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Avocados - How To Pick And Prepare Avocado

Most of the avocados in the United States come from California, although they can be grown in any warm climate and can be grown as household plants. Should you decide you want to grow your own avocado tree, here are some simple steps to do it. Don't expect it to bear fruit, however, commercially grown avocados require grafting and it is harder to do with a houseplant.

There are 7 types of avocados:

  1. Bacon
  2. Fuerte
  3. Gwen
  4. Hass
  5. Pinkerton
  6. Reed
  7. Zutano

Wash an avocado seed immediately after opening the fruit. Suspend it with the widest end down and toothpicks on the side to hold it over a glass filled with water. The water should cover about an inch of the seed.

Place the glass in a warm location and out of direct sunlight. In about 2-6 weeks the seed will crack as roots and stem sprout. When a stem grows about half a foot [6 inches], cut it back to three inches.

When the roots are thick and the stem has leaves, plant it in a rich humus soil with half of the seed exposed. Plant in a terra cotta or clay pot - 10-1/2" in diameter or more. Water plant generously, but let it dry out between waterings. Soil should be moist but not saturated. If the leaves turn yellow, it has been overwatered and needs to dry out for a few days. The more sunlight your house plant gets, the better. When the stem grows to 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches. This will encourage growth of new shoots.

Yes, this is a lot of work and you probably will never see fruit from your efforts. You may just want to go to the store and buy one, but don't have a clue on what to look for.

When buying an avocado select one that yields to gentle pressure [if you press it, it doesn't sink permanently, but springs back up in that spot.] If you won't be using the avocado until later in the week, look for a firm, almost hard, fruit.

If you buy one that is too firm and you need to speed up the ripening, put the avocado in a paper [not plastic] bag with a fresh apple and let it rest in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.

Once you have a ripe avocado in hand, what do you do with it? They are great in salads, on a sandwich, as part of a dip or spread, or just alone.

Don't know how to dig into it? Avocados are really easy to handle when ripe, but don't wait until they are too ripe or else they can be a mess to open. The easiest way to get inside is with a sharp knife and start cutting from the top of the narrow head, down the side and up again. There is a big seed in the middle, don't even try to cut that. As you make your way around the seed with the knife, you can gently pull the halves of the avocado away from the seed.

From this point you can either slice it into further fractions, OR scoop it out with a spoon, OR dice it within the skin. If you slice it further, the skin should be easy to peel off with your fingers. If you are not going to eat it within the next half hour, squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice on it or it will turn a yucky brown colour.

Guacamole is probably one of the most famous recipes to make with avocados, but it can also be used in salads, ice cream, cold soups, or just a good fat snack. Avocados, despite the high fat content made of good fats, is actually a very good and nutritious food. 1 cup of cubed avocados has only 240 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and vitamins A, C, calcium and iron.

Avocado does not freeze well unless pureed. If you want to save the puree, it will keep up to 5 months. Be sure to select a fresh, ripe fruit without blemish. Use a food processor and puree it. Add lemon or lime juice [1 teaspoon per fruit] and stir in mixture. Use a plastic storage container and label it to make sure you remember the shelf life.