With the consumer’s insatiable appetite for the perfect, creamy avocado, it’s a fruit that continues to grace our dinner tables from breakfast right through to dinner. Here are some great ideas of how you can eat avocados.
What is an Avocado?
Avocado is a fruit with a large seed (the pit) and leathery-like skin. Depending on the avocado variety and its ripeness, its skin can vary from bright green to purple to almost black. Its shape also varies and may be pear-like, egg-shaped or spherical.
Avocados are known to be high in fat, but they are monounsaturated fats, healthy fats that help lower bad cholesterol, as long as you eat them in moderation.
The high nutritional value and concentration of fat make avocados a commonly used food in weight management and healthy diets. It has some widely known health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and heart disease.
The estimated total world production for avocados in 2020 was 8,059,359 metric tonnes. Mexico accounts for about 30% of worldwide production, with about 80% exported to the United States.
You may be surprised that Australia also has a large avocado industry, with 70 varieties grown throughout the country.
These include the Hass avocado, Shepards, Gem and Sir Prize avocados which have been used for our avocado salad recipes. We couldn’t believe it when we learnt that the Sir Prize avocados don’t turn brown!
We actually tested that theory and left half an avocado out for half a day, and it stayed the yellow-green.
Across the world, there are over 500 varieties of avocado. Which type of avocado guacs your world?
Is Avocado a Fruit or Vegetable?
A common question asks whether an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable. Avocados are actually fruits. In fact, they are single-seeded berries.
Most people may mistakenly believe they are a vegetable because avocados are usually eaten like a vegetable – appearing in savoury dishes more often than sweet.
How to Cut Avocado?
There are several ways to cut avocado, but the most common way is to cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, slice and scoop, peel and then chop or slice, or simply scoop.
To do this, cut into the avocado lengthwise with its skin still intact. Once you hit the pit with the knife, rotate the blade around the entire pit until the cut joins.
You can place on a cutting board and rotate the blade around the avocado, or if you’re confident enough, hold the knife still and rotate the avocado in your hand.
Once cut, gently twist the two avocado halves in the opposite direction. The two sides should separate from each other quite easily. The pit will still be on one side of the avocado.
Holding the knife in one hand and the avocado half with the pit in the other, gently slap the knife into the avocado seed so that the pit is embedded in the blade of the knife.
Please take careful aim. You can use a kitchen towel to hold the avocado for protection if that makes you more comfortable.
Then gently twist the pit with the knife until it loosens. It should pop right out, still embedded in the blade of the knife.
Remove the seed and discard.
Now, you can either peel and slice the avocado, dice in the avocado peel with a paring knife and then scoop out with a large spoon, or scoop out the entire half to mash. It all depends on your recipe and what you’re using it for.
What Do Avocados Taste Like?
Flavour: A ripe avocado has a mild earthy buttery taste. Because of their natural richness, they may have a slightly sweet taste on your palate.
Texture: A ripe avocado is creamy, soft, smooth and oily. Depending on the variety, this changes slightly from type to type, but generally, they are of such description.
What Goes Well with Avocado?
Fruit and Vegetables
Artichoke, celeriac, coconut, cucumber, edamame, endive, grapefruit, jicama, kiwi, lettuce, mango, persimmon, pomelo, radish, spinach, strawberries.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Coriander, dill, feta cheese, goat’s cheese, hazelnuts, mint, nutmeg.
Protein and Other
Bacon, bulgur, chicken, chocolate, crab, egg, tuna.
How to Use Avocados in Salads and Side Dishes?
Due to the nature of avocados and their health benefits, avocados are used in a diverse range of cuisines and dishes. There are avocado recipes for a plethora of popular dishes such as guacamoles, smoothies, salsas, avocado toasts, ice creams, soups, breads, and of course, salads.
Avocados are a popular ingredient for salads and side dishes as their muted flavour and buttery texture lend themselves perfectly to highlight flavours and feature creamy texture.
For flavour, they match perfectly well with something tart like tomatoes as in this Tomato Avocado Salad or golden kiwi in this Prawn and Avocado Salad with Golden Kiwi.
They also match well with something sweeter like mangos, as in this Mango Avocado Salad with Crispy Chorizo or Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa.
From a textural point of view, avocados provide creaminess to salads, as in this Yellow Nectarine Salad Platter with Halloumi or Cilantro Chimichurri Prawn Salad or are used to bulk them up as in this Chickpea Avocado Salad.
Whether in salads or side dishes, avocados can be used cubed, sliced, mashed, used in halves or pureed.
We often puree avocado for dressings as avocado makes a great vegan substitute for creamy sauces such as mayonnaise and sour cream.
Their versatility and health benefits make it easy to incorporate them into many delicious side dishes and salad recipes, so you see why we love them!
Salads and Side Dishes with Avocado
Succulent prawns marinated in a punchy gin and lime marinade and balanced by creamy avocados, ruby grapefruit, peppery radishes and fresh lamb’s lettuce. This grilled prawn salad recipe is calling for you all summer long.
Encrust the humble avocado with nutty black sesame seeds as you serve it up with cucumber, exposed pea pods and some greens. Accompanied by a delicious raspberry walnut dressing, this salad is easy to make over and over again.
Red Beet Eggs Salad and Smashed Avocado
Are you ready to elicit more “wow” moments at your dinner table? Serve up this colourful and vibrant red beet eggs salad on a bed of peppery watercress and edible flowers topped with smashed avocado.
Frequently Asked Questions
The avocado is grown in tropical and Mediterranean climates where the weather is warm and sub humid all year round. In these conditions, the avocado season is year round.
In other regions, such as here in Australia, most avocado varieties are available from late summer to early autumn. You’ll notice that avocados are usually available all year round but the variety stocked may differ.
Commercially, the fruits are picked while immature and ripened after harvesting, much like a banana.
The easiest way to pick an avocado is by pressing the skin. To avoid bruising the avocado, press the top of the avocado near the pointier end.
A ripe avocado that is ready to eat should have some give and feel soft when you press down. If it’s very soft, then it’s likely overripe or bruised.
If the avocado is hard or has no yield, it’s likely unripe and is not ready to eat.
A ripe uncut avocado, when left out at room temperature, should be eaten on the day or, at most, the next. If placed in the fridge uncut, then it should last another few days.
A hard, unripened uncut avocado can last in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It will slowly ripen in the fridge until ready to eat. Check on it every few days to ensure its readiness.
If you’ve cut an avocado and would like it to last a little longer, you can add a little lemon juice to it. This method is good for avocado that you want to mash as the avocado doesn’t stay firm for very long – up to a day.
Another method to keep your half-cut avocados fresh is placing them with some cut onion in an airtight container. This method can help your avocado stay fresh and firm for up to 5 days.
These methods will help avoid oxidisation – the term for when it turns brown. Turning brown doesn’t mean it’s gone bad, though, it’s safe to eat but just a little unpleasant to look at. Can you imagine brown avocado in a salad?
More Ingredient Pairing Ideas:
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