Young woman slicing an avocado with a knife?>

Tips for Using Avocados

by Andrea Klausner, MS, RD  

Avocados can be a healthy addition to your diet, especially when they replace sources of saturated fats, such as butter, sour cream, cheese, and luncheon meats. For every ounce of butter you replace with avocado, you’ll save about 150 calories; for every ounce of full-fat cream cheese, you’ll save 50 calories.

These tips and tricks can help you get the most out of your avocados:

  • Wash avocados before cutting them to avoid transferring any bacteria that may be on the peel to the flesh inside. Slice or dice them to use in salads, omelets, sandwiches, and smoothies or to garnish soups. Mash them to make guacamole or a spread for bread.
  • To determine ripeness, lightly press the avocado with your thumb. If it feels soft, it’s ready to eat; if there is a slight give, it will be ready in a day or so; if it’s firm, it will need three or more days to ripen. To speed ripening, keep avocados at room temperature (warmer temperatures actually inhibit ripening). You can also place the avocado in a paper bag along with an apple or banana (or both), since all these fruits give off ethylene, a gas that speeds ripening.
  • Here’s one way to prevent browning once an avocado is cut open: Leave the pit in the unused half and brush the exposed flesh with olive oil or lemon juice and then refrigerate it in a sealed container or plastic wrap. Better yet, perhaps, place the unused halved avocado (face up) in a container on top of coarsely cut red onion, then cover and refrigerate it—as shown in this video.

See also: 3 Ways to Serve Avocados.