When I was in high school, my dad informed me that I needed a job and that it would be good for my character. Turns out pretty much the only jobs for high school students are in the food industry and, between the ages of 16 and 22, I put in WAY more than my fair share of food-service industry dues, all in the name of improving my character. And paying my rent.
I worked for 3 years at Kneader’s in Provo, Utah as a little sandwich slave. One of my favorite things to do there was to prep avocados. They’re so pretty and silky and yummy. Well, until you get the box of shriveled, black ones with fuzzy interiors.
Which brings me to my first point: how to pick a good avocado. Now…picking a pretty avocado can be hit and miss, especially when the selection isn’t that great in the first place. And nothing makes me MORE mad than to spend $1.69 on an avocado only to come home and find something gaggy under the black shell. So here are some things to look for when trying to find a good one:
1. Make sure it’s firm, but not hard. If it is hard and you don’t need to use it immediately, you can let it ripen on your counter for a few days.
2. Make sure the black skin is taut across the avocado. Wrinkly, sunken spots pretty much guarantee something gross is inside (although I know some people who would argue that avocados ALWAYS have something gross inside…).
3. Most grocery stores have small and large avocados at different prices. If you’re not getting good results with one size, try the other, as much as it may pain you to do so. It’s better to spend more money on a good avocado than to spend less on one that you’re going to throw away.
4. If all else fails and you NEED an avocado, but you can’t find a good one, see if you can find some pre-made guacamole at the store. Definitely a last resort, but hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
5. To keep your avocado from going brown after you’ve cut it, sprinkle a little lime or lemon juice on it. Also, if you’re only planning on using part of it, cut only what you need away from the pit; the avocado around the pit should stay relatively un-brown.
Okay, now that you have your pretty little avocado, how do you cut it up?
Take a small, sharp knife and cut down to the pit.
Carefully remove one of the halves so the pit remains in the other half. To remove pit, hold the avocado half securely and whack it with a large knife. Twist the knife gently and the pit should slip right out attached to the knife.
At this point you can just use a spoon to scoop the fruit out if you don’t care what it looks like, for guacamole for example. (Or spoon it out nicely if you do care what it looks like and cut it from there.)
If you are going to slice or dice, there are a few ways to do it and it seems like everyone has their own preference. One way is to slice the avocado in the skin. Take a small paring knife and make slices, or dices, through the fruit but not through the skin. Then take a spoon and gently slide it between the fruit and the skin to remove the pieces.
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