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See also: Article on Avocado; Avocado Trivia



When making guacamole press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning. Or you may stir in a couple of tablespoons of sour cream to increase the acidity which will also slow the browning.

Avocados will not ripen on the tree. They must be picked from the tree to initiate ripening. The leaves supply a substance that prevents ripening. The best way to store avocados is to leave them on the tree; they will store for 7 months or more when left on the tree.

• Storage below 40 degrees F or above 70 degrees F will cause rot.
• Some varieties will spoil below 50 degrees.
• Ripen at room temperature (60 - 70 degrees F), then store at 45 degrees F.

Avocados, grown in California and Florida, are available all year. Two general types, and a number of varieties of each, are grown. Depending upon type and variety, avocados vary greatly in shape, size, and color. Most tend to be pear-shaped, but some are almost spherical. Fruits weighing under 1/2 pound are most commonly available. Some have rough or leathery textured skin, while others have smooth skin. The skin color of most varieties is some shade of green, but certain varieties turn maroon, brown, or purplish-black as they ripen.

Despite this variation in appearance, avocados are of good eating quality when they are properly ripened, becoming slightly soft. This ripening process normally takes from 3 to 5 days at room temperature for the quite firm avocados usually found in food stores. Ripening can be slowed by refrigeration.

Look for: For immediate use, select slightly soft avocados which yield to gentle pressure on the skin. For use in a few days, buy firm fruits that do not yield to the squeeze test. Leave them at room temperature to ripen.
Irregular light-brown markings are sometimes found on the outside skin. These markings generally have no effect on the flesh of the avocado.

Avoid: Avocados with dark sunken spots in irregular patches or cracked or broken surfaces. These are signs of decay.

An extra tip: When preparing avocados, to avoid the browning of avocado flesh when exposed to air, immediately place the peeled fruit in lemon juice until ready for use.

Avocados are about 22% fat, with the average medium size avocado containing 300 calories and 30 grams of fat.

Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They're also cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas. This fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. - 5 a Day



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