Season: April begins the season for California avocados, when they’re at their peak of flavor and lowest price. Florida avocados are right behind them, beginning in the summer.
How to buy: A ripe avocado is just slightly pliant when gently pressed.
How to store: Avocados ripen at room temperature—faster if you put them in a closed paper bag to capture the ethylene gas (which promotes ripening) given off by the fruit. To prevent browning of a cut avocado, spread the surface with lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar. Refrigerate cut avocados in plastic wrap pressed directly onto the cut surface. When ready to eat, scrape off any discoloration; the flavor won’t be affected.
- To halve: Cut avocado in two lengthwise around its pit. Twist halves in opposite directions to separate them, and then pull apart.
- To pit: First, thrust the blade of a sharp paring knife into the pit. Then twist the knife gently to loosen the pit, and lift it out.
- To peel: Pull the skin off the flesh in strips with your fingers. When the fruit is very ripe, you can often remove the skin in one piece. You can also scoop the flesh out of the peel with a spoon.
Nutritional benefits: Yes, the fruit (it is in fact a fruit, if you were wondering) is high in fat, but it’s high in the beneficial kind—monounsaturated fat—that helps increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Lush California Hass packs a wallop of healthy monounsaturated fat, while a Florida avocado has less flavor and fat. Avocados are also packed with protein.¹
Green Breakfast Burrito
1½ Tbsp butter
4 beaten eggs
1½ c chopped fresh spinach
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, sliced
Tomato salsa or salsa verde
1. MELT butter in a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Stir in eggs and spinach; add salt and pepper.
2. COOK, stirring, until the eggs are softly scrambled, about 2 minutes.
3. WRAP the eggs in warm corn tortillas. Top with sliced avocado and tomato salsa or salsa verde.
NUTRITION (per serving) 361.6 cal, 15.9 g pro, 17.6 g carb, 5.6 g fiber, 1.9 g sugar, 26.7 g fat, 9.8 g sat fat, 329.4 mg sodium
4 very thin slices red onion, separated into rings
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ sm lemon)
¼ tsp salt
1. SOAK onion in small bowl of ice water to crisp. Peel oranges with knife, removing all of white pith. Cut crosswise into thin wheels.
2. PIT, peel, and slice avocados and put in medium bowl. Drain onion well and add to bowl along with oranges, olive oil, mint, lemon juice, and salt. Toss to coat.
NUTRITION (per serving) 286 cal, 3 g pro, 18 g carb, 9 g fiber, 25 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 153 mg sodium
4 oz rum (a mix of gold and silver is best)
¼ medium-ripe avocado
½ oz half-and-half
¼ oz fresh lemon or lime juice
2 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
1½ c ice cubes
Combine the ingredients and blend until smooth.
NUTRITION (per serving) 252.7 cal, 0.9 g pro, 17.7 g carb, 2.3 g fiber, 14.4 g sugar, 6.1 g fat, 1.2 g sat fat, 9.9 mg sodium
Brown Rice California Rolls
1 c short-grain brown rice
2 c water
3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
6 sheets nori
1 Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 18 slices
8 ounces imitation crab stick (surimi), cut into 6 equal portions
Reduced-sodium soy sauce
1. COMBINE the rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. COMBINE the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and stir into the rice. Let stand for 15 minutes.
3. PLACE a bamboo sushi mat on a work surface. Place a sheet of nori on the mat with a long side closest to you. With slightly damp hands, spread ½ c of the rice on the nori, leaving a 1″ border along the top edge. Arrange 3 avocado slices end to end in a horizontal line about 1½” from the edge closest to you. Top with ⅙ of the crab.
4. GRASP the edges of the nori and the mat closest to you. Fold the bottom over the filling and roll up, jelly roll–style, pressing down slightly with each quarter turn. Seal the roll with a few drops of water or grains of rice on the edge of the nori. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make six rolls.
5. TRANSFER the rolls to a cutting board. With a serrated knife dipped in hot water, cut each roll crosswise into six pieces.
6. SERVE with wasabi and soy on the side.
NUTRITION (per serving) 186.5 cal, 4.5 g pro, 32.6 g carb, 3.4 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4.2 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 242.4 mg sodium