Kitchen Tips

7 things every avocado addict needs to know

It's the best time of the year - avocado season!

We've teamed up with Countdown to bring you the ultimate guide to all things avocado. From choosing the perfect avocado to exciting new recipes, storage tips and an easy and safe way to get rid of that pesky pit, we've got you covered.

1 What kind of avocados are in New Zealand?

A range of different avocado varieties are grown mainly in Northland and Bay of Plenty, but the ones most people are familiar with are Hass, Fuerte and Reed. It can take anywhere between 5-13 years for an avocado tree to bear fruit, but once it begins it can produce up to 400 avocados per year.
Hass avocados are oval with a green, bumpy skin that darkens during the ripening process. Fuerte avocados are pear shaped and Reed avocados are large and round. Both have green skin that doesn't change colour – even when ripe. Their unique reptile-like skin has earned avocados the name 'alligator pears' in Central America.
Avocados grow on evergreen trees that can grow up to 12 metres in height.

2 What are the health benefits of eating avocado?

If you're a long-time fan of avocado on toast, you're well-ahead of the superfood trend! If you thought you couldn't love avocado even more, wait 'til you hear how good it is for you.
With its rich, creamy texture, it's no surprise that avocado is known as butter fruit in India. Avocado is low in calories which makes it a great altnernative to dairy-based spreads like butter and sour cream. Avocado contains slow burning fats that help lower cholesterol and are less likely to be stored as body fat.
Avocados also have one of the highest fibre counts of all fruit, as well as being rich in vitamin B, C and E. They're a great addition to vegetarian diets as they're high in folic acid and vitamin B9, which are important for maintaining healthy iron levels.
Avocado mashed with lemon on toast is a breakfast classic.

3 How do I choose a good avocado?

You're at the supermarket, surrounded by a sea of delicious avocados. Which one do you take home?
While avocados mature on trees, they only ripen after harvesting. Look for a fruit that's free from blemishes and has an even colour to it. If you're planning on eating it in the next few days, grab one that's slightly soft to the touch. If you're making your guacamole later in the week, choose a firmer fruit. Avos spoil quickly, so it's important to avoid any that are too soft.
Ripe avocados should feel heavy for their size and Hass avocados have dark skin when ripe.
For a dish that's deliciously practical, try using an avocado as a serving bowl.

4 What are those black streaks in my avocado?

If you've ever opened an avocado to discover black streaks, don't worry. These streaks are knows as vascular browning and are the result of long-term storage or stem damage. Although they may look unsightly, rest assured your avocado is still perfectly okay to eat.
Try adding avocado to burger patties for an extra boost of goodness.

5 How do I properly store and look after avocados?

Once you've got your avocado home, where does it belong?
Green, hard avocados will ripen in 4-5 days. If you're feeling a tad impatient, keep them at room temperature or pop into a paper bag with a banana to help speed up the ripening process.
Once ripened, keep avocados in the fridge to slow down the process to avoid the disappointment of opening not-so-nice overripe fruit.
If you've got an excess of avos, try peeling, mashing and sealing them in a bag then storing them in the freezer to use in smoothies and baking all year round.
For a creamy green pasta sauce, try making avocado pesto.

6 What's the best way to pit an avocado?

Before you get to work devouring that creamy avocado, you have to pop out that obstructive pit. Here's how to nail it – no scary knife work involved!
Step 1: Cut the avocado in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Twist to separate the two pieces.
Step 3: Cut into quarters.
Step 4: Remove the stone
Step 5: Peel off the skin, then slice.

7 What are some different ways to eat avocado?

You're familiar with mashing up avocado for toast and guacamole, but what else can you do?
  • Try adding avocado to homemade pesto to create a super creamy, not-so-naughty sauce to toss through pasta.
  • Combine puréed apple and avocado to create sweet homemade baby food filled with all kinds of natural goodness.
  • Cook it! Avocado is delicious served warm. Try it as a Mexican-inspired pizza sauce, or add for an extra boost of fibre, vitamins and good fats in your burger patties.
  • Keen to cut down on the dishes? Try using your avo as a deliciously impressive bowl! These chilli prawn and avocado bowls are perfect for entertaining.
  • With their creamy texture and subtle taste, avocados make a great addition to desserts. Give chocolate mousse a healthy twist with these refined sugar-free chocolate pots.
  • Avocados simply scream summer, and so does chilled soup. This no-cook iced avocado soup is gluten-free, dairy-free and perfect for cooling down on hot days.