Don't squeeze! Has Australia solved the bruised avocado conundrum?

Australia might have solved one of life's burning issues - the bruised avocado.

Research conducted this year found 97 per cent of customers gave avocados a squeeze to test ripeness before buying, leading to bruising.

The Australian avocado industry looked at various ways to stop this happening.

It found segregating the fruit on display according to the stages of ripeness and using signs to tell customers which fruit to buy according to when they wanted to eat it reduced bruising by 60 percent and led to an increase in the amount of fruit sold.

NZ Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular tells Guyon Espiner on Radio NZ's Morning Report that when it comes to ripeness: don't squeeze and trust your eyes.

Hass avocados are the number-one traded avocados in the world because they store very well and colour up so perfectly.

"Believe the colour, use your eyes, that lovely purple-brown colour does mean it’s ready to eat today.”

Scoular also says when it comes to ripening, there’s no shortcut once the fruit’s off the tree.

Bananas can help, but never, never try to ripen in the oven.

Avocado file image.
Avocado file image. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Susan Slater

At least five people killed after under-construction building collapses on residential building in India

At least five people were killed after an under-construction building fell on a residential building nearby, causing both structures to collapse and leaving dozens buried under the rubble near the Indian capital late Tuesday night.

The incident took place at around 9.30pm in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida city, some 45 km from the nation's capital New Delhi.

It is estimated that about 50 people are buried under the debris, including 12 construction workers from the six-story building and more than 30 residents who were living in the four-story building.

Families and relatives of the victims arrived at the site in tears.

"I was reading the news this morning, and then I found out it happened in my cousin's village. I called him, but nobody answered. So I tried to call my relatives near here. They asked me to come and check out the situation. It turned out the building that collapsed is where my cousin lives, so I came here as soon as possible," said Tweedie, a local resident.

Greater Noida is a satellite city of New Delhi. Its cheap housing prices have attracted many people who work in the capital but come from other cities and states.

"We don't know the cause yet, but most residents here are from other cities. Some are from Bihar State. Most are from other cities," said David, a Chinese-speaking tour guide.

Indian police have arrested four suspects, including the land owner and builder. According to Tweedie, police suspect the four-story building had not been built to code.

More than 100 rescuers from the Indian police and emergency response force are using an excavator and other heavy machines to clear the debris. Many rescuers are digging with their bare hands.

Police say that as the roads nearby are narrow and the buildings are densely packed in the area, rescue efforts remain challenging. They estimate that they need two days to complete the rescue operation.

A special investigation has been established to look into the causes of the accident.

Rescue operations continue as police fear people are still trapped under the debris. Source: Associated Press


Most read story: How to feed a family for around $2 a head for dinner - solo Kiwi mum shares secrets

This story was first published on Thursday July 19.

Rotorua’s Loreen Shields can feed her family for around $2 a head for dinner. Source: Seven Sharp

A Rotorua woman, who struggled for years as a solo mum, wants to share how she learned to feed her family by only spending around $2 per head for dinner.

Loreen Shields has some simple rules that can help get that ever expensive shopping budget down while still delivering hearty meals for the family.

RULE 1: Buy in season and buy cheap

Food is often cheaper when in season; especially fruit and veg, also make sure to always be on the lookout for supermarket specials.

RULE 2: Buy items that can be used across a range of meals

For example a head of broccoli can go a long way, remember the stalk can also be used.

RULE 3: Don't turn up your nose at budget brand products

Often for a cheaper price non-name brand or budget products will do the same job.

RULE 4: Avoid temptation

Those chocolate treats next to the counter might seem irresistible, but they're also going to hurt your wallet.

RULE 5: Fresh isn't always best

Canned foods and food close to its expiry date can really help get the most out of your weekly food budget.

Following these rules Loreen managed to serve up a meal to her family which worked out to $2.25 per head.