Food & Cooking Tips

Tips For Buying Avocados

Avocados, grown in California and Florida, are available year-round. Two general types, and a number of varieties of each, are grown. Depending upon type and variety, avocados vary greatly in shape, size, and color. Most tend to be pear-shaped, but some are almost spherical. Fruits weighing under ½ pound are most commonly available. Some have rough or leathery textured skin, while others have smooth skin. The skin color of most varieties is some shade of green, but certain varieties turn maroon, brown, or purplish-black as they ripen. Despite this variation in appearance, all avocados are of good eating quality when they are properly ripened, becoming slightly soft. This ripening process normally takes from 3 to 5 days at room temperature for the quite firm avocados usually found in food stores. Ripening can be slowed by refrigeration. Look for: For immediate use, select slightly soft avocados that yield to gentle pressure on the skin. For use in a few days, buy firm fruits that do not yield to the squeeze test. Leave them at room temperature to ripen. Irregular light-brown markings are sometimes found on the outside skin. These markings generally have no effect on the avocado's flesh. Avoid: Avocados with dark sunken spots in irregular patches or cracked or broken surfaces. These are signs of decay. An extra tip: When preparing avocados, to avoid the browning of avocado flesh when exposed to air, immediately place the peeled fruit in lemon juice until ready for use. Courtesy of Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO, 81009