Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Technique Tuesday: Working with Avocado

Avocados are an incredible part of the fruit family! They are creamy and delicious, loaded with vitamins (K, B6 and C to name a few) and containing healthy unsaturated fat (oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol levels). Avocados are also versatile; they are great as a base for dips, in salad dressings, in salads or simply sliced on a salad. There are a few tips and tricks below that, when followed, will ensure that your use of avocados is successful and delicious!

1. Properly core and peel your avocado

Cut gently in a circle around the length of the avocado. Twist to open. Tap the blade of a medium-large knife into the core. Holding the avocado with one hand, twist the knife a quarter turn and pull out the core. To remove the peel, gently scool the inside with a large spoon. It should come out in one piece. Alternatively, you can make slices or dice marks, then use a spoon to remove the pieces. Voila!

2. Choose your avocado carefully

I love, love, love a good Hass avocado! They have fabulous flavor and are even great alone with a little salt and lime juice. A ripe avocado will have some give when pressed. If you purchase a hard avocado and want to speed along the ripening process, place it in a brown paper bag on your kitchen counter. This should really move things along. Never, ever buy an avocado that feels soft or mushy. A final selection tip is to choose an avocado that is more elongated than round; it is likely that this avocado was tree ripened, leading to a yummier flavor.

3. Be creative!

You can do a ton of different things with avocado. My suggestion is to keep the preparation simple so that you can truly enjoy the avocado's unique flavor. Add to salads (my recipe for corn salad is coming soon!), soups, sandwiches or even mix into sour cream for a delicious dip or topping for tortilla soup. YUM!

Here is my favorite use for avocado: http://happiestbelly.blogspot.com/2009/07/cilantro-lime-guacamole.html

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