Florida Produce: Avocado
The peak avocado season has already passed, but they are still around, especially if you live in the South Florida area. To me avocados are one of those commodities that you have to learn to love – like an acquired taste. But that is just my opinion!
Florida avocados have less than half the oil of other varieties produced in the country, which means they have less fat. They are mostly grown in Miami-Dade and Collier counties. Florida avocados are available from June through March, with peak months during July, August and September.
How to buy
Avocados should be heavy for their size, and slightly firm. Use them only when they are ripe, otherwise they are hard and completely tasteless. To determine ripeness, cradle the fruit in your hand and apply slight pressure; it should give slightly.
Tips for storage
Avocados are highly perishable. Unless you plan to use them right away, it is best to purchase them a little underripe. They can take two to three days to fully soften at room temperature. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator and plan on using them within three days. Make sure to completely cover exposed avocado flesh with plastic wrap; adding lemon or lime juice will help slow browning.
To safely remove pit, put the blade of a sharp knife into the pit, twist slightly, and it should come right out. If an avocado is not yet ripe and you need to use it right away, you can prick the skin and place it in the microwave for 40 to 70 seconds on high. This will soften the avocado enough to use. If the skin is brittle and hard to get off, try using a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin.
Flavors well with
Tomatoes, salads, bacon, sandwiches, seafood, citrus, cilantro
Help get rid of dry skin during those cold winter months by mashing up one half of an avocado and spreading it thickly on your face. Wait 20 minutes and wash it off with warm water. No more dry skin!
Here is a recipe that Chef Justin made that pretty much made me start liking avocados.
Avocado and Egg Salad
2 Florida avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
1 lemon, juiced
10 hard-cooked Florida eggs, peeled
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Lightly toss avocado cubes with lemon juice in a serving bowl. Chop 6 of the hard boiled eggs and add to avocado with onion. Add mayonnaise to avocado mixture and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the remaining eggs and use as garnish atop the salad. Sprinkle salad with paprika. Serve chilled with salad greens or as a sandwich filling.