Are you an avocado aficionado who wants to savour perfectly ripe avos for as long as possible? We've got you covered.
The window for the perfect avocado can seem impossibly small, and finding avocados in the "Goldilocks zone" of ripeness can be a game-changer. So when you do find them, you want to keep them there.
While we don't have a magic wand, we do have a few simple tips and tricks to ensure you can enjoy delicious avocados at your own pace.
Selecting the perfect avocado
The squeeze test 🤌
Before you can dive into avocado bliss, you need to know how to pick the perfect ones.
When it comes to choosing avocados, the squeeze test is your best friend. Hold the avocado gently in your palm and give it a gentle squeeze.
You want it to have a slight give, like a ripe peach. Avoid avocados that feel rock-hard, as they may need more time to ripen.
Conversely, if the avocado feels extremely soft and mushy, it might be overripe or even past its prime.
Checking the colour 🟩
While we're often told not to judge a book by its cover, the colour of an avocado can provide valuable clues about its ripeness. For most varieties, a vibrant green colour is a good sign.
However, some avocados darken as they ripen. So, keep in mind that the colour alone may not be a foolproof indicator. Instead, use it as one of several factors in your avocado evaluation process.
Check the neck 🌱
To take your avocado assessment to the next level, look at the small stem or "neck" at the top of the fruit.
Gently remove the stem and check the colour underneath. If it's a lovely shade of green, congratulations! You've found a winner.
However, if you see brown or black discolouration, it may indicate that the avocado is overripe or even spoiled.
Eat in season ☀️
It shouldn't be a surprise that when avocados are in season, they're usually at their best.
Fruit and veg that are allowed to naturally ripen are usually tastier, packed full of more nutrients, and are often larger (so better value!).
Avocado season in New Zealand is usually around August/September through to February, but can shift year-to-year.
Storing your avocados
Ripening at room temp 🌡️
If your avocados need a little nudge to reach that perfect ripeness, leave them out at room temperature.
Placing them in a bowl or a fruit basket on the counter allows air to circulate around them, helping them ripen naturally.
To speed up the process, you can pop them in a paper bag along with a banana or apple. These fruits release a gas called ethylene, which accelerates ripening. Keep an eye on them, as avocados can go from unripe to overripe pretty quickly!
Cooling things down ❄️
Once your avocados have reached your desired ripeness, but you're not ready to eat them just yet, it's time to slow things down. Transfer your ripe avocados to the refrigerator to prolong their freshness.
The cool temperature will help slow down the ripening process and buy you some extra time. Remember to keep them in the fruit and veg drawer or in a sealed container to prevent them from absorbing any unwanted odours.
Preserving cut avos 🥑
We've all been there – you only needed half an avocado, and now you're left with the other half. But fear not! You can prevent it from turning brown and keep it fresh for later use.
Start by drizzling the exposed flesh with some lemon or lime juice. The natural acidity acts as a shield against browning. Then, wrap the cut avocado tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container, ensuring minimal exposure to air.
This method will help keep your avocado looking fresh and vibrant for an extra day or two.
Freezing for the future 🧊
If you find yourself with more avocados than you can handle or want to stock up for later, freezing is your secret weapon.
Start by peeling and removing the pit from your ripe avocados. Cut them into chunks or mash them, depending on how you plan to use them later.
Drizzle a little lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.
Next, place the avocado in a freezer-safe container or a resealable plastic bag, making sure to remove any excess air.
Frozen avocados can last for several months and are perfect for smoothies, guacamole, or even as a topping for toast.
Extra avo tips & tricks
Avo + onion trick 🧅
If you have a halved avocado with the pit intact, place it cut-side down on a slice of red or white onion.
The sulfur compounds contained in the onion help slow down oxidation, preventing browning. Store the avocado in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and it should stay fresh for an extra day or two.
Now, it shouldn't really need to be said, but this will impart some of the onion-y flavours into the avocado. So, just make sure your plans for the avocado match this.
Guacamole with red onion and coriander? Great! Onion-tasting avocado smoothie? Not so great.
Avocado storage bags 🍃
Consider investing in specialized avocado storage bags. These nifty bags are designed to preserve the freshness and ripeness of avocados.
They create a controlled environment that helps prevent oxidation and extends the shelf life of your avocados.
Simply place your avocados in the bag and seal it tightly. These bags are reusable, so you can enjoy fresh avocados time and time again.
Reviving over-ripe avocados 🥤
Have a slightly overripe avocado on your hands? Don't write it off just yet! You can still salvage it by transforming it into a creamy and delicious treat.
Blend the overripe avocado with some yoghurt, lime juice, and a touch of sweetener (like honey or maple syrup) to create a refreshing avocado smoothie.
Alternatively, you can mash it up with some seasoning and spread it on toast or use it as a creamy topping for salads.