This delicious green fruit—a berry, in fact—is so good for you that whole menus have been created around it. There are many ways to prepare an avocado—whether sweet or savory—in traditional dishes like guacamole, or in more creative approaches, as in muffins as a banana substitute. In Eastern medicine, as we look to food as a medicine, we see that avocados are more than healthy fats. This creamy, green berry is beneficial for your Liver, the organ that’s energetically “on call” in Spring.

Healthy as it is, how can you tell when an avocado is ripe? And even more, how do you properly cut it? We’re here to help!

The avocado should be greenish-brown in color with no pitted marks or dark spots on the outer skin. You’ll know that it’s ripe when it’s firm to the touch but gives to a small amount of pressure. Quick tip: Gently remove the brown stem on top of the fruit and check the color underneath. If it’s yellowish-green, you’ve got a winner. If it’s brown, the avocado is overripe. And if you have a hard time removing the stem, the avocado needs a few days to ripen.

Avocados are often sold when they’re rock-hard. Don’t attempt to cut into these beauties just yet. Unripe avocados are bitter and do not ripen once cut. Place unripe avocados in a brown bag with a bunch of bananas or apples, or on a sunny windowsill for a few days to ripen quickly.

When you’ve found that perfect avocado, hold it lengthwise. Run a small, sharp knife down the avocado. Be sure to reach the inner seed, but don’t cut through it. Then hold the left half in one hand and the right half in another. Twist the halves in opposite directions until the fruit separates. If you’re planning on storing half of the fruit, wrap the side with the seed tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To remove the seed, simply hit it with the sharp base edge of a knife. Twist the knife until the seed comes out. Slice the fruit in a grid-like pattern and use a tablespoon to scoop the slices out of the skin. Add lemon juice to the avocado to prevent it from browning and further support your Liver.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect avocado and have sliced it perfectly, give this recipe a spin:

Simple Avocado Salad

6-8 ripe avocados
1 red pepper, cored
1/4 cup chives or spring onion, chopped
chopped herbs, to taste, such as fresh mint and thyme
2 lemons, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
1. Halve the avocados. Remove the seeds and discard. Slice each avocado half into a grid pattern and use a spoon to scoop the fruit into a large bowl. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon over the avocados.
2. Cut the red pepper into 4 vertical segments. Then cut each segment into thin slices. Add the pepper to the avocado. Top with the chives or spring onion and the fresh herbs.
3. Make the dressing by adding all remaining ingredients to a jar. Close the lid tightly and shake until the dressing has a creamy appearance. Pour over the avocado and mix gently to incorporate.
For another Spring and Summer favorite, click here: Avocado and Mango Salad.
Learn about TCM’s eating-for-healing perspective in an upcoming Dragon’s Way Qigong program.
Dragon's Way, Food

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