How to buy, store and prepare avocado

With a little extra know-how, this lush tropical fruit can last longer, be prepared more easily and add a vitamin-packed boost to any meal.

Avocado on cutting board

Avocado. (Getty Images.)

This lush, rich tropical fruit – also known as the alligator pear – ranges from round to pear-shaped. Most grocery stores carry two varieties: Hass and Fuerte. The oval-shaped Hass has thick and bumpy, purple-black skin. The pear-shaped Fuerte has smooth, thin skin that’s green in colour. Both have a rich, buttery texture and slightly nutty taste.

Use avocados for guacamole or toss into salads and salsas. Whirl into smoothies or eat as is, sprinkled with salt and a drizzling of lime juice.

How to buy
Choose avocados that are heavy for their size. Make sure there are no blemishes, bruises or soft spots. Most avocados are sold unripe, so be wary of ones that are too soft – they will be overly ripe. Skin colour is not an indication of ripeness.

How to store
Place unripe avocados in a paper bag and leave at room temperature for two to four days. This locks in a gas called ethylene which hastens ripening. Refrigerate ripe avocados for two to three days. Sprinkle cut avocados with lemon juice to prevent discolouring, then wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for no more than two days. Some discolouring may still occur – just scrape off the dark parts before using.

How to prepare
Avocados are mostly eaten raw. They lose their flavour when cooked. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Using a spoon, scoop-out the flesh from each half, or cut into chunks or strips (with the skin on), then spoon out the diced or julienned pieces.

When thinly sliced, they can be served with grilled or roasted chicken, or you can mash them with a little mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.

Nutritional info
1/2 an avocado
153 calories, 2 g proteins, 4 g dietary fiber and 15 g fat

  • Excellent source of potassium and folic acid
  • Contains vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C, copper, niacin, iron, vitamin A, and zinc.
  • High in heart-healthy unsaturated fat