The word “avocado” comes form the Aztec word abuacalt from which the Spanish derived abuacate or agucate. There are about a dozen types of avocado, including the popular Has with its pebbly textured skin. Another variety common in Mexico and other parts of Latin America is called “del pais” (from the island). Round, the size of a large Navel orange and bright green in color. Unlike the Haas, the skin is smooth and the meat plentiful.
Purchasing: Select avocados that are heavy for their size, not too hard and free of black spots. Turn the avocado upside down, then gently press on the bottom with your thumb. If ripe, the skin will depress somewhat. Check the top of the fruit as it ripens first and make sure it is firm.
Storing: Keep unripened avocados at room temperature, out of the sun or heated areas. Ripe avocado stores up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Ripening: Place avocado in a brown paper bag and twist closed. Do not refrigerate. Fruit will ripen in 1 to 3 days depending upon firmness of the avocado. To speed process up, add whole apple to the bag. In an emergency, pierce avocado skin with a sharp fork and microwave on medium power for 30-60 seconds. Fruit will be sufficiently soft for guacamole.
To slice open an avocado: Slice the avocado lengthwise from end to end, then twist to separate the halves. Gently tap the seed with a sharp knife, twist and remove seed. Scoop avocado halves from their skins, then slice as desired.