Pop avocados into your shopping basket this March.
The most common types of avocado sold in Australia are Hass and Shepard avocados. Hass are oval-shaped with a distinctive, pebbly rough skin that turns purplish-black when ripe. Shepard avocados have smooth green skin and flesh that doesn’t turn brown when cut. Hass avocados grow almost all year round in Australia, while Shepard avocados have peak growth from February to April.
Choose avocados with unblemished skin. For immediate use, choose ones that yield to slight pressure and have a darker green or black skin. Alternatively, choose ones that are firm and brighter in colour and allow to ripen at home.
Unripe avocados can be stored at room temperature for 3–6 days, until soft. Once ripe, avocados will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, but will keep longer if refrigerated.
4 quick ways with avocado
For a quick, easy side ideal for grilled chicken or fish dishes, combine 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1 large chopped tomato, 1/2 chopped avocado, 12 chopped unsalted cashew nuts and 1/3 cup chopped parsley in a bowl. Top with lemon juice and season with cracked pepper to serve.
Make a healthy avocado spread instead of using butter or table spread. Place ½ large avocado, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 250g low-fat cottage cheese, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce, and 1/4 cup chopped coriander into a food processor. Blend until smooth.
To make guacamole, finely chop or mash 2 avocados. Add 1/2 finely diced Spanish onion, 1 finely-chopped fresh chilli, and lemon juice. Season with cracked pepper and mix well. Serve as a dip or add to nachos or Mexican chilli.
For a fresh summer salad, thinly slice 1 avocado and 1 large mango or a punnet of strawberries. Combine with spinach and rocket leaves, then top with a few roasted macadamia nuts and a little balsamic vinegar.
Did you know? 1/4 of an avocado contains 72µg of folate – 18% of your RDI during pregnancy.