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In Season: Avocados

The Basics

Avocados are brimming with good-for-you monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to healthier hearts and trimmer waistlines. Hass avocados (shown here), with their thick, pebbly skin and buttery flesh, are the most popular variety—they account for about 90 percent of all avocados sold in the United States. You may see other types with thin, smooth, green skin, such as Fuerte or Bacon; they have a firmer, less creamy flesh that is best suited to slicing for salads or sandwiches rather than to making guacamole.

Buying and Storing

If you want to use an avocado immediately, buy one that is already ripe; it should give when very gently pressed. If you won’t be using an avocado for a few days, pick a firm one -- it will continue to soften and ripen on your countertop. (To speed up the process, place it in a paper bag with an apple or banana.) Once ripe, an avocado will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days.

To Use

To pit an avocado, slice it in half lengthwise and twist apart. With the blade of a sharp knife, carefully but firmly hit the pit to wedge the blade in the center, then gently wiggle to release the pit from the flesh. With a kitchen towel, remove the pit from the blade. To make perfect slices, halve and pit an avocado, then slice completely through the skin and peel the skin off each slice. Keep slices in a bowl of ice water for up to an hour to prevent browning before serving.

Recipes

Avocado-Banana Smoothie
Avocado Citrus Salad
Chicken Salad With Avocado Dressing
Avocado Dressing
Halibut with Avocado-Pineapple Salsa
Classic Guacamole
Chunky Avocado and Feta Dip
Avocado and White Bean Dip

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