Ivy Stark On How To Buy/Ripen Avocados

Last weekend Dos Caminos chef Ivy Stark ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, then stayed on her feet to teach a crowd in Manhattan about the art of buying and ripening avocados. In between making avocado cocktails and tempura avocado Baja tacos (which you could easily make using our avocado fries recipe as the taco filler), Stark let us in on some of her avocado-buying secrets — and as Executive Chef at one of New York's favorite Mexican joints, it's no wonder she knows all there is to know about this tasty fruit. Below are her words of wisdom:

Picking out a perfectly ripe avocado

1. March through September is the best time to find good California-grown Haas avocados. Look for one with a nice black skin that yields slightly under pressure when you squeeze it. You don't want it to be too soft or too hard. It should just yield gently.

2. The pit should be intact. If it's not oxygen can get in and turn the avocado brown. So you may have a beautiful avocado on the outside that's brown on the inside.

Ripening avocados in a pinch

If you happen to be stuck in a situation where you can't find a ripe avocado, buy an unripe one and put it in a paper bag with apples. Apples let off a natural gas that speeds up the ripening process.

Keeping guacamole from turning brown

Make guacamole right before you serve it at a party (at the maximum two or three hours ahead of time). To keep it green, place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the guacamole, pushing out all of the air so it's flush, and then cover it with plastic wrap again. Put it in the refrigerator and if there's a little bit of brown on top just skim it off before you serve.

Check out these Ivy Stark recipes on Food Republic: