You’ve seen them in the news, on your social media feeds, and on the menu of all your favourite brunch joints – the avocado is without a doubt having a very big moment right now. And who’s complaining? With a velvety smooth texture, rich nutty flavour, and health benefits off the charts, we’re enjoying this little green fruit’s moment in the spotlight just as much as it is. So to celebrate the marvel that is the avocado, we thought we’d share 8 of our most essential (not to mention completely awesome) avocado hacks to help you enjoy these fruits even more than you already do – and that’s saying a lot!
PLACE IT IN A BAG
Every avocado lover knows how frustrating it is waiting weeks for your newly-purchased avocado to ripen (okay, “weeks” may be a bit of an exaggeration). But there’s a surprisingly simple way to speed up the ripening process – by placing your avocado in a brown paper bag. The bag works by trapping the avocado’s ethylene gas, which then triggers and accelerates its ripening. Give it 24 to 48 hours and your avocado should be good and ready. Placing a ripe banana or apple in the bag alongside the avocado will help it ripen even faster, as the avocado is then exposed to twice the amount of ethylene gas. The more gas, the merrier!
BAKE IT IN THE OVEN
We’ve all been there – we get a craving for some homemade guacamole, but all we have are rock hard avocados. Well, no need to give up on your guac dreams just yet. Baking avocados in the oven can speed up the ripening process a huge amount. Simply wrap your avocado in tinfoil and bake in a 300° oven. The heat from the oven concentrates the avocado’s ethylene gas, which then ripens up the avocado real quick. The important thing to remember with this method is to check on your avocado every 10 minutes. Depending on the avocado, it may be ready in 10 minutes, or up to an hour. A pretty genius way to outsmart mother nature, don’t you think?
POP IT IN THE FRIDGE
It’s one thing to want to speed up the ripening process of your avocado, but what about slowing it down? If by some strange turn of fate the grocery store has nothing but perfectly ripe avocados, but you don’t need to use them for a couple of days, there’s a super simple way to preserve them – just stick ‘em in the fridge! Refrigeration halts (or more precisely, dramatically slows down) the fruit’s ripening process. That way, you can store your ripe avocados for up to a week in the fridge and still be able to use them to make perfectly good guacamole at your leisure.
USE IT AS A SUBSTITUTE
Avocado brownies, anyone? This one may sound a little strange at first, but trust us, it’s genius. The avocado’s smooth and buttery texture makes it a perfect substitute for the butter and oil used to make any of your favourite baked goods. The best part is, they’re loaded with nutrients and healthy fats, so you can actually feel good about eating one too many cookies! Unlike butter and oil that contain high amounts of the ‘bad’ fat (saturated fat), avocados are packed with the ‘good’ fat (unsaturated fat) that helps lower cholesterol and fights against heart disease. You know what they say – an avocado cookie a day keeps the doctor away!
PULL OUT THE STEM
This hack is a real game-changer, but it may require you to be a bit sneaky. When sorting through the pile of avocados at the grocery store, most of us tend to squeeze the fruit to check for ripeness. Well, there’s a much more reliable (and fun!) way to do this. If you pull out the stem of the avocado, you can tell instantly just by looking at the colour of the skin whether the avocado’s good or bad. If the skin under the stem is yellow or green, it’s the perfect ripeness. If it’s brown, it’s gone bad. And if the stem doesn’t come off easily, it’s not ripe enough yet. A fool-proof method – but you may not want everyone in the grocery aisle to see you doing it…
SPRAY IT WITH A LEMON
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as cutting into a beautifully ripe, perfectly green, totally photo-worthy avocado. But you just know that in 20 minutes, it ain’t gonna look that pretty. Avocados are just about the worst fruits when it comes to browning, and that makes them a bit difficult to prepare in advance. But if you have some lemons handy, you’re in luck! The citric acid in lemons acts as a strong antioxidant that can halt the fruit’s browning process. Just spritz some lemon juice on the already-cut avocado, and you’ll be able to enjoy that gorgeous green for a whole lot longer. If you don’t have any lemons on hand, limes or apple cider vinegar will do the trick too.
USE IT IN A DISH
Not a morning person? This one’s for you. Save some time and skip the dishes by using your avocado as a bowl. Because the skin of an avocado (or ‘alligator pear’ as it’s nicknamed), is so thick and scaly, it can easily hold up its shape in the oven, which makes it perfect for lazy folk like us to take advantage of. Simply slice an avocado in half, remove the seed, crack an egg inside the two holes, bake in a 425° oven for 20 minutes, and voila – a super simple but incredibly delicious no-mess breakfast! Bonus points for getting creative with the toppings (think loaded baked potato style…).
FREEZE IT FOR LATER
Every avocado enthusiast knows that you simply can’t turn down a good sale on avocados. But just because you have a grocery bag full of nice and ripe avocados doesn’t mean that you need to whip up a vat of guacamole straight away. Freezing ripe avocados is a super effective way to preserve a large amount for a long time. Although you can freeze the avocado halves on their own, we suggest blending them with lemon juice and then freezing the pureed avocado in Tupperware containers or ice cube trays. So get stocking up on those cheap avocados now and you’ll be able to enjoy them throughout the year!