How to tell when an avocado is ripe in quick and easy steps.
There’s a lovely chill in the air, and the grocery stores are slowly rolling over displays to that treasured holiday season. As thoughts of Halloween costumes turn into dinner party guest lists, we all begin to consider what this Thanksgiving 2023 will look like.
Of course, you’ll want to have all the delicious traditional dishes like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, but did you know there’s another crucial ingredient that often gets overlooked? That’s right – fresh avocados!
The only challenge left is finding which avocado is perfectly ripe and ready to be used around the table. Our team at Redliro is here to help you along your healthy eating journey by providing some much-needed insights into avocado around the Thanksgiving table. From avocado oil to incorporating it into different ideas, we’ve got you covered!
Quick Intro to Thanksgiving
If you are a little new to the holiday or are visiting from outside the US, let’s go over one of the most treasured seasons in the States. Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the table with your friends, families, and coworkers and celebrate a feast.
In most homes, this would involve turkey and traditional root cuisine passed down from generation to generation. That is why your Instagram feed gets pummeled with endless photos of stuffing-filled guests on the last Thursday of November.
However, we are advocating for changing things up a bit. This Thanksgiving 2023, try to use freshly picked avocados for everything from tantalizing guacamole to combination meals. With over 4 billion avocados eaten annually in the US, this ingredient is the perfect creamy compliment to your holiday. Ready to learn how to pick the most ripe options available?
How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe
Now, everyone from your long-lost uncle to the neighbor down the road will have their own unique twist on testing the ripeness of fresh avocados. Some people even prefer avocado oil just to avoid that small window when the fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit!) is at its optimal ripeness. Here are the methods we’ve seen work the best:
1 – Check the Appearance
Ripe avocados are pear-shaped. They have a rich, dark green color that is almost black. Anytime you see it being bright green or with black specks, you should move on to the next option. Yes, there are different varieties, but this fulfills the majority of types you’ll find in the US.
2 – Check the Firmness
This is probably the test most consumers use before using avocadoes in their dinner ideas. When you pick up the avocado, gently press on the sides. If the fruit yields a little under your fingers, but isn’t too mushy, it’s good to go. When the fruit is too hard, it’s not ripe. If it's too soft, you’ll have a brown collection no one wants to eat.
3 – Feel the Skin
Avocadoes that are ripe will have a slightly bumpy skin texture. Not smooth like a baby’s skin (that is not ripe yet). You’re looking for texturized skin that is also visible to the naked eye. If you see big indentations, that fruit has been dropped and should probably not be used.
4 – The Stem Trick
This method is preferred by most chefs. If you gently pry away the tiny bump of a stem at the top of the avocado, it should pop off neatly. If it doesn’t budge, it’s too ripe. If it falls off the second you touch it, it might be overdone.
How to Best Use Delicious Ripe Avocados in Thanksgiving Dinner Dishes
Okay, we’ve covered picking out the best possible avocado for your various needs. Now, let’s turn the kitchen into our play place and dream up some delicious recipes. You can use avocados for all kinds of meals outside the Thanksgiving 2023 holiday (guacamole, on eggs, with toast, etc.), but we’ll keep our theme so you can stretch your annual cooking skills.
The beauty of a ripe avocado is in its versatility. You can combine them with a lot of other foods because the mild, nutty flavor compliments savory and sweet dishes. With a creamy texture, it never feels out of place. Here are some suggestions:
Chicken & Avocado Rice Bowl
For this beautiful dish, marinate chicken in a mixture of avocado oil, minced garlic, lime juice, and add a little cumin and chili powder. After letting that sit for 30 minutes or so, toss it into a skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side (you can use avocado oil for this as well). Cook up some rice in a cooker or pot with a lid (don’t forget to prewash), and then top with the chicken, cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, red onions, and freshly sliced avocado.
If you want to add some jazz to the dish, drizzle a bit more avocado oil with lime juice, salt, and pepper over the top. We love to garnish with some jalapenos for an added kick of flavor that will make the dish stand out from the rest of the Thanksgiving table.
Avocado & Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
If you want to maintain your Thanksgiving 2023 theming, maybe something more aligned with traditional root ingredients will help. In this case, take a medium butternut squash and cube it before popping it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (again, don’t forget the avocado oil) for around 25-30 minutes. Once tender, place on a rack to cool.
Now mix avocado oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, a dash of Dijon muster, and salt and pepper to taste in a separate bowl. This will be your dressing. Now grab a salad bowl and lay down a layer of mixed greens. Top with the roasted butternut squash, sliced avocados, crumbled feta cheese, and some lightly toasted pecans. Then drizzle the dressing and you’re ready to serve.
Avocado Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Meatballs are a great appetizer and alternative for those who don’t like to deal with dried turkey that is a little overcooked. To accomplish this one, you’ll need around a pound of ground turkey, one ripe avocado (peeled, pitted, and cubed), and a ¼ cup of breadcrumbs. You mix all those up with some garlic, salt, pepper, and dried oregano and toss in an egg to keep them together.
Once you have nice round balls, pour some avocado oil in a skillet on medium heat and start cooking. You want them to be browned on the outside. Then, let them cool and serve with your favorite sauce or dip.