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Whether the news is good or bad, I try to keep up. I read a couple of newspapers and listen daily to NPR. Despite my diligence, an American crisis seems to have slipped under my radar.

My first inkling was a cartoon in the New Yorker. Four teary-eyed cross-sectioned avocados were standing in front of a coffin. The caption read “It was so sudden.” I never thought of myself as humor impaired, but I had no clue why this was supposed to be funny. When I showed it to my husband, he drew the same blank I did.

A week or so later, while in the supermarket, I noticed a sign in front of a bin of avocados. With large lettering, it gave instructions on how to pick an avocado. It had two three-dimensional plastic avocados with instructions to press to see if they were “ready to eat today” or “eat later this week.” This helpful sign was provided by “Avocados from Mexico.” Ironically, the avocados in the bin were from Peru.

Then it dawned on me. Avocados across the United States were sitting on kitchen tables either as hard as rocks or ready for the compost bin.

Most avocados sold in the supermarket are hard and green. Depending on the temperature of your house, they take three to four days to ripen. For most uses, this requires a little planning ahead. Avocados are ripe if when pressed with a thumb, they give slightly. At this point, they can be refrigerated if they are not going to be eaten immediately. If the flesh gives a lot when pressed, they are probably not appropriate for salads or guacamole.

All is not lost, though. Chilled avocado soup is just the thing for using up very ripe avocados. With the upcoming warm weather, it is a welcome respite from the stove, as no cooking is required.

Avocado Soup

2 large ripe avocados

4 teaspoons lime juice

1-3 hot green chiles, seeded and chopped (depending on how much heat you like)

4 cloves peeled garlic

1 cup plain yogurt

11/2 cups milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

11/2 teaspoons orange juice

4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled.

Serve garnished with the chopped cilantro.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.

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