Flavorful and loaded with nutrients, the avocado is one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. Also known as an “alligator pear,” what sets it apart from other tropical fruits is not just its unique taste, but also its versatility inside and outside the kitchen – you can add it to salads, smoothies, or in dips like guacamole. You can even use it as a beauty product.
(Related: 28 Paleo Ways to Eat Avocados)
The avocado contains a good amount of monounsaturated fats that your body can easily burn for energy. Yet it is very low in sugar, making it one of the safest fruits to eat, especially if you’re suffering from insulin resistance-related health conditions. And did you know that the avocado can have higher potassium content than a banana?
There’s no denying that avocados should be a staple in your shopping list, but make sure to use them wisely, so they will not go to waste. Here are three simple tips to ensure that each avocado you buy is well worth your money.
Peel Your Avocados the Right Way to Get More Nutrients
There are many ways to skin an avocado, but if you want to get all the nutrients available from the fruit, then you must peel it properly.
In 2010, the California Avocado Commission issued “avocado peeling” guidelines that allow you to get the most out of the fruit (California is actually the number one grower of avocados in the country, growing 90 percent of avocados in the U.S.) Here’s what to do:
1. Cut the avocado lengthwise, around the seed.
2. Separate the halves from the seed by holding each half and twisting them in the opposite directions.
3. Remove the seed.
4. Cut each half lengthwise.
5. Use your thumb and index finger to peel the skin off each piece.
By peeling the avocado this way, you’re able to get the green flesh that’s closest to the peel – that’s where the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids is.
Use Avocado in Place of Butter
Does your favorite recipe call for butter, but you forgot to buy some during your last grocery run? No worries – avocados can save the day. Due to their high fat content, avocados are a wonderful substitute for foods or ingredients that are high in saturated fat. Not only can they increase your food’s nutritional value, but they can also help you avoid unhealthy ingredients like trans fats in some products such as margarine or shortening.
Avocados are also ideal for people who suffer from lactose intolerance and can’t use dairy products like milk, butter, or cream when cooking.
How to Keep Your Avocados from Turning Brown
In instances where you are only going to use half of an avocado, you can save the other half for later. However, an avocado’s flesh turns brown once cut because of an enzyme that causes oxidation. You can scrape off the browned layer, but here’s a much simpler trick to prevent browning: simply leave the pit/seed in the half you’re not using.
What if you’ve scooped the avocado out for guacamole? No worries – simply transfer the flesh to an airtight container and store the pit along with it. Storing avocado halves in a sealable plastic bag (suck out as much air as possible) also works.
Here are other tips that prevent your avocado from turning brown easily:
- Paint a thin layer of olive oil on the exposed skin to create a natural barrier against oxidation.
- Sprinkle lemon juice on the avocado halves.
- Place large onion chunks with the avocado. Make sure the avocado “faces up” so the onion’s strong scent and flavor will not ruin the avocado’s sweetness.
Indeed, avocados are a superfood that you should not miss out on. Remember these useful tips the next time you add this fruit to your grocery cart.