What is bumpy yet smooth at the same time? Life, of course, but here we're actually talking about the avocado. Avocados are in fact bumpy on the outside yet smooth on the inside…if they’re ripe, that is!
I have no argument with avocados. In fact, I find them delicious and versatile, and they certainly pack a nutritional punch. But how do you make sure you’re buying the best ones? Squeezing them (gently, of course!) before buying them seems logical, and a perfectly-ripened avocado does yield slightly to pressure. But sometimes even when the touch test works and an avocado feels ripe, you cut it open only to find brown spots and a pithy texture instead of the smooth, buttery goodness. Oh, the disappointment!
The sense of touch doesn’t necessarily provide the complete picture, but there’s an easy test that involves an additional sense: just look underneath the stem. If the tiny brown bump on the end comes off easily and you see green underneath, you’ve likely got a winner! If it's tough to remove, the avocado needs some additional time to ripen. On the other hand, if the avocado shows brown beneath its tiny cap, it will most likely be overripe.
If you’re purchasing avocados well in advance, it’s safe to get those of the need-more-ripening variety, but if you have an urgent need for, say, guacamole for tonight's book club, you'll want to exercise a bit more caution. Conversely, if you find one that seems perfect, yet you don’t think you’ll be able to eat it right away, place in the refrigerator for a day or two to stop the ripening process.
What if, despite this advice, you overextend the ripening or pick a bad egg-shaped fruit anyway? I thought you’d never ask! Use the avocado to make a nourishing mask for dry, overstressed hair.
- Simply mash a ripe-to-overripe avocado.
- Add just enough olive oil to make it manageable yet thick enough not to run out of your hair.
- Massage it into damp or dry hair, and don’t forget that scalp.
- Wrap your head in a hot towel and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly and shampoo if desired.
- If time is an issue, don't worry! Put the mash on your hair before getting into the shower. Let the steam do its work for a couple of minutes before rinsing and washing your hair.
- Depending on the length and texture of hair, a whole avocado can usually be enough for two people. (Use any extra on your face.)
- Before you toss away the avocado skin, rub the inside on your lips to get some of that good moisture.
Do you have a secret to finding perfect fruit? What's your favorite use for avocado? Tell us about it!