Cooking with Avocado Persea americana

Once you start eating Florida avocados you will soon grow to LOVE them!  They can be used in so many ways, in many dishes, in many meals. These avocados make great guacamole, but think outside of the guacamole box and try our avocados in breakfast egg dishes, sliced on a sandwich, in a burrito, and in the most wonderful ice cream.....e-v-e-r!

Selecting Fruit

Florida avocados can be sent to your door by contacting one of our growers, or at your local grocers. If your grocer does not have Florida avocados, be sure to ask for them by name!

Avocados are picked from the tree when they are mature, but not yet ripe, so unripe avocados will be quite hard. The fruits will slowly ripen after picking, either at the market, or in the relatively warm temperatures on your kitchen counter.

At the store, look for an even unblemished texture, uniformly hard or soft over its entire surface and those that feel heavy for their size.  Avoid any with bruises or soft spots. Do not keep your unripe avocado in the refrigerator, as it will NOT ripen properly once it has been chilled to the low temperatures of the fridge.

Ripening

To ripen an avocado, simply place it on the counter and wait about 3-5 days. You can speed up the ripening process by placing your avocado in a paper bag, include an apple or banana (which give off ethylene gas that hastens the ripening process), and close it. This should cut the ripening time to about 1-3 days. The added time it takes to ripen your avocado will mean that you will need to plan ahead to insure that the avocado is ripe for the day you plan to eat it!

Handling

To get to the avocado meat, slice it lengthwise through the peel, all the way around, and down to the pit. Then gently twist each half in opposite directions to separate the halves. The pit should remain in one side. Slip a large spoon in between the skin and the meat and scoop out the tender flesh, or peel and slice, chop, or mash! The flesh of the avocado will slowly darken when exposed to the air, so to prevent this sprinkle some lime or lemon juice to stop the color change. The darkening doesn’t affect the flavor. You can also slice off any darkened bits with a knife.

Storage

Remember, do NOT store an UNRIPE avocado in the refrigerator, as it will not ripen properly, if at all, after you remove it. Let the avocado ripen on the counter first, either leave it whole, or cut it, sprinkle the cut sides with lime juice, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and THEN store it in the refrigerator. It should last about 5-7 days.

Florida avocados can also be frozen for about 3-6 months.  Freeze them as a puree rather than in slices, as the texture will change in the freezing process. The flavor will not change. To keep the pulp from darkening, stir in a few drops of lemon juice.

Counts and Weights

An average size Florida avocado yields approximately 2½ cups chopped fruit.

1 lb. fresh avocado pulp = 2 1/2 cup chopped = 1 1/2 cups pureed

Nutrition

Florida avocados are lower in calories and fat than other varieties of avocados, and are rich in vitamin A and potassium. However, all avocados are one of the highest sources of fat in the fruit and vegetable group, BUT.. it is the healthy, monounsaturated fat.

One quarter cup of a Florida avocado (approx. ¼ lb, pureed) contains:

69 calories

6 grams fat

1.3 grams protein

5 grams carbohydrate

200 milligrams potassium

3 grams fiber

Source: USDA NDB Number: 09039

Recipes

Most of us are familiar with using avocados in our guacamole recipes, but there’s a whole other world out there in which the avocado shines!

 

Here are just a few ideas to try with Florida avocados:

  • salads,

  • sushi,

  • on toast sprinkled with salt and pepper,

  • mixed with rice as a side dish,

  • sliced in half and filled with tuna, shrimp or chicken.

  • combined with eggs in scrambled eggs, tortillas or omelet’s.

 

Avocados also are delicious in sweet recipes such as

  • milkshakes,

  • added into ice creams,

  • fruit salads,

  • just sprinkled with sugar or

  • mixed with milk and sugar!

 

Generally, avocado is served raw, because heating can cause the avocados to become inedible.

Below are a few recipes to try with your Florida avocados!

 

Krome Guacamole*

2 cups avocado, diced

3 teaspoons lime juice

½ oz. blue cheese

3 squirts Tabasco sauce, or salsa, to taste

½ tsp salt

Make a paste of blue cheese, seasoning, and a small amount of the avocado. Add the diced avocado to the paste mixture, mashing with a fork. Serve as a dip for chips, as a sandwich filling, or as a salad dressing.

*Original recipe from William Krome, Homestead, Florida.

Chilled Avocado Soup

2 large green peppers

2 green onions

2 large ripe avocados

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

2½ cups low fat milk

4 tablespoons plain low fat yogurt

dash paprika

Mince peppers and onions and put in blender. Add peeled avocado pulp. Add lime juice and salt and blend. Very slowly add milk and blend. Chill. Serve with a tablespoon of yogurt on top and with a dash of paprika for color. Serves 4.

Avocado Ice Cream

(Makes 1/4 gallon)

  • 3 avocados (2 cups)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 1arge can sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 cups whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Whip avocado pulp, lime juice and sugar in blender or food processor. Pour the avocado mixture into the ice cream maker and add the whipping cream, and the condensed milk. Freeze and churn until ready.

© 2020 by Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida - Photo Credits: Ian Maguire & Shaun Wright