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On the nature of avocados

UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I'll be frank: I would like some help with the purchase, maintenance, and care of avocados. You see, when I cut into an avocado, I expect this:

avocado.jpg

But what I end up with 8 times out of 10 is something that looks like it came from CSI...brown and mottled and rotten looking parts near the skin - it's not pretty. What the hell am I doing wrong? I love the damn things but not when it reminds me of the shock pictures in my high school sex ed book. Plus, sometimes I have company over to enjoy my avocados and their appearance is quite embarrassing.

Avocado help please.

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Posts

  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    buy it
    leave it out
    once it is even a tiny bit soft put it in the fridge
    the fridge stops it from ripening

    if you are only using half of an avocado leave the pit in

    those tips will put you on the road for success in life

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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    More precisely, buy it when it's still a bit green, and firm to the touch.

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  • UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Hmm, they are usually unripe when I buy them at the supermarket, so I leave them out on the kitchen counter until they are soft. Then I cut into them and all hell breaks loose.

    I want to say I'm just buying shitty avocados but this problem seems to haunt me no matter where I get them from.

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Wait, are you having trouble maintaining avocados' freshness or picking out a good one?

    To maintain, do what Shazkar said. Also, once you've cut into it, smear the exposed flesh with lemon juice or olive oil - either one will slow down the browning process. If it's going into the fridge, stick it in a ziploc for good measure.

    As for picking out a good one, that's something it's easier to learn than explain. As with most fruit, heavier = better, but it's really all about softness. It's too soft if you squeeze a little and your fingers leave dents. If you pick it up and it feels almost like a water balloon, it's waaayyy too soft. You want it to be firm enough to not take a dent from a gentle squeeze, but soft enough to give just a little. When in doubt, err on the side of too-hard - getting a hard one and letting it ripen on the countertop is easy; reclaiming an overripe avocado is impossible.

  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    don't wait till they are too soft then

    timing is key

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  • UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Alton Brown is going to be canonized.

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  • radroadkillradroadkill MDRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    People have spoken wisely.

    It really is something you end up getting the hang of; if your store/market (I've found chains are the worst about this) have "RIPE" avocados (labeled as such and separate from the unripe) they tend to either be overripe or used that same day.

    The best thing I've found is to buy them when they're still not quite ready and give them a day or two on the counter.

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  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Either you're leaving them out too long, or they're shitty avocados (the latter does happen). Try cutting them significantly sooner; they really don't need to be that soft. If you feel any give at all across most of the body, it's ready.

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Hmm, they are usually unripe when I buy them at the supermarket, so I leave them out on the kitchen counter until they are soft. Then I cut into them and all hell breaks loose.

    I want to say I'm just buying shitty avocados but this problem seems to haunt me no matter where I get them from.

    Seriously, it's never occurred to you that you're letting them get over ripe? This isn't rocket science, and I'm a little bit baffled that you have never tried on your own to figure out where the sweet spot between under and over ripe is through the simple process of experimentation.

    If it's literally soft all over, you've waited much too long. By them when they're hard, and give them a gentle feel everyday. Once they start having a little give, they're almost ready. Give it another day and then see how they taste when you cut one open.

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  • UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I am under the impression that there must be a 22 minute window on these things...in any case I sought help here so don't denegrate me in admitting my weakness.

    But honestly, my experience has either been to cut the bastard open when I feel it isn't ready, and be presented with an aesthetically pleasing yet not-quite-ripe avocado ("juice" comes out when I cut it, it is still very firm, and it tastes a bit astringent) or wait another day and be disappointed.

    I'm on a crusade now, though. I'm buying a few hard ones at my local fruit guy (not the chain supermarket), and I'm checking them twice a day and cutting at intervals. This shouldn't be rocket surgery but seriously I've fucked up too many avocados and it isn't a legacy I care to have.

