"Guac" the Line

For our Cinco de Mayo party, we're starting with a little Avocado 101. Here are a few tips for picking the perfect avocado every time.

Geoffrey Zakarian makes Guacamole, as seen on The Kitchen, Season 17.

You can't have a fiesta without a little—or a lot of—guacamole. And you can't have guacamole without avocados!

First, you have to know what type to look for. There are 2 types of avocados: Florida (green) and Hass (black). Florida avocados have less fat and a nuttier flavor. Hass avocados have a higher fat content and a creamier texture, which we love for guacamole.

So, what to look for in a Hass avocado? Look for a rich, dark-colored skin. They start out hard and green and darken to almost black as they become ripe. The next thing you want to do is "Look Under the Hood." The easiest way to ensure that you've got a ripe one is to check under the stem. Pop it out and if the fruit underneath is a vibrant green, buy it! If the flesh is brown and dry, the avocado is overripe. A ripe avocado should yield to firm, gentle pressure, but shouldn't feel overly soft or mushy. Here's a little "Avo Etiquette"—squeeze gently with your whole hand, not just your thumb. Pressing in with just your thumb bruises the fruit and makes it gross and unusable for the next person.

Once you've got the perfect fruit, you've got to know how to store it. Just remember, it's in the bag…or in the fridge. It's perfectly OK to buy unripe avocados for later use. Just store them in a paper bag with an apple, banana or even another avocado. Ripening fruits give off gases that stimulate the ripening of the avocados. They should be ready to eat in 2 to 3 days. If you've got a ripe one that you can't use right away, that's the time to store it in the fridge. Chilling them out in the fridge slows down the ripening process, which buys you a little more time. Don't refrigerate until they're ripe though!

Now that you've got the avo basics, you're on your way to guacamole greatness!

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