Avocados are incredibly versatile and delicious eaten raw or cooked. You can enjoy them with a spoon straight out of the skin, slice and eat ’em in a sandwich or omelette, bake it, sauté it, mash it to make guacamole, use it in baked goods, or puree it to make sauces, smoothies, and even ice cream!
Ripeness & Selection
You often can’t find ripe avocados in the store, but they do ripen after being picked, so you can let them ripen at home if you buy them in advance of when you want to use them. Significantly under-ripe avocado is not so awesome.
When picking them out, you want to make sure there aren’t any soft spots (uniformly soft all over is good, soft or dented in one spot is not good) or mold around the stem.
You can tell when an avocado is ripe by giving it a very gentle squeeze; they should feel soft, but not squishy. Once ripe, they only keep well for a few days, so put them in the fridge asap if you can’t use them right away.
If there are some brown spots inside when you cut one open, just scoop them out with a spoon and use the rest, but if the most of all of the flesh is brown, just have a good cry and then throw it away.
Preparation & Use
You usually want to cut avocados lengthwise (from top to bottom), turning the fruit as you cut so as to cut all the way around the pit. You can then twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate them. The trickiest part of cutting avocados is removing the pit in a safe manner. You may think I’m being dramatic, but lots of people have wound up in the emergency room because they couldn’t handle their avocado properly. If you don’t believe me Google “avocado hand”.
The safest way to remove an avocado pit is with a spoon–you can also use a knife, to avoid marring the flesh, but if you’re going to, do NOT use the tip of the knife to dig the pit out! Carefully lodge the knife in the exposed part of the pit by bringing the knife down level in a shallow tapping motion and then twist WITHOUT pushing down so that the pit rotates sideways, again, keeping your knife level. As in the GIF below.
Also be very careful removing the pit from the blade! It will be very slippery. If necessary, use a fork to push it off.
You can use a spoon to separate the flesh from the skin, before or after slicing it. If you slice the flesh first, use very little pressure to ensure the tip of your knife only slides along the inside of the skin, and does not poke through into your fingers.