Hass avocados have a pebbly skin that ripens from green to deep purple or nearly black, and they can vary in size from 5 to 12 ounces. Although the skin is thick, it is relatively easy to peel. The flesh closest to the skin is pale green, and as it nears the medium-sized central stone it develops a yellow undertone. The flesh is soft, creamy, and barely fibrous, with good oil content. The flavor is rich and nutty with a slightly sweet finish.
Avocados are most often used raw, as the tannins in the fruit can result in a bitter flavor after prolonged cooking or exposure to direct heat. Avoid broiling, and add avocado toward the end of cooked applications. Avocados can be mashed, cubed, sliced, pureed, or halved and stuffed. Add avocado slices to sandwiches or salads, or mash with lime juice, onion, tomato, cilantro, salt, and other spices to make guacamole. The high fat content of avocados pairs well with acidic fruit and vegetables, like tomatoes. To prepare the avocado for use, cut in half lengthwise around the central stone, twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate, then remove the pit with a spoon and peel away skin. Store avocados at room temperature until fully mature. Whole, ripe avocados will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator, while cut avocados will keep for a day or two. Avocado flesh darkens when exposed to air, so to prevent discoloration sprinkle cut avocados with lemon juice or vinegar and cover in plastic wrap before refrigerating.