How to Choose and Cut an Avocado

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 7, 2009

how-to-choose-and-cut-an-avocado

From the “World’s Healthiest Foods” website, “Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol…Avocados are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. One cup of avocado has 23% of the Daily Value for folate, a nutrient important for heart health. Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Avocados are also a good source of potassium: they are higher in potassium than a medium banana.”

Let’s get down to it!

1. How to Select: A little squish when you give it a gentle squeeze.  A little brown coloring.  No cracks and no obviously brown spots or dents.  Avocados can be stored at room temp or in the fridge.  If you’d like the avocado to ripen faster, place it in a brown paper bag in a warm spot in your house.  (Do not expect a HARD avocado to ripen too quickly, even in the bag!)

2. How to Cut: As indicated below…

Place knife next to the knot at the top and slice around the avocado lengthwise.

Around the bottom and back up to the knot, all in one smooth cut.

avocados3

Twist the avocado, separating the flesh from the seed.

This is what you are left with. 2 avocado halves.  Now to get that pesky seed out!

Use a spoon and run it along the edges of the seed to loosen it from the flesh.  If the flesh is still hard, you might try using a grapefruit spoon with the pronged ends.

Scoop out the seed.  If you are feeling adventurous and live in a warm climate, by all means plant it!

Here is where 2 things can happen.  I will show you the “guacamole” way here.  But perhaps you’d like slices or chunks to put on a salad or use in a dish.  At this point, you can run your knife through the flesh to make slices or chunks.  Then you can scoop out with a spoon as shown and the slices/chunks will be released from the avocado skin and are ready to serve.

For guacamole, run the spoon all around the edges to scoop out the flesh.

Scrape out all the green that was left behind from the initial scooping!

Place flesh in bowl to prepare guacamole.

Mash flesh with a fork.  If the flesh is still tough, keep mashing.  I have been able to get decent guac from even hard avocados.  Consider it your arm workout for the day :)

Once mashed to your desired consistency, add lemon juice, garlic powder (better yet, fresh garlic!), ground cumin, salt and pepper.  Other mix in ideas would be sour cream, fresh tomatoes or diced tomatos, green chiles.  Whatever suits your fancy!

Spread over bagel with melted cheese and serve with piece of fruit.  A perfect light lunch!

Serve with chips or crackers.  Add a dollop to a “southwest salad,” or use inside of a “california wrap.”

Tips: Adding a little lemon juice will keep the avocado from browning.  If you wish to freeze avocado/guacamole, be sure to use plastic wrap directly on the guacamole.  Use the wrap to press out any air or bubbles, as these will cause browning, even in the freezer.  (I speak from first hand experience on that one!)  When thawed, the consistency is a bit different that the original consistency.  Mixing in a little sour cream seems to help with that problem!

What is your favorite way to eat an avocado?  Or favorite add in to guacamole?  Got any other avocado tips for us!!??!!

See more $5 Dinners Cooking Tutorials here

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie April 7, 2009 at 8:46 am

Did I miss what to do with a whole chicken?

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kristin April 7, 2009 at 9:22 am

That’s just exactly how I cut and scoop an avocado. They are so expensive here in central California. My dear husband and I even tried growing our own avocado tree. Two poor trees burnt to a cinder in our backyard before we realized it’s just too hot here! I love putting avocados on everything…even nachos when we have nacho night!

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gourmetmomma April 7, 2009 at 9:33 am

Erin, I discovered this quite by accident. You can actually freeze a ripe avocado in it’s skin! You need to cut and mash it before it thaws completely, and it won’t last long before it starts turning brown (even with lime or lemon juice). But, if you are in a hurry to save some over ripe avocado’s, it’s better than throwing them out.

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Jessica April 7, 2009 at 9:58 am

My husband has a fancy (to me) way of rolling the avocado whole, on the counter, to kinda mush it up before opening it. he then pulls the stem out and squeezes the mushed avocado out! It doesn’t work too well for me, but it’s a pretty good way of doing it.
We fed our baby avocado for his first food. I freeze cubes of it in ice trays and then put them into a plastic bag. I’ve never had much problem with it browning. We just pop them into the microwave to defrost, and it works great!
I love your tutorials on how to use veggies and fruits!

