On average, I consumed about an avocado a day over winter break. As far as addictions go, it was harmless, and it gave me a unique answer to the epidemic of “How was your break?” questions on campus. I ate avocados; that’s how it was.
When your (my) sleep schedule involves going to bed at 3:30 a.m. on a regular basis, meals take on a different rhythm. Breakfast doesn’t exist. You eat dinner several hours after waking up. The midnight snack becomes a necessity, and that’s the niche that avocados filled for me.
Avocados, unique as a fruit with a high content of healthful fatty acids, play a role in many popular dishes. Guacamole is the most standard avocado-based dish, and below is a quick recipe if you need it as a potluck dish or if you simply want to sit around in your pajamas and eat something other than soup out of a bowl with a spoon.
But first, a few common questions about avocados, and their answers:
1. How do I know if an avocado is ripe? The best way to check ripeness is to gently squeeze the avocado. It should not feel so soft that your fingers almost break the skin, but there should be noticeable give. Under-ripe avocados (as any non-rotten Weshop avocado will be) can be easily ripened in a couple of days when placed in a brown paper bag, preferably with another piece of fruit.
2. How can I store guacamole or a partially used avocado without it spoiling? Exposed to the air, avocado turns brown quickly. This does not necessarily indicate spoilage, but brown mushy fruit is rarely appealing. Lemon juice can help prevent the oxidation process, as can a tight tinfoil seal or a Ziploc bag. If possible, keep the pit attached to the leftovers you wish to store; this will slow the process as well.
3. How do I peel an avocado? You don’t. At least, not at first. Generally speaking, if you try to peel an avocado like an orange, you will end up with mushed green fruit full of your thumbprints. Yum. Instead, cut away from the pit as much as you wish to use. You can then use a spoon to scoop out the fruit.
4. Avocados are sort of bland by themselves. How do I go about preparing one without a lot of effort? My favorite way to eat an avocado is to slice it in half and make grooves in the flesh, leaving the skin intact. Then, pour on some combination of lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Add salt and pepper, and eat it with a spoon like a kiwi.
(Adapted from Ina Garten at foodnetwork.com)
1. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of each avocado and put the flesh in a bowl.
2. Add the lemon juice, jalapeño, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.
3. Use a knife to cut the avocado into chunks. Mix with the other ingredients.
4. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4 RIPE AVOCADOS
JUICE OF 1-2 LEMONS
1 JALEPEÑOs, SEEDED AND DICED
1 WHITE ONION, DICED SMALL
3 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
1 TSP. SALT
1 TSP. BLACK PEPPER
1 MEDIUM TOMATO, SEEDED AND DICED
1/8 CUP FRESH CILANTRO (OPTIONAL)