For all cooks, avocados from A to Guacamole

Dear Readers: Avocados are a favorite here in South Texas, as well as in many other parts of the country. Did you know that there are nearly 500 varieties? Want to know how to pick the best one? Here's the scoop from the California Avocado Commission:
You won't necessarily be able to tell if the avocado is right by its color, because not all varieties change color, so try this: Gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. The avocado should be firm but yield to gentle pressure. If it is too hard, it isn't ripe yet; if it's too soft, it's overripe.
How can you ripen avocados at home? Put the avocado in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature. For faster ripening, place an apple or a banana in the bag with the avocado.
How to store avocado slices? Sprinkle the cut avocado with lemon, lime juice or white vinegar and place it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It should be eaten within a day or two.
Here is a Heloise Test Your Avocado Hint IQ:
What state is the No. 1 producer of avocados?
The answer -- California. So, if you chose California, you struck gold. Avocados are grown year-round, and each tree can yield up to 120 avocados a year.
Here's a guacamole recipe from the California Avocado Commission for your next get-together:
4 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ripe, medium Roma tomato, seeded, diced
1/2 cup minced sweet white onion
2 serrano chilies, seeded, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Hot-pepper sauce, sea salt, white pepper to taste
Cut avocados into large chunks and mash coarsely in a large bowl with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and blend gently -- leaving some small chunks is fine. Taste and adjust seasoning with more pepper sauce, salt and pepper if desired.
Many thanks to our friends at the California Avocado Commission for this delicious information. Heloise
P.S. Putting the seed in the guacamole does not keep it from turning brown -- it's exposure to air that causes it; the lemon/lime juice (citric acid) can prevent that from happening.
Dear Heloise: I made a brown-rice recipe with carrots, celery and onion in it, along with Worcestershire, garlic and red pepper (my favorite seasonings). It was not very good. The next night, I added half a pound of hamburger and an egg, and made patties. It was wonderful.
So, my hint would be to add cooked brown rice to your favorite meatloaf recipe -- it cuts down on meat consumption. Patsy, via e-mail
King Features Syndicate

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