
  1. Using a paring knife, slice the avocado lengthwise just off center. You’ll be able to feel where the seed is. (Note: the seed is rather thick, so you should try to cut it with its wide surface perpendicular to the table.)
  2. Once you have sliced off that smaller half, use a teaspoon to scoop out the seed from the remaining larger half.
  3. Now lay each piece down on a cutting board, flat side down, and use the paring knife to peel back the skin, starting at the narrow end.
  4. (Alternatively, you can use the spoon to scoop out the avocado meat.)