Whether sliced for salads, blended in smoothies and mashed for dips, avocados are a staple in my kitchen, especially while we are still waiting on the arrival of spring greens.
Their versatility in the kitchen makes avocados a popular choice for any diet and some even go as far as labelling them a super food. I label them as delicious and enjoy them in moderation!
They’re perfect first thing in the morning, smashed on toast with salt and pepper, or as a late night snack of chips and guacamole. Four out of five family members love them, and the odd child out still eats them – only he doesn’t always know.
The Hass avocado is by far the most common of all avocados, and is the variety I use most often in my kitchen. To find a perfectly ripe avocado, look for the very dark green ones that are slightly soft around the stem area. Another indication is if the flesh under the small brown stem is green.
The avocados I use hail from California and usually arrive green and hard as rocks. Fortunately, I’ve learned that I can ripen them in a day or two by placing them in a paper bag with an apple (a banana works, too). I fold the bag over a few times and gently store it in a dark place. Then I try hard not to forget about them, because they ripen quickly like this!
To prolong the life of an avocado, store it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The skin will turn black, but it will remain firm for a few days.
To keep a cut avocado from going brown, rub a little lemon or lime juice on the exposed flesh, wrap it in plastic cling wrap and refrigerate it for up to a day or two.
You can also freeze avocado in slices or as a puree. They won’t defrost to their full, creamy glory, but they will still be great for smoothies, salad dressings and dips.
A sharp knife is all you need to prepare an avocado. Starting at the top, slice the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit. Twist the two halves apart to expose the pit. Tap the knife firmly onto the pit to lodge it slightly, then twist the knife to remove the pit. You can watch Jamie show exactly how to do this below.
Scoop the avocado flesh out with a spoon. For nice slices or cubes of flesh, place the avocados cut side down on a board and slice in half lengthwise. Gently peel off the skin and slice as desired.
HOW TO USE AVOCADO
A basic guacamole, served up alongside a simple, authentic taco, is my absolute favourite way to enjoy avocado, but it is capable of much more.
Lately I’ve been blending it with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and salt for an easy salad dressing. Add avocado to any of Jamie’s jam jar dressings by emulsifying the ingredients together in a blender. It’s healthier than adding mayonnaise or sour cream, and achieves that craveable creamy ranch-like texture.
It’s also delicious as a substitute for mayonnaise in egg salad, adding a boost of healthy fats and unbeatable flavour.
Because of those fats, it can also replace butter in baking – yes, sweet baking! These avocado cookies are totally gluten and dairy-free, and absolutely delicious.
In the smoothie department, nothing makes for a creamier drink than a few spoonfuls of ripe avocado blended in. It’s rich and delicious, but the flavour is mild enough to pair with nearly every smoothie combination.
By now you should be beginning to see the versatililty of the humble avocado. So go ahead – whether you’re cooking salmon, chili or a burger, try adding some and see if avocado can elevate your favourite dish even higher.