I don’t remember much from my childhood. But I have perfect memory of every Hass avocado I gobbled up. Exaggerated. How could I remember truckloads of avocado? Avocados were a favorite. Everyone around me enjoyed avocados. Imagine my shock today, when I meet people who cannot stand the legendary fruit. Or the other batch that insists that you can only eat a half at a go. Bewildering because, if my plate isn’t all avocado with a touch of the actual food, I don’t want it.

Today they still are a favorite, but if you know anything about avocados, you know they don’t make them the same in the city, the difference is visible. Gigantic seeds and smooth skins is not how we ate them back then. They do not taste the same either. They come watery these days, a tragedy.

Picking the right avocado

Picking the right avocado? Is that a joke? Let me explain. Growing up, I never had to worry about ‘picking the right avocado’. Avocado trees were everywhere, and the fruits were beyond plentiful. Mind you, selling avocados wasn’t common practice. All this to say, I never really had to crack my knuckles over picking the ‘right’ avocado. If the avocado was in the slightest bit spoilt, count it immediately disposed.

Fast forward to life in the city; if I am going to spend Sh50, or even sh30 on an avocado, it had better be right. And after going home a number of times with an entirely rotten avocado, I have had to learn how to go about it.

Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Always go with the good old hass variety. There is a good reason why upwards of 95 per cent of the global avocado market is made up of this variety, according to Mordor Intelligence.
  • The top of the avocado should be green. The little part where the fruit was attached to the plant should not be brown. That only means it is spoiled.
  • Feel the fruit for ripeness. With about the same effort you use to click a mouse, press the avocado to check whether it is soft, which would then mean that it is ripe.
  • Better still, if you are shopping at your local grocery, asking your mama mboga to cut the avocado for you. This is the surest bet to get your money’s worth. Most will even suggest this just to put you at ease.

How can I ripen my avocados fast?

We’ve all wanted to boost that speed at some point. Who wants to wait a week? According to resident plant expert and agronomist at the Standard Group, Njoki Thuo, wrapping the avocados in a paper bag, then throwing in an apple or a banana for that extra ethylene will do the trick. Ethylene is a gas that causes ripening in fruits.

How do I preserve my ripe avocados?

You wrapped them and threw in a banana like we said, and now you’re dealing with about ten ripe avocados, all threatening to go bad in a day? I know the pressure. Every time I bring avocados from my hometown this happens, mostly because I will carry more than I can comfortably handle.

One thing I’ll tell you is that putting them in the fridge is not a foolproof way to safeguard the fruit from rotting. Usually, they will continue ripening but quite slowly. By the time you want to eat them, you’re suddenly trotting in smoothie territory. You might freeze them but when they thaw, the flavor will not be the same.

At this point, you can already tell that the only solution is to eat them all before they go bad, or to surprise your friends with an avocado each!

To close this hunger-inducing session, I should remind you that you can eat your avocados in so many ways. Whether you choose the smoothie, guacamole or avocado-plus-salt route, there are a million health benefits to reap from consuming avocados.

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