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Avocados – how to peel and enjoy

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Monday, April 22, 2013

It’s California avocado season! In addition to being highly nutritious, avocados score an A plus for cooking versatility in my book.

Did you know 1/5 of an avocado (or about 2 tbsp.) has only 50 calories? Avocados can be used as a substitute that kicks up flavor, boosts nutrition and saves calories. For example:

  • Use in place of mayo on sandwiches (2 tbsp. mayo = 109 calories)
  • Spread on a bagel or toast with a little sea salt instead of butter (2 tbsp. butter = 204 calories)
  • Add on a burger instead of a slice of cheese (1 slice cheddar cheese = 114 calories) 
  •  Top of a baked potato (2 tbsp. sour cream = 60 calories)

Most of us cut avocados by slicing it in half, twisting, removing the pit and scooping out the fruit (yes, it’s considered a fruit). Here’s a different way to get at that delicious avocado:

  1. Start with a washed, ripe avocado
  2. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the seed
  3. Rotate the avocado ¼ turn and cut lengthwise around the seed to make ¼ avocado segments 
  4. Separate the quarters and remove the seed
  5. Starting from the tip, peel each segment

 

Cutting and peeling this way helps you get the nutritional benefits of the dark green fruit closest to the peel where the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids lie.

As a dietitian, the avocado questions I’m asked most frequently are:

What’s the best way to tell if an avocado is ripe and ready for immediate use?
Gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm, yet will yield to gentle pressure.

How do I speed up the process of ripening avocados?
Place them in a plain brown paper bag and store at room temperature until ready to eat (usually two to five days). Including an apple or banana in the bag accelerates the process because these fruits give off natural ethylene gas, which will help ripen your avocados.

Tip: The more apples or bananas you add, the quicker your avocados will ripen!

I’m not going to use the whole avocado right of way. How do I store it?
Sprinkle all cut surfaces with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar, and cover with plastic wrap against the surface of the avocado to prevent discoloration.

How do you use avocados?
Here’s my current favorite: Mash fresh avocado. Spread on a water cracker, like Lunds and Byerly’s Olive Oil and Sea Salt Crackers. Add a few drops of Balsamic vinegar and a few grains of sea salt. A delicious snack!

If you have any other avocado or nutrition related questions, don’t hesitate to call me at 952-541-1414!

Tags: avocado

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