Monday, April 27, 2015

The Hass Avocado - How Hard Is This?

Has this ever happened to you?  You decide you're going to make some guacamole, so you head to the store to buy a few ripe avocados. You get to the display, fondle a few, pick out some soft ones, pay - and you're on your way. Then, you get home, start opening up those same avos, and find them pretty much disgusting on the inside, all bruised and mushy (but not in a good way); guacamole plan foiled.

You know why?  'Cause everyone else has been picking up those same damn avocados, squeezing them, deciding which ones they want, and then tossing the rest back onto the pile, as if they were baseballs. And that, as Martha My Dear won't tell you, is not a good thing.

Interestingly, they don't have that problem with fruits and other highly perishable stuff at the markets in Europe...
Bologna Market Self Explanatory
Because they tell you to keep your grubby little hands to yourself! Watch people the next time you're produce shopping, and see how they handle things. It's not in the best interest of the produce, that's for sure - and besides, most people have no idea why they're doing what they're doing to that tomato, or peach, or avocado - they just can't keep their hands off.

But back to avocados - and the reason I'm here - to show you how to buy an avocado, and always get a good one.  Now let me make the first disclaimer - I'm talking Hass avocados here, those Californian/Mexican avocados, the ones that turn purple/black when they're ripe, and are loaded with delicious, healthy fat and flavor. First discovered and grown by a California mailman, in my opinion much tastier than the big, green ones, which grow in more tropical climes.

Quick story - when I first moved to Santa Barbara, my friends and I would go to a fancy neighborhood, that at one time had some avocado orchards, but by then was basically just a bunch of mansions. Avocado trees were everywhere, and the fruit would be left to fall to the ground and rot.  In any event, we'd make the occasional avo run, and come back with bags full of them. Ahhh - the folly of youth.

Oh yeah - how to buy. The second disclaimer is - don't buy ripe Hass avocados here. I mean, they've already travelled thousands of miles, and more often than not, you'll simply be disappointed. Oh yeah, if you can get them at 3 for $1, go right ahead.  But even at my local grocery store, catering to a demographic that's not exactly the 1%, they're $1.50 to $2.00 each. You don't want to be throwing those suckers away. You're gonna have to plan ahead a bit - if you want ripe avocados for next weekend when you're watching the NY Rangers (because nothing says playoff hockey like guacamole and chips), buy them now (on Monday). And buy them like...
Unripe             Halfway Ripe             Ripe 
The one on the left. Green and hard, so even if 50 mooks have picked it up and played with it and squeezed it, it'll still be okay when it ripens. Leave it on your counter (screw the paper bag trick), in 2 days it'll look like the one in the middle, and in 3, 4 or 5 days, it'll look like the one on the right. If you pick up that one and squeeze it ever so gently, it'll have a slight give at the stem end - it's ready. Now, it can go into the fridge, in a plastic bag, and it will stay good for a week or more. When you cut it open, it'll look like this...
Perfectly Ripe Hass Avocado
All ready to be made into avocado toast guacamole. Significant Eater says I make her favorite guacamole, by the way. But sorry, you're not getting the recipe from me; all I'll say is that there are no more than 5 or 6 ingredients, including the beautiful avocado above. With not a bruise in sight.

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