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  • mechaThormechaThor Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Alton Brown pretty much summed up everything imo. When people are saying squishy they don't mean in a watery way. I always imagine it as soft butter. You don't wan't it watery or brick hard, but in that middle sweet spot where it has give but isn't mushy.

    Also even if you see bruising, be aware of where it is and just cut out those parts. I've seen way too many avocados wasted because of the misconception that one mushy part = bad avocado. If the guacamole or what-have-you tastes amazing who cares if it's a little on the brown side.

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2010
    If they're not produced fairly locally, quality can be shit due to long storage times. That said, my town is surrounded by avo farms and the supermarkets are still trying to sell them for $2.50 each. Assholes.

    That said, the advice here is good so far. They don't need to be super-squishy to be ripe, they just need to give the impression that they'll no longer cause concussion if dropped from a great height. Leaving the pit in leftovers is important, as is sealing them in an airtight bag and squeezing all the air out before refrigerating. You can also trim out the brown bits and dice, mash or guacamole-up the rest. They don't really impact on the taste of the rest of the fruit.

    At least you've posted pics of the best variety, Hass are the only ones worth eating. The other types are easier to peel, but they don't taste nearly as good.

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  • NibbleNibble FormosaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    If you shake an avocado and you can hear the seed bouncing around inside, is that a bad sign?

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  • nukanuka What are circles? Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nibble wrote: »
    If you shake an avocado and you can hear the seed bouncing around inside, is that a bad sign?

    Um very yes. D:

    There's no reason for it to sound hollow unless bugs found their way inside it, or the pit is rotting from the inside out.

    Besides the pit is huge and there's really no room for it to be moving around.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I've had a lot more luck getting the smooth-skinned avocados -- the ones that are slightly larger and greener. I've heard them called a variety of things, like "florida avocado" or "slimcado" when really they're probably just one of these cultivars:

    http://www.grovetek.com/avocado.html

    You might have more luck with them as well, if they sell them near you.

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  • eatmosushieatmosushi __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    are avacado's considered nuts? :o

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  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I don't think so. I'm pretty sure they're fruit. I'd almost bet they're related to pears or peaches.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I hadn't heard about leaving the pit in, though it makes sense. I've always had luck using a few drops of lime juice (lemon would work too) applied to the cut surface to keep fruit from oxidizing (mainly apples and avocadoes).

  • RainbulimicRainbulimic Registered User
    edited February 2010
    eatmosushi wrote: »
    are avacado's considered nuts? :o

    Apparently, it's considered a berry.

    Fruit classifications are weird.

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  • DelzhandDelzhand motivated battle programmerRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Alton Brown is going to be canonized.

    Let's create the Society for the Canonization of Alton Brown.

    Probably not the best acronym, but eh.

    Edit: It's part of the laurel family, according to the video.

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  • UltimanecatUltimanecat Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    If they're not produced fairly locally, quality can be shit due to long storage times. That said, my town is surrounded by avo farms and the supermarkets are still trying to sell them for $2.50 each. Assholes.

    That said, the advice here is good so far. They don't need to be super-squishy to be ripe, they just need to give the impression that they'll no longer cause concussion if dropped from a great height. Leaving the pit in leftovers is important, as is sealing them in an airtight bag and squeezing all the air out before refrigerating. You can also trim out the brown bits and dice, mash or guacamole-up the rest. They don't really impact on the taste of the rest of the fruit.

    At least you've posted pics of the best variety, Hass are the only ones worth eating. The other types are easier to peel, but they don't taste nearly as good.

    Well down here in Sydney the going rate is closer to $4...so consider yourself lucky.

    I've also had slightly better luck with smooth-skinned varieties, but I don't get them often because I grew up in Southern California with Hass avocados and they're more familiar to me.

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  • MindLibMindLib Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I didn't pick through to see if anyone has said this yet but;

    Any avocado after being cut should be sprayed with some lemon juice and wrapped with saran-wrap if you want to keep it from going brown.

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