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Jillian April 7, 2009 at 10:01 am

As I find avocado an expensive item, I “stretch” my guac using a few tablespoons of light mayo that I get at Aldi. It keeps the creamy taste (not as tart as sour cream), and people often rave about it. It’s my little secret, but now I’m sharing. Don’t tell my family though…they believe that I’m weird because they all like Miracle Whip over mayo, and they’d be quite insulted to find out they’ve been eating mayo for awhile now. ha ha ha.

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Jodi April 7, 2009 at 11:35 am

another way of getting out the seed is to just use a knife instead of the spoon. you just hit the seed with the sharp part of the knife (not the tip), twist it a little and it comes right out.

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Emily April 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Another great way to keep leftover guac or mashed avocado from browning is to save the seed after you take it out and then put the seed in the bowl with the leftover guac before you put it in the fridge. It naturally keeps it from getting brown. Also, if you are going to have guac sitting out for a while, like for a party, you can just put the seed in the bowl with the guac and it will keep it looking fresh. Just tell people to scoop around the seed! :)

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Becky April 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I do the same trick that Jodi does to get the seed out. But I do everything the same as you have listed before.

Avocado was one of my son’s first foods! You can cut it out and fork mash it and feed the baby! To keep the rest, I sliced it, sprinkled some lemon juice on it (to keep it from browning too much) and froze it. Then, when it was time to eat again, I would heat it up in the microwave and fork mash and serve! It’s also great mixed with bananas and sweet potatoes if you are looking to make some of your own baby food. Even as expensive as avocados can be (check Aldi for cheaper ones!) it streched a long ways as a baby food.

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Liz @ Frugally Blonde April 7, 2009 at 4:24 pm

This was very timely for me. I just bought an avocado to feed my 6 month old, and I wasn’t sure how to store it. Thanks!

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Christina April 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm

I agree with Emily – just leave the avocado pit in the guac and it tricks the avocado into staying green! :-)

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emily April 7, 2009 at 9:16 pm

I like to make guacamole using finely diced onion and tomato. Just a handful, seems to add some interest. :)

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Cheryl April 7, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I just made a new dish with avocado, my husband loves it and I try to find new ways to use it. This just came to me one day in the grocery as I passed both avocados and tomatoes and did not feel like making guacamole.

I bought a SLIGHTLY firmer avocado than I would normally choose for this dish:

after removing the pit (I use the spoon method-it’s safer)

I scooped the flesh pretty much intact from the skin and cubed it up-I put it into a med. size bowl and put a couple generous tbsp’s of balsamic vinegar ital. dressing over the cubed avocado (the vinegar acts like the lime or lemon to deter browning and also acts as one of the “sauce” ingredients) then I sliced into rounds and then again into half’s a seedless english cucumber, diced up a couple ripe roma tomatoes and added a can of sliced black olives (drained) and then a couple of generous tbsp’s of light ranch dressing, I gently tossed the whole thing and Voila-it was a perfect side dish to grilled chicken. We had a nice springy day last week and I served this along side some brown rice I seasoned very simply with chili powder and butter (smart balance) it was a great meal and this is a great dish!

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Heather April 7, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I’m with Jodi, after I cut it open, I use the knife to remove the pit. Make sure you give it a good thwack and twist…sometimes they stick a little.

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Chez April 8, 2009 at 10:53 am

To make guacamole, we mix 2 parts avocado to 1 part salsa and add a bit of lime juice and garlic salt. It’s easy & delish!

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Monika April 8, 2009 at 12:16 pm

A tasty combo that I enjoy is mashing a whole avocado with about 2 Tbsp of Cacao powder (not cocoa powder) and a tsp or so of fresh, raw, organic honey. It’s actually a healthy alternative to Chocolate pudding. Since the avocado doesn’t quite reach the same consistency as pudding when I use a fork to mash it a hand-held mixer might do the trick better. But it’s very creamy and the honey adds just enough sweetness so that kids will enjoy it (and adults!). You can find Cacao powder at most natural/whole foods stores, or online at vegetarian/vegan food store sites.

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Erin from Long Island April 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I love, Love, LOVE avocados! They are often mixed with mayo and used as a sandwich spread. They are especially good with bacon, but I have had it with turkey, ham, salami, and corned beef and been a very happy girl = )

Usually, mine are so ripe when I use them, I just pop off the little piece of stem and peel them, then mash into a bowl and remove the pit. I like them extra soft since I usually put them on a sandwich

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Brianne Hoag April 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm

my favorite add-in for guacamole is gorgonzola cheese. a little bit of an expensive splurge, but soooo good mixed in with the guacamole.

