Creamy, nutty avocados are at their peak through summer and fall, adding flavor and silky texture to dips, salads, sandwiches and more. Read on for our best tips for selecting, preparing and cooking with avocados, along with some of our favorite recipes.
Look for: Two major varieties are commonly available: the dark green, dimple-skinned Hass (or Haas) and the smoother, paler green Fuerte. The former has a far richer flavor and texture. Look for dark, rough skin when buying Hass and smooth, unblemished skin when buying Fuerte. Both varieties yield to gentle finger pressure when ripe.
Store ripe avocados at cool room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Keep unripe avocados in a warm, dark place. To speed the ripening process, put the avocado in a paper bag with an apple, a banana or a tomato. To store a cut avocado, wrap it in plastic wrap, smoothing the wrap right onto the fruit’s cut surface to seal out air and prevent discoloring.
Prep tips: Since the flesh of an avocado quickly turns brown when exposed to air, cut the fruit just before serving. Sprinkling the cut flesh with a little lemon or lime juice will help slow discoloring. To prepare, cut each avocado in half lengthwise, rotate the halves in opposite directions to separate, and then scoop out the pit with a spoon and discard. Avocados are at their best when served raw or only slightly heated; their flavor doesn’t hold up to cooking. Here’s your toolkit:
- Avocado Cuber, for cutting uniform-sized pieces
- Molcajete, for making and serving guacamole
- OXO 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer, to cut through avocado skin, remove the pit, and slice
- Avocado Saver, to keep halved avocados fresh longer
Uses: Besides being the main ingredient in guacamole, avocado is also wonderful in summer salads, sandwiches and salsas. Try it halved, pitted and filled with shrimp salad, chicken salad or a thick mustard vinaigrette.
This recipe from Chef Traci Des Jardins makes a simple, crave-worthy guacamole. Read on to learn her trick to keep it from turning brown!
|Scallops with Avocado Salsa
Here, grilled scallops top tortilla rounds with a spoonful of avocado salsa for a creative appetizer.
|Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls with Mustard-Soy Sauce
Avocado is a great carrier of flavors, like the fresh herbs and cooling cucumber that star in these fresh rice-paper rolls. They’re like a salad you can eat out of hand.
|Avocado, Bacon & Tomato Tartines
With its silken texture and buttery flavor, avocado makes a delicious addition to these open-faced bacon and tomato sandwiches.
|Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Tomato Salsa
Here, a cool, creamy uncooked puree of cucumber and avocado is accented by a spicy salsa.
|Salmon Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa
Mango, avocado and radishes create a colorful topping for salmon tacos. This dish looks impressive, but comes together in a snap.
|Avocado and Black Bean Tortas
This colorful sandwich, inspired by a Mexican torta, is packed full of fresh vegetables. A crunchy slaw is the perfect contrast to creamy avocado and beans.
|Chicken Tostada Salad
This is a refreshed version of the ubiquitous taco salad, with lean chicken and chopped vegetables piled high on a crispy tortilla.
With its thick, juicy tomato slices, crunchy bacon and buttery avocado, this sandwich is one of the best ways to spend your lunch break.
|Black Quinoa Salad with Lemon, Avocado and Pistachios
Black quinoa makes a dramatic base for this simple side dish from Chef Deborah Madison. It’s dotted with avocado, feta cheese and greens.
|Chicken, Spinach and Avocado Breakfast Quesadillas
Quesadillas are popular as a lunch dish, but they also make a great breakfast. Start with whole-wheat tortillas and stuff them with lean chicken breast, scrambled eggs, spinach, tomato and avocado — or vary them with your own favorite ingredients.
|Bacon, Avocado and Cherry Tomato Omelettes
Filled with sweet tomatoes, melted fontina cheese, crispy bacon and avocado, these omelettes will be a hit at the brunch table.