Fat is where it’s at baby! And there aren’t many plant-based options for healthy fat superior to the avocado. These days, avocado toast photos are ubiquitous on Instagram, and memes of the fast-aging fruit are always good for a laugh. Because we all get the punchline. You wait all week for that beautiful green ball to soften, only to wait one day too many and end up with a brown, bruised mushy disaster. But few things bring more joy than a perfectly sliced avocado, mound of guacamole, or salad bursting with glorious chunks of the green goddess that’s become synonymous with keto, low carb, paleo and vegan diets. This chick knows no boundaries! In this article, we teach you how (and why) to pick, eat and store avocados.
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Health Benefits of Avocado
Before we tell you how to eat and store avocados, we must first tell you WHY you need to eat them on the regular. And, if you’re eating a ketogenic diet, listen up! Several nutrients often lack while “going keto,” and many of them, including magnesium, potassium and folate can be found inside the amazing avocado (1).
- Avocados contain vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide healthy fat in the preferable form of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Folate-rich foods protect against colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical cancers.
- Folate also protects against depression.
- Maintains healthy cholesterol.
- Protects the eyes from harmful UV light, helping fight macular degeneration.
- Aids the absorption of other beneficial fat-soluble antioxidants (which protect against diseases).
- The body needs some dietary fat in moderation to help with absorption of nutrients (2).
According to AvocadoCalifornia.com, they contain nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients!
1/3 (50g) of a medium avocado:
- 80 calories
- 8 grams fat
- 1 gram protein
- 4 grams carbohydrates
- 3 grams fiber
While there are literally hundreds of types out there, in the U.S. we usually see two: California avocados (aka Haas) and Florida avocados.
The Floridas are distinguished by their larger size and smoother skin. They contain less fat, and therefore, aren’t quite as rich and creamy. However, they work well for recipes and salads requiring a sturdy slice or chop because they are firmer.
Haas tend to look dark green or even black, with pebbled skin. The inside is rich and creamy. Opt for this type when making guacamole and in baking.
Choosing the Right One
If you need yours right away…good luck! Stores rarely seem to have them perfectly ripe on the day you need them. Buy them five days in advance of when you need them. They’ll be rock hard, but that’s okay! You won’t risk bruising them on the way home, and you can store them at room temperature until you’re ready. If you need to speed up the process, place them in a brown paper bag with a banana to hasten the ripening process to just about three days. Avoid buying any with cracks and dents.
To know when they’re ready, gently press into the avocado and feel for a little give. Or, try removing the stem. If it doesn’t come off easily, leave it on — your avocado is not ripe yet. But if it flakes right off, look for a light green spot (3).
It’s best NOT to eat the brown parts on the flesh. According to Dave Asprey (our go-to expert on mold toxins), black or discolored spots, “contain mold toxins and histamine that will lower your brain function if not make you sick outright. Avocados are one of the few fruits where it is safe to cut out the discolored parts. (Most fruit is entirely contaminated when some of it is spoiled (4).”
If you only need to use half, use the half without the pit and keep the other side with the pit in tact. Squeeze the flesh with a little lemon juice or spritz with cooking spray and cover tightly with a wrap. Or, use one of our favorite gadgets, the Avo Saver. It’s like a little hammock for your fruit that keeps them pretty fresh when kept in the fridge. Grab one on Amazon.
If your avocados ripen but you’re not ready to use them yet, place them in the fridge whole. If they look a bit too ripe, peel, chop and place in a baggie into the freezer to use in smoothies.
Our Favorite Recipes
Learn how yummy avocado tastes grilled and filled with tangy tempeh.
Kinda like a vegan Tzatziki!
Our grilled romaine gives salad a whole new taste and texture and avocado ties it all together.
Use Haas for this rich, creamy, keto-friendly and vegan pudding.
Use those leftover frozen ripe chunks to the creamiest, dreamiset shake ever!
More Easy Uses:
- Blend it into homemade salad dressings to make them creamy. Try a blend of lemon juice, avocado, cilantro, garlic and avocado or olive oil.
- Mash avocado instead of mayonnaise in chicken or egg salads.
- Blend it for babies as a first-food.
- Bake with it mashed up instead of using butter.