Our love for avocado is unconditional — the real deal — but there’s nothing better than opening the perfect one. There are so many different avocado varieties, and some work better for certain applications than others. We’re sharing a short but essential guide from the pros behind NYC’s very own avocado bar, Avocaderia. Their new cookbook, available here, is ripe with creative uses for our favorite fruit. Snag a simple breakfast recipe here, then expand your avo-education below…
How To Buy Avocados:Avocados ripen off the tree, so buy them a little unripe and firm to the touch, unless you plan to eat them same day. Check ripeness by touch: Press down slightly on the stem — there should be slight resistance — and if the stem comes off, the avocado is overripe. Another method: Gently squeeze the avocado to see if there’s a bit of give without being mushy. A ready-to-eat avocado will be nearly all black rather than green, and it’ll have a slightly sweet smell. An underripe avocado won’t have any smell at all. Want perfect avocados every day of the week? Buy them at different stages of ripeness — ripe and soft for today or tomorrow, and green and firm for the rest of the week.
How To Store And Ripen Avocados:Store whole avocados at room temperature if they still need ripening, or refrigerate them if you need to slow ripening. Want to speed up the process? Ripe bananas are your answer. Just lay the bananas next to unripe avocados in a warm environment and your unripe avocado worries will drift away. In even more of a rush? Wrap a banana and avocado together in a sheet of newspaper or place them in a paper bag, which traps the ethylene gas released by the fruit, resulting in faster ripening.
Top Avocado Varieties:
HASS | At Avocaderia, we favor this creamy, nutty avocado, which makes up ninety-five percent of the market. Unless otherwise specified in the recipe, the avocados called for in our cookbook are medium sized (weighing about 8 ounces) and yield one cup of avocado flesh.
Size: 5 to 12 ounces
Season: in Michoacán, Mexico, from August to April; in California from April to September
Distinguishing feature: skin color changes during ripening from green to purplish-black
PINKERTON | This avocado can be even fuller in flavor than Hass avocados. It has a shorter growing season, so be on the lookout for Pinkertons in the spring.
Size: 8 to 18 ounces
Distinguishing feature: small seed with super-creamy, pale green flesh
FUERTE | This variety is similar in size and shape to Hass avocados, but they are at their peak in the fall.
Size: 5 to 14 ounces
Season: late fall through spring
Distinguishing feature: smooth, thin green skin
REED | This creamy, environmentally friendly variety requires less water to grow and produces more fruit than the Hass avocado.
Size: 8 to 18 ounces
Season: summer and early fall
Distinguishing feature: thick green skin with slight pebbling
ZUTANO | This pale green–fleshed avocado has an almost lemon flavor and light, silky texture as a result of its lower fat content.
Size: 6 to 14 ounces
Season: September through early winter
Distinguishing feature: shiny, yellow-green skin
Grab a gorgeous avocado-infused granola recipe from the new Avocaderia cookbook here.