Buttery rich and healthy, avocados are available year-round and delicious in everything from salads and burgers to the perennial favorite, guacamole.
At the supermarket, look for avocados with firm skin and no soft spots. Once you’re home, follow these simple steps for enjoying the maximum taste and shelf life from your avocados:
(1) Store avocados at room temperature until they’re fully ripe.
You can tell if an avocado is ripe by giving it a gentle squeeze — if it yields to that light pressure, it’s ready to use.
Store unripe avocados at room temperature. It generally takes anywhere from four to seven days for a hard avocado to fully ripen.
(2) Running out of time? Speed up the ripening process.
You can speed up the ripening process by putting your avocados in a brown paper bag — placing an apple in the bag will help hurry things along even more. This will usually cut down the ripening time to 1 to 3 days.
If you've got fully ripe avocados that you do not want to use right away, place them in the fridge in a plastic bag. There, they'll usually keep well for another three to five days.
(4) Keep cut-up avocados tightly wrapped.
To keep cut-up avocado from turning brown, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap before refrigerating — sprinkling a small amount of lemon or lime juice onto the exposed avocado flesh will also help prevent discoloration.
Avocados freeze very well, with just a little bit of extra preparation. To freeze: Wash, peel and then puree the avocados. Add to the puree 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice for every avocado used to prevent browning. Place the puree in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and use within six months for best quality.