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Seasonal Produce: Avocados

A tropical tree fruit that is treated like a vegetable in cooking, the avocado has a rich, buttery texture and mild, nutty flavor. Native to Central or South America, avocados are grown in California and Florida in the U.S. and are available year-round. There are two main types of avocados-California-grown Hass and Florida-grown Fuerte.

About 75% of the U.S. crop is the Hass variety, which has rough, nubby blackish-green skin and yellowish-green flesh. Fuerte avocados are oval with smooth green skins and pale green flesh that is a bit more watery than Hass. Both have a large pit in the center that detaches easily from the flesh. In addition to being the main ingredient in the popular Mexican dip, guacamole, avocados are delicious in sandwiches and salads. They are best served raw, as their texture and flavor do not hold up well to heat.

Purchasing

  • Select avocados that are heavy for their size and free of blemishes and bruises.
  • Harvested unripe, they are usually firm and need a few days to soften and ripen.
  • Avoid purchasing soft, mushy or rock-hard fruit.
  • Avocados are ripe when they yield to gentle pressure.
  • To speed-ripen avocados, place several in a paper bag and let stand at room temperature for 2 to 4 days.
  • Refrigerate ripe avocados for 5 to 7 days.

Preparing

  • Wash avocados before cutting.
  • Cut in half lengthwise to the pit using a paring knife. Twist the cut halves in opposite directions to separate them.
  • Scoop out the pit with the tip of a spoon. Or carefully press a knife blade into the pit then gently twist the knife and pull the pit away from the flesh.
  • To slice or dice, peel off the skin first.
  • If mashing, simply scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
  • Once cut, sprinkle the flesh with lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloring.

Nutrition

  • Low in sodium
  • Excellent source of fiber
  • Good source of vitamin C

Serving

  • Top pitted avocado halves with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper or your favorite KRAFT Vinaigrette or KRAFT Mayo and eat right out of the skin with a spoon.
  • Fill pitted avocado halves with a creamy tuna, shrimp or chicken salad.
  • Toss sliced avocados into salads or tuck into sandwiches.
  • Use diced avocados to garnish bowls of chili, tacos, nachos, enchiladas and burritos.
  • Purée avocados and use as a base for a chilled soup.
Avocados
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