This is one that is truly out of our local range but how sad we would be without it. In season in California, closes to home, almost all year, which is why it is seen in dishes all year long.
So how do we choose a fresh avocado–first closest to home we can get and when they are in season there. So someone living in the East, say in Maryland, might favor Florida avocados.
Check ripeness by pressing near the stem and removing the stem tell us if it is ready. Easier to remove the more ready it is. Caution must be taken not to bruise the fruit as you search for ripe ones. Squeezing even gently on the sides of the fruit will often bruise it enough to leave a soft spot. This can be read by the next customer as a ripe avocado, even though you have just rejected it. So focus on the stem end; and even better when a produce person is available ask them to help.
To remove the pits from avocados, use a paring knife to cut from stem end all the way around the center touching the pit and back to stem end. Put down the knife and gently twist the two halves and they will separate. At that point, place the half with the pit/seed on a towel in one hand and swiftly and carefully strick the pit with a knife. It should stick and with a quick slight turn the pit will loosen and come out with the knife.
Caution should be exercised when removing the pit with a knife as described above. Always protect your hand with a folded dish towel between your hand and the avocado half with the pit. Then with your other hand and a chef knife, strike and remove pit.
Depending upon use, you may gently slice or dice the avocado using a paring knife and scoring the slice/dice of the meat without cutting through the skin. You should lightly feel the knife as you cut the meat, but it should not cut through the skin.
To scoop out the whole half, slice or scored fruit, simply use a kitchen tablespoon and scoop it out between meat and skin.
To keep fruit from turning black, you need to use immediately or add an anti oxidant like citrus juice. But when citrus flavor is not wanted, work in some EVOO or heavy cream. A little will coat and prevent oxidation without adding so much flavor that you loose the avocado flavor.
Our choice is to use HASS (rhymes with pass) avocados from California. There are many other varieties of avocados world wide, but the Hass are very available, flavorful, easy to remove from the skin, and not stringy. The come from California and Mexico all year. Hass avocados do not ripen until picked. They are held on the tree until needed and then ripen when picked. The color of the skin goes from green to gray black to black purple as it matures. Its skin is pebbly and bumpy and with its pear shape, it has been called, “alligator pear.”
Florida Avocados, sometimes referred to as “skinny avocados,” are not actually indigenous to Florida but the smooth green skinned varieties seem to flourish there and they are now well know as Florida Avocados. Nutritionally the bigger Florida varieties have more calories, but they are considered skinny because of their fiber content. In fact you will see how much more stringy they can be. Good eating for dieters and those who need to get more fiber. Vitamin and mineral rich avocados contain C,E,K , foliate; more potassium than bananas, and of course monounsaturated fat, the same as olive oil, so it is the healthy fat.