Dealing with Avocados
Avocados and guacamole go all the way back to the ninth century—that's about 1,200 years, which is probably almost as long as you've been waiting for that fresh avocado on your counter to ripen so you can eat it. It's rare that you'll be able to buy ripe avocados from the store and use them right away. More often than not, you have to settle for hard avocados and wait for them to ripen. Avocados will ripen almost twice as fast if you use one of these tricks:
- Seal avocados in a brown paper bag and store them in a warm (not hot) place, such as the airing cupboard. Even a cut avocado will ripen this way, but you first need to cover its cut surfaces closely with non-toxic plastic film to prevent discoloration.
- Seal the avocado in a plastic bag along with a ripe banana. Keep the bag at room temperature until the avocado becomes soft and ripe.
Once you have a ripe avocado to work with, you can chop it for salads or sandwiches, or make delicious fresh guacamole. If you've prepared avocados or guacamole before, then you know that they often discolor very quickly. But you can stop them from darkening in several different ways.
- Cover the surface of your guacamole completely with non-toxic plastic film (cling wrap) with the plastic touching the guacamole.
- Soak your avocados in cold water right after cutting or peeling them. Soaking for a minute or two helps prevent discoloration of your guacamole. Even if you are just dicing your avocado, throw the diced portions in the water for a minute and they will look much better.
- Sprinkle your avocados with lemon or lime juice, or mix the juice in when you're mixing guacamole.
- Coat larger pieces or avocado with softened butter, margarine or mayonnaise before refrigerating; they should keep fresh and green for up to 24 hours.
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