We all know the deal: you buy a green, hard avocado, and it sits on your countertop for days, being too hard and green to use. Then, suddenly, it’s ready to use and bam! Before you know it it’s overripe, brown, and gross. People, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Rapidly Ripening Avocados
Let’s say you have people coming over for dinner Saturday night; grocery day is Wednesday and you obtain four beautiful, green avocados. Will they or won’t they be ready for guacamole on Saturday? Chances are, they won’t. Generally, an avocado takes about a week to ripen on your countertop UNLESS you try this sweet little trick: putting the avocado in a brown paper bag and folding it shut. I tried this and it took about three days from a perfectly unripe avocado to become perfectly ripe. I read that putting a banana in the bag hastens the process but I did not see any significant difference in ripening time, and yes, I did use a control group. What? I’m an analytic at heart. I did notice that the BANANA became rapidly brown and mushy, so I guess if you really want to make banana bread and need overripe bananas, this trick is for you. Otherwise, just let the avocados be by themselves.
Stop! In the name of guacamole.
Now let’s say you – and by you, I mean me – are constantly tempted by the giant bags of avocados on sale at Costco. The only problem is that they are all the same level of ripeness and even though I would LIKE to eat seven avocados at the same time, it’s probably not a great idea. So, prolong the ripening process by putting some in the fridge. It will add nearly a week to the avocado’s life span. Relatedly, if your avocados ripen before you have a chance to eat them, you can buy yourself a couple of days by putting the ripe – or nearly ripe – avocado in the fridge. Never again be foiled by the avocado’s self-centred timelines!
But I Want Guacamole RIGHT NOW
If you just can’t wait another minute, let alone several damn days before eating guacamole, try frozen avocado. I know, I know, it seems sacrilegious, but in a pinch it’s a pretty amazing product. I skeptically bought some PC brand, thinking at least I’d get my PC Points from it even if it was terrible, but I will tell you that it is VERY HARD to tell that the guacamole was not made from fresh avocado. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using it for a wrap or anything, because the texture is pretty soft once the avocado thaws, but it makes a great guacamole. It would probably make a good avocado toast, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys that.
Bread Boxes – Not Just For Your Grandma Anymore
I’m trying very hard to cut down on plastic use around the house. I bake at least one, if not two, snack loaves a week, and I used to wrap them in plastic to keep them fresh. I hated doing it but couldn’t see an alternative – until I thought about using an old-fashioned bread box. I bought one off Amazon that is red enamel, and has little breathing holes in the back. It was called a “bread and pastry box” but I’m sure any kind of bread box would fit the purpose. I’ve had it for months now, and it keeps everything – loaves, muffins, cookies – fresh. Not too dry, not too moist (sorry), just right. It’s the Goldilocks of containers!
Aluminum Foil Hats (for your veggies)
I read that aluminum foil somehow keeps vegetables fresh, more than plastic wrap, and after trying it for myself I can attest to it: wrapping a head lettuce in aluminum foil keeps it from going brown! Within reason, of course. I don’t think any lettuce would keep for more than a few weeks; aluminum foil is not MAGIC, after all. I’ve also tried it with Romaine, cabbage, and cucumbers, all with good results.
This Is The Last Straw
My older son likes to have smoothies for breakfast a few times a week, and he does NOT like to drink them straight from the glass; he prefers a straw. But even three straws a week add up, and before long I found myself feeling guilty that perhaps his straw habit is leading to tortoises with straws stuck up their nose, or some other atrocity I cannot look at, but that someone posts on Facebook at least weekly. So last year I bought a pack of stainless steel straws; I ordered mine from Amazon, because I’m a lazy shopper and I like Amazon Prime, but I’m sure you can get them in any kitchen supply store now. I was a bit concerned about the cleanliness aspect, but it turns out they are quite easy to keep clean. My son rinses his straw in hot water right after use, which eliminates any seeds or gunk getting stuck in it, but the straws I bought came with little cleaners, in case of seed/ gunk emergency.
I’m sure I’ll never eliminate plastic usage, but I am really trying to minimize it, and to recycle what I do use. One thing I noticed was that I always threw out plastic produce bags from the grocery store. I couldn’t see any way to recycling or reusing such a useless little bag, and yet I didn’t want to pile eight separate peppers and three pounds of apples willy-nilly, pell-mell at the checkout. I wanted them BAGGED. So I bought reusable produce bags (again, from Amazon, I know, I have a problem) and I love them. The ones I bought are GIANT, and can fit at least six or seven peppers each. I bought a big pack of giant bags for about $23, and they are all washable. The key is to keep them inside my reusable grocery bags, so I don’t forget them!
Dirty Hair, Don’t Care
Well, I do care. My hair is quite fine, and I have a tendency to oiliness, and so I have always, since I was about 12, washed my hair daily. As I’ve aged, my hair has become drier and drier and more brittle with each passing year. A few years ago I started not washing my hair on Sundays, instead just putting it into a bun. About a year ago I realized that my best hair days were always Mondays. Coincidence? So I have started to wash my hair four times a week, instead, using Saturday as a day to give my hair a deep conditioning mask. My hair therapist mentioned, a while back, that my hair was really holding its colour well, better than she’d seen it in our long life together. I admitted my dirty little secret.
I know people have been doing this forever, and I know some people swear by no shampoo and all sorts of dry shampoo and the like. I don’t think I could ever really get behind that, but I am enjoying my every-other-day hair washing. After all, I teach a lot of yoga and have my hair in a bun anyway, and I swear my hair has gotten used to it. It doesn’t even (to me) seem dirty anymore. Plus, my showers on the days I don’t wash my hair are only about five minutes long, which is nice when I’m in a rush.
That’s all my little Internet tricks for the day! Let me know if you try one, and how it goes. xo