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Susan April 8, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Yum! This post made me want to run out and get avocados.

I also use the knife method to get the pit out (hit the pit with the knife and then twist and tap on the edge of the trashcan to get it off the knife). I worked at a deli outside the Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming) while in college and they taught us this method because we had multiple bus tours stop in each day and we’d go through loads of avocados.

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Nola Rutledge April 9, 2009 at 10:15 am

Recipe – Avocado
If you will mix a little Peanut Butter and Honey in a mashed avocado, it makes a great spread for a sandwich.

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The Bossy Yankee April 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Erin: You can also put the pit in the container with the avocado to keep it from browning. I add it and lemon juice with my guacamole. Also if I only use half the avocado I keep the pit in the other half. Keeps it from turning brown.

Wanted to tell you Giant/Martins has a free healthy ideas magazine with fresh produce coupons and some other coupons.

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The Bossy Yankee April 10, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Oh and my guacamole recipe:

Avocado
Pico De Gallo
Cumin
Garlic
Fresh Lime

Mix together. Throw the pit in there. VERY GOOD!

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Michelle April 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Thank you, thank you!!

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Tricia April 15, 2009 at 6:48 am

We love avocado on just about everything, salads, sammies, quesadillas, chips, and even “plain” with a little salt and pepper.

I also use the knife “trick” to get the pit out. I try to feed them to my kids avocado as often as possible and usually just cut them into little cubes.

I don’t like the lemon juice for keeping it green, so I keep the pit and then put a little olive oil over the surface of the avocado/guac before sealing with plastic wrap and keeping in the fridge for a day or two. It doesn’t stay as green as with the juice, but we like the flavor and the added benefits of olive oil over lemon juice.

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Crista May 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I throw an avocado into my kids smoothies. But will start partaking more of them myself for the potassium since I can’t eat bananas anymore – I’m also mentioning it to my father-in-law as his doc said he needs to eat bananas for the potassium for leg cramps. Thanks for sharing!

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MySalutetoCute May 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Another good way to eat avacado as a dip is to add chopped cilantro, limon juice, diced onion (optional) and salt and pepper to taste. It’s sooooo good!

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Janine May 20, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Avocados are my 5 year old sons favorite food & has been for most of his life. Ask him what he wants for breakfast & he’ll say avocado on toast. I have a funny story, My husband is a fire-fighter on was on his two night shifts & I was telling him how I felt guilty that I had let our then three year son have avocado on toast for breakfast & then I had let him have it for dinner as well. My husband cracked up laughing saying that he had given it to him for lunch as well. Lol Lucky thing had had it for breakfast, lunch & dinner that day without letting on. We are lucky that where we live in North Queensland, Australia that I can get 4 avocados for AU$2, about $1.50 US.

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Kortnee May 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Another good way to is to dice or you can slice (or sandwiches if needed) it in the skin. Flip the skin inside out and the avocado will fall right out. It will be a lot easier to mash in the bowl that way. I also use the knife method to get out the pit, have for a long time. I love guak as i call it.

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Ellie June 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I enjoy snacking on avocados by just slicing them in half and removing the seed. Then I sprinkle red wine vinegar on them (let it pool in the center where the seed was) and then use freshly ground sea salt and cracked pepper. It makes a tasty “salad” or appetizer and I just eat scoop it with a spoon and eat it directly from the skin. Awesome taste and healthy!

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Orchid64 June 26, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Just a few notes about unripened and ripened avocados:

1. Once they are refrigerated, they will not ripen anymore. They will rot. So, never refrigerate an unripened avocado hoping to remove and allow it to ripen later.

2. Store unripened avocados near bananas. The gas given off by ripening bananas speeds up the ripening of the avocados.

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Lisa T March 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Super time saver!! From avocado to guacamole in minutes. Speed up prep by using one of those black grid cooling racks placed over a sturdy bowl. Wilton refers to these racks as Cooling Grids, and other companies make them as well. I first saw them sold at a party. Just place your halves pulp/yellow side face-down, and push the avocado from the peel side down until you have a bowl full of avocado chunks ready to stir-in your favorite guacamole ingredients. As you push down on the peel it will split up the sides as you flatten it. Just watch that you don’t allow any peel to fall into your bowl. This is something I saw on television, and it has allowed me to enjoy this healthy treat more often.

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Dianne August 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm

I can’t believe I haven’t seen this one yet – Avocado & bacon sandwich – My hubby says the good fat outweighs the bad fat!! lol

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