• By Elizabeth Coots, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

Avocados Avocados are fruits that have gained recent popularity for their high amount of oleic acid – a heart healthy monounsaturated fat.

Avocados are known as a super food because of their richness in vitamins, minerals and potassium. A single serving can meet 40 percent of your daily requirement. An average avocado contains 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats and 7 grams of fiber. Avocados are usually eaten raw and most popularly as guacamole. They are a common addition to salads and often served as a side with scrambled eggs or toast.

When buying avocados select ones that are dark in color – almost black. Gently squeeze them to see if they’re soft. They should be soft yet slightly firm. If they’re really soft and don’t spring back when squeezed, don’t buy it. It’s beyond ripe. Avocados will continue to ripen on the counter. Keep them in the refrigerator to slow down ripening if they are purchased at their peak.

To safely prepare an avocado, follow these steps:

• Wash under running water

• On a cutting board or other flat surface, cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Slice until you hit the pit, then rotate your knife to cut around it. Twist the two halves apart.

• Remove the pit from the half it is stuck in. You can do this by hitting the pit with the knife so that it sticks. Twist the pit with the knife in it to loosen it and then pull out.

• Using a spoon, loosen the skin around the flesh and then scoop out. Flip it upside down for cleaner slicing or dicing. • If you’re only eating half the avocado, brush the other side with lemon juice before storing in the fridge in order to keep it from turning brown. Explore the many uses of avocados by experimenting with them as toppings for burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. They’re also great in smoothies and additions to salad dressings, baked goods and desserts.

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