Kitchen Basics: Avocado

June 4, 2012

In her biweekly column, Kitchen Basics, Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen demystifies essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos. Whether she's showing us how much brown sugar we're meant to "pack"(or is it cram?) into measuring cups or how to detect when our onions are properly caramelized, Susan is the nonna we never had -- until now. Now, go on and get cozy under her wing.

This week, Susan demonstrates how to pit, slice, and dice avocado.

avocado

- Susan

As creamy as butter and as subtle as white chocolate, avocados add sophistication to many a dish. Their bumpy, alligator-like skin hides melt-in-your mouth yellow-green flesh. Here are some tips to use, whether you’re shopping for a batch of rippled, purple-skinned Hass, thin-skinned Fuerte, or another variety.

How to Select Avocados

Avocados only ripen after they have been harvested. To test whether an avocado is ready to eat, give it a gentle squeeze and look for a shallow imprint in the skin. If the flesh is as hard as a bowling ball, it will need time to mature. If you feel the flesh collapses under the skin, the fruit is past its prime.

How to Store Avocados

Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days. Once cut, be sure to sprinkle them with lemon juice, lime juice, or another acid to keep them from turning brown (or "oxidizing"). Unripe avocados should be kept at room temperature until they ripen. To hasten the ripening process, place the fruit in a paper bag with an apple or a banana.

To freeze: If, through great fortune, you end up with more avocados than you can use, consider freezing them. Use the steps below to pit and mash the fruit. Then sprinkle it with lemon juice, lime juice, or another acid to keep it from browning. Place it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag before freezing it.

freeze avocado

How to Prepare Avocados

To pit: Thoroughly wash and dry the avocado. Place it on a cutting board lengthwise. Hold a chef’s knife parallel to the cutting board. Starting at one pole, slice into the fruit. Rotate the fruit and continue to slice it along the equator.

avocado slice into avocado

Grasp the avocado with both hands and twist in opposite directions. 

twist avocado

pit

Carefully insert a spoon under the pit and lift it out. 

spoon pit out avocado

To slice: Place half of the avocado on a cutting board with the cut side down. With a chef’s knife, cut it down the middle lengthwise. 

slice avocado

Carefully pull off the skin. 

pull skin from avocado

Place the fruit on the cutting board and slice it lengthwise or widthwise.

slice avocado

To dice: Hold half of an avocado with one hand, flesh side up. With a butter knife, cut the flesh into half-inch strips lengthwise. Cut the flesh into half-inch strips widthwise. 

dice avocado

Use a spoon to scoop out the diced fruit.

avocado

To mash: Scoop out the flesh from a pitted and diced avocado with a spoon and place it in a bowl. Then mash it with a fork. 

mashed avocado

avocado toast
Sliced avocado finds itself at home with tomato, fresh herbs, and cracked black pepper

I’d love to see your tips for prepping avocados! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.

Are you new to cooking? Tell me what skills you'd like to learn and your idea could be featured in an upcoming post!

Want more basic tips from Susan? Check out her previous post: Kitchen Basics: Strawberries.

All photos by Susan Pachikara.

Susan writes the blog Cardamom Kitchen to share her culinary experiences as an Indian-American rooted in the Midwest. 

susan cardamom kitchen

10 Comments Add a Comment
  • Missing_avatar

    Lisa Cohoe says: Great tips and great photos Susan.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • S2

    Susan_P says: Glad they're helpful, Lisa. Cheers, Susan

    about 1 year ago
  • Missing_avatar

    serendipity2425 says: I often use avocado now in place of mayonnaise. It's great mashed up in both tuna and salmon salad. Love it on lightly toasted whole grain bread with turkey, tomato, onion and baby spinach. The fat in avocados is the 'good' kind and much healthier than in other spreads/condiments.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • S2

    Susan_P says: Just love these ideas. Thank you for sharing them!

    about 1 year ago
  • Merita

    Kubeshini Moodley is a Whole Foods Market South Region team member.

    Kubeshini says: Hi abedarf. Thanks again for your feedback.I will certainly work with our produce team on this and get back to. As always, if any of our products do not meet up to your expectations, please let a team member know and we will be happy to make it right.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • Missing_avatar

    kvander115 says: After slicing the avocado in half, I just hit the seed with the sharp blade, twist slightly and it pops right out without any flesh attached :)

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • S2

    Susan_P says: Another great option. Thanks for mentioning it!

    about 1 year ago
  • Merita

    Kubeshini Moodley is a Whole Foods Market South Region team member.

    Kubeshini says: Love this trick!

    about 1 year ago
  • Missing_avatar

    abedarf says: Sounds great! I was wondering if the store could consider selling the organic avocados NOT in a 4-pack. The bag is not recyclable, and many people don't need 4 at once. Also we seem to have a problem with them being too stringy. Thanks!

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • Maddy-macau-robuchon

    Maddy is the senior editor of Whole Foods Market Cooking.

    Maddy, Editor says: Hi abedarf, Thanks for your feedback! Please visit your store's Customer Service department for stocking-related matters.

    about 1 year ago

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