How to Tell if An Avocado is Ripe
Before you learn how to cut an avocado, it’s important to learn how to tell if your avocado is ripe. There are two ways to tell. First, take a look at the color. As an avocado ripens, its pebbly skin goes from being more green to being more black. If there are brown blemishes on that black skin, the avocado is a little over ripe. Check out the video below to see the different colors of the skin as an avocado ripens. The other way to tell if an avocado is ripe is to give it a gentle squeeze. If it is firm, it is not yet ready to eat. If it gives just a little, it’s perfect. Too soft and it is over ripe, but could still probably be used for guacamole.
How to Quickly Ripen an Avocado
If you can only find underripe avocados, you can speed up the ripening process a little by putting the avocado in a bag with either an apple or a banana (or both!). The ethylene gas emitted by the apple or banana is a ripening agent for the avocado. It can’t work a miracle in a couple of hours, but it can reduce the ripening time by a day or so.
How to Remove the Seed
The seed of an avocado is big and round and sits right in the center of the fruit. The first step in cutting up an avocado is to remove this seed. Start by slicing the avocado in half, running your knife around the seed in the center. Twist the two halves of avocado in opposite directions and the seed will remain in one of the halves. To remove the seed, take a sharp knife and whack it into the seed. If you have good knife skills and a confident nature, you can hold the avocado in your hand, as in the photo above. Otherwise, place the avocado half on the cutting board before you whack it with a knife. Once the knife is lodged in the seed, twist it and the seed will pop free.
How to Dice an Avocado
Unlike many other fruit and vegetables which you peel first, when you cut an avocado you leave the peel on. Without the peel, the flesh of an avocado is too slippery to hold on to. So, with a sharp knife, make cross hatch slices into one half of the avocado, but don’t slice through the peel.
Once the entire half of avocado has been scored into dice, slice it in half all the way through the skin.
Then, pull the peel away from the flesh of the avocado and the diced fruit will fall away. You can also run a spoon between the peel and the flesh, but when your avocado is perfectly ripe, peeling away the skin is the way to get the prettiest result.
How to Slice an Avocado
If it’s slices of avocado you want, you’ll start the same way by removing the seed. Make thin slices into the avocado half and then cut it in half through one of the original slices.
Then, peel the skin away to expose the slices.
How to Prevent Avocado from Browning
Once you’ve cut and peeled an avocado, it will start to brown as it oxidizes. The only way to prevent this is to either cover the flesh so that it doesn’t come in contact with the air or to brush the pieces with lemon or lime juice. Since lemon and lime juice will affect the flavor, it’s best just to use the avocado as soon as you’ve cut it.
- A ripe avocado will have a very dark black brown skin and feel slightly soft when squeezed gently.
- You can ripen an avocado a little faster by storing it in a paper bag with an apple or banana. The ethylene gas emitted acts as a ripening agent for the avocado.
- Remove the pit of the avocado by slicing around it with a chef’s knife and twisting the two halves of avocado in opposite directions. Whack the seed with a chef’s knife and twist it to remove it from the avocado flesh.
- Cut the avocado into shapes before peeling it. Make cross hatch slices or regular slices but don’t cut through the skin.
- Peeling the skin away with your fingers will leave a prettier dice or slice of avocado.
- To prevent browning, toss the avocado in lemon or lime juice, wrap it in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t come in contact with the air, or better yet, use it right away.