This ripe Hass Avocado looks ready to eat – Hass comprise 80% of consumed Avocados.
Many articles have been written on these topics but here are my practical alternatives that will show you how to choose ripe avocados without risking bruising them and how you can store them for longer and preserve their freshness.
Choosing your ripe Avocados
Some time ago, I asked a vendor how to choose a ripe avocado. He told me that apart from first selecting one with brownish colour (if I am buying Hass), that I should just place my thumb or a finger at the base of the avocado, where it was attached to the tree (a place of about 0.5 cm diameter) and press gently. If the avocado is ripe, this will be soft. This method is simple and reliable and doesn’t risk bruising the avocado.
This rule also applies to other varieties such as the Shepard, which remains green even when it is fully ripened.
This is an adequate and reliable test – there is NO need to feel any other part of the avocado and if you do squeeze any other part of the avocado, it will bruise.
Here in Australia, zealous purchasers (possibly over-enthusiastic shoppers) usually pick up and press several avocados before they are satisfied with their choice. Sadly, this ensures that most ripe or nearly ripe avocados are badly bruised when you purchase them. (This might not apply in all countries as not everyone allows purchasers to touch the produce)!
How you should select your Avocados
My own solution to avoid buying bruised avocados is to be organized and always buy green – obviously unripe avocados – that won’t have been prodded. I then leave them on the bench for four or five days until they are ripe. Once they are ripe, you can keep them in this ideal condition by using the technique below.
If, however, you are caught out and need to buy in an emergency, try to find a hidden avocado or one that has just been brought out from the store-room.
Buying green avocados works well, as long as you are organized and have a way of stopping your avocados from becoming too ripe once they have reached their ideal ripeness!
Storing your ripe Avocados
Thanks to my friend Suzette for this excellent advice!
Suzette discovered that if you wrap your Avocado in aluminium foil and put it in the fridge, it will last for some weeks. The amazing thing about wrapping in foil is that you can cut a section from your Avocado (say a third) and when you re-wrap it, the rest will stay completely fresh. I leave the stone in when I do this, but it may not matter.
Use enough foil to completely cover the avocado!
Wrapping in foil prevents the avocados being exposed both to air and to light but to be honest, we don’t know exactly why this is so successful? If someone does know the answer, please add your comment.
Apart from being delicious, avocados offer unique nutirtional benefits as they have especially high levels of two nutrients that are required in larger amounts as we age. The first of these is oleic acid (commonly just referred to as MUFA – or monosaturated fatty acid). Oleic acid (also found in high levels in Olive Oil and Sesame Oil) is a key factor in reducing age-related inflammation (see my book Why We Age).
The second key nutrient is lutein. Lutein is sometimes referred to as the ‘eye vitamin’ as it protects eyes from damage from sunlight. It is thought to work as a light filter and is found in both the macula and retina. (Read the science behind this in the research publication: The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health)
Lutein is found in several other vegetables as well as in egg yolks.
Take home message
It is a very good habit to include avocado in your daily diet – perhaps in a smoothie for breakfast, spread on toast for lunch or with your vegetables and/or salad for dinner.
But while you are enhancing your own health with your daily avocado, please remember that no-one wants to eat bruised, brown avocados.
Regardless of the ripeness of the avocado, always restrict your touching to the very base of the avocado or better still, buy green avocados and ripen them at home on your bench. Then, once they are ripe, wrap them in alfoil until you are ready to eat them.