Research suggests that, thousands of years ago, Mesoamerican tribes were eating and cultivating avocados. And over the centuries, love for the fruit has spread to all corners of the world. In fact, the global market is now worth nearly $14 billion, with Mexico leading the way in production, followed by several South American countries, including Peru and Colombia. It’s unsurprising that avocados have rocketed in popularity. They’re creamy, nutritious, and delicious, too. The only catch is, they can be a little tricky to prepare, as they’re only ripe for a few days at a time. To help you get the best out of this popular green fruit, we’ve gathered some of our favorite tips and tricks below. But first, what are the benefits of eating avocado?
What are the main benefits of avocado?
Avocado has been hailed as a superfood in the past, and that’s because it’s loaded with nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, fiber, and healthy fats. Research suggests eating them regularly may rejuvenate your skin, lower your cholesterol, improve digestion, and even support good hair health. To learn more about the many great advantages avocados have to offer us, follow our guide to the biggest avocado benefits and recipes!
10 handy avocado hacks
Once you’ve got your avocado, you might be thinking: how do I get the best out of this nutritious ingredient? And you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve listed our top 10 handy avocado hacks, and we’ve covered everything from ripening to slicing to cooking to growing.
1 To ripen quickly, wrap in tin foil and bake
When avocados aren’t ripe, they are firm and hard to the touch. They are safe to eat when they’re like this, but, let’s be honest, they’re just not as good. To get that lovely creamy, soft texture, we recommend simply waiting for the fruit to ripen on its own for best results. But that’s in an ideal world, and sometimes, you need a ripe avocado quickly. One tip is to cut the avocado in half, wrap each in foil, and pop them in the oven at a low temperature for around 10 minutes (you may need longer if your avocado is really underripe). After that, move them to the fridge, before adding them to your recipe.
2 Or pop them in a brown bag with a banana
According to the brand Avocados From Mexico, another great way to speed up the ripening process is to pop your avocado in a brown paper bag with a banana and leave it there overnight. “Ripe bananas contain a natural plant hormone called ethylene, which triggers ripening in mature fruit,” it notes. “The paper bag traps the ethylene gas that’s produced by the fruit and speeds up the ripening process.” This isn’t as quick as the oven trick, but the results will likely be tastier.
3 Check the color and feel for ripeness before you cut
There’s nothing more frustrating than cutting into avocado, prepared to make a delicious recipe, only to find that the fruit just isn’t ready. So, save yourself the disappointment by checking for ripeness first. A ripe avocado should feel a little soft, but not too mushy, and the skin color will be a much darker green. Another top tip is to peel back the stem at the top of the avocado, if it’s easy to pull back and green underneath, you’re good to go. If it won’t come off easily, it’s probably not quite ripe enough yet.
4 Invest in a slicer
Have you ever heard of “avocado hand?” We’ll let you in on the details, but warning: they are quite grisly. “Avocado hand” is a nickname for what happens when someone tries to slice through an avocado but ends up slicing right through to their hand, sending them to the emergency room. We told you it was grisly. A good way to keep your fingers safe is to invest in an avocado slicer. The tool usually isn’t sharp to touch, but will still cut through an avocado efficiently. They also often come with a pitting tool, as well as a scoop for the center.
5 Freeze to prevent food waste
Millions of tons of food are wasted every year, and this is bad for the environment in many ways. For one, it’s a waste of all the resources it took to produce the food, but when food ends up in the landfill, it emits methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Because of issues with ripeness, avocados are regularly thrown in the trash. But you can avoid adding to the pile by freezing your avocado when it’s ripe. It’ll last for a good few months, and you can use it to make everything from smoothies to guacamole.
6 Add them to vegan desserts
Sure, avocado on toast is a classic, but did you know this creamy fruit also works really well in desserts, too? Yep. You can use them to make silky mousse, chocolate pie, and even ice cream. Find some of our favorite avocado recipes here.
7 Add them to vegan soups, dips, and chutneys
As well as creamy desserts, avocado also makes an excellent base for soups, like this raw, spicy vegan jalapeño soup, for example, as well as different chutneys and dips (and we’re not just talking about guacamole!). Why not try this chickpea, avocado hummus dip? It’s deliciously garlicky, creamy, and light.
8 Use them in your skincare routine
Avocado isn’t just good for your insides—research suggests it can also benefit our skin when it’s applied topically, too. It’s moisturizing, hydrating, and may even reduce inflammation and boost elasticity. The best way to apply avocado to your skin is in a face mask. We recommend this 3-ingredient avocado face mask for an instant pick-me-up.
9 Use them in your haircare routine
Thanks to their vitamin and healthy fat content, avocados can also benefit your hair, too! Mix them into a hair mask by scooping out the center, combining it with oil, other fruits, and coconut milk, just like this DIY recipe by Vegaprocity suggests.
10 Save the pit and grow a tree
After you’ve removed the pit from your avocado, don’t throw it away! If you pot it in some moist compost, you may be able to grow your own avocado plant from home. It’s unlikely to produce edible fruit, but it’s still a fun and rewarding experience.