How to Determine if an Avocado is Ripe

In the veggie aisle at the Rodriguez Market, elbows deep in avocados in search of the ripe one, the perfect sense between firm and soft, the bright green flesh that Mexican’s refer to as, poor man’s butter.

A man must have been standing by watching my ritual avocado act before approaching me and asking, “do you want to know the secret?”

The Technique:
He told me to pick the nub/stem off of the top of the avocado, if it’s green the avocado is ripe, if it’s brown you’ll find  brown flesh inside.

This avocado is ripe!
This avocado is ripe!

Ripening Technique:
A tip for speeding up the ripening process for under-ripe avocados:  Place the avocados in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple.  Within 24 hours they will be perfect for eating.
Ripe bananas and apples release a lot of ethylene, the hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit.

Prevention of Browning:
When the flesh of the avocado is exposed it tends to turn brown quickly.  This is due to an enzyme in the avocado which causes the fruit to brown when it comes in contact with oxygen.  To prevent browning try adding a fresh squeeze of lime or lemon juice.  Another way, is to immediately immerse cut avocados in ice-cold water for up to 4 hours or simply run them under cold water to preserve the green coloring.

Recipe:
Guacamole, the quintessential dish we all turn to when presented with avocados, never looks the same way twice.  Regional tastes and personal preferences abound, guacamole can take on many guises.  I enjoy changing up my guac yet, I typically turn to cilantro, onion, jalapeno and lime juice.  The following is a recipe for smooth not chunky guacamole from Zarela Martinez

Zarela’s Guacamole
You can watch Zarela make this recipe here

2 avocados, mashed
1 tomato, chopped
1/2-1 jalapeno (seeded or not)
1/2 white onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped to taste
Fresh oregano, chopped to taste
Juice from 1 lime
kosher salt

In a bowl mash the avocado until smooth.  Add the tomato, jalapeno, white onion, cilantro and oregano, mix until combined.  Before serving squeeze in the fresh lime juice and season with kosher salt.

How do you make your guacamole?

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