Hass avocados are the Mercedes of avocados – beautiful and consistently high-quality. But they’re also an affordable luxury, especially this week, as we’ve just started a special 5-for-$5 deal on large Hass avocados in our produce sections.
These avocados are highly recognizable because of their dark green, pebbly skin, sometimes with a deep purple or blackish tinge. But the color of the rind isn’t the best way to choose them, according to the experts at the Hass Avocado Board.
Instead, you should gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand, without using your fingertips (to avoid bruising the fruit), to determine if it will be ready when you are. (You don’t want the disappointment of bringing home a bunch of beautiful avocados and realizing they haven’t ripened enough for the guacamole you planned for supper!) Here’s their guide to choosing:
Firm avocados: If the avocado will not yield at all to gentle pressure, they’re not ready to eat. They will ripen at room temperature in up to four-five days, so buy these if you’re not planning to eat right away.
“Breaking” avocados: Avocado isn’t rock hard, but doesn’t quite yield to gentle pressure. These will be ready to eat in two or three days.
Ripe avocados: These yield to gentle pressure, but don’t feel too mushy or soft. You can eat these right away. Store them in the fridge to keep them from softening too much.
Hass avocados make great fresh guacamole, of course, but there’s so much else you can do with fresh avocados. Make a BLA sandwich – bacon, lettuce, and slices of creamy avocado. Puree them into soup or salad dressing. Make a chunky pico de gallo for fish or shrimp, or just to serve with chips.
Or try this recipe for an out-of-the ordinary vegetable dish, an interesting side dish idea for the holidays, from the Hass Avocado Board. (They have lots of other recipes, which you can find here. (hyperlink to http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-recipes)
Holiday Vegetable and Hass Avocado Saute
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ripe fresh Hass avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks (about 8 ounces)
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallot and thyme, sauté for 3 minutes.
Mix in zucchini, bell pepper and lemon peel, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat and cover, cooking for 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice with avocado. Add to skillet and gently mix. Cook for 2 minutes to allow flavors to blend.