You know 'em. You love 'em. They've been the star of multiple Vines. The punchline of numerous jokes about millennials. The ever-versatile avocado. 

Despite their popularity, many people do not know a lot about avocados. Picking the right avocado is crucial to your enjoyment of your avocado toast, and knowing their environmental impact will empower your produce selection. And finally, once you have found the perfect avocado, you can break from the boring avocado toast and be a little adventurous with some of my personal suggested recipes.

But before we begin, we must acknowledge the Avocado King: 

Buying Avocados

avocado seed, avocado pit, avocado
Jocelyn Hsu

It is a common fact that avocados are fickle creatures. For hours they will not be ripe to eat, and then you’ll blink and *boom* they’ve gone bad. So I am here to teach you how to properly pick an avocado and choose when to slice into it.

Firstly, it all depends on time. Like most things, you will have to do the work before you can reap the benefits. So when going to the grocery store, know that you most likely won’t eat the avocado for a day or two. When buying avocados, the darker the berry (yeah, it’s a berry), the more ripe it is. That means you have less time to consume it. If you want avocado toast in a few days though, find one that is more green in color.

Another great trick to determine the ripeness of avocados is picking off the stem at the top. Once it is removed, you will have a peek of what’s inside. A paler spot will indicate a ripe avocado.

Courtland Campo

My last tip is to hold the avocado and give it a slight squeeze. If the avocado is underripe, it will not give to the squeeze; however, an overripe one will feel mushy. Try to find a balance between firm and mushy.

Environmental Consequences of Avocados

Olivia Chadwick

The recent health-craze for avocados has created a boom in demand. As the primary grower of avocados, Mexico’s environmental landscape has suffered due to the resources avocados require.

Avocados require more water than most crops. So instead of using clean water to drink, many growers of avocados prioritize the crops. These actions include diverting rivers and restricting access to drinking water for locals. However, water is not the only resource being prioritized for avocados.

Because of the economic prosperity of avocados, many forests of Mexico have been destroyed. Farmers are now illegally chopping down forests in order to plant avocado trees. The thinning of Mexican forests has a ripple effect on the biodiversity of the area, including the destruction of the habitat for a variety of wildlife.

So what can we do? As individuals, we have little effect on the growing habits of avocados. However, when you buy an avocado, remind yourself of what was sacrificed for it to be on your counter and enjoyed by you. Pick up the riper avocados at the grocery store to ensure they do not get thrown out.

Recipes Beyond Avocado Toast

Marie Chantal Marauta

Avocado toast is one of my favorite foods, if not my absolute favorite. However, the avocado is so versatile and should be appreciated in a variety of recipes. Try a few from our very own Spoonies:

Tuna Stuffed Avocados

Avocado Chicken Salad

Vegan Avocado Brownies

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Go out and be adventurous with the avocado. The possibilities are endless.