All About Avocado
Avocados are strange fruits and are often under rated. They are kind of fugly looking, especially for a fruit. They are hard to determine when they are ripe, difficult to cut, de seed and strange to smash, but they are totally worth it in more ways than one! On top of the fabulous, creamy taste of an avocado, they provide insane nutrients for your body.
Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. (visit www.avocado.org for more great info)
The American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, contains up to 30% of calories from fats (primarily unsaturated) and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium while being rich in potassium. Avocados can help you meet the AHA dietary guidelines because they have both mono-saturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.
HOW TO TELL IF AVOCADO IS RIPE
Below is a chart to show you what an avocado looks like from its very firm (not ripe) stage to softer stage (fully ripe) and everything in between. Most stores unfortunately mark them all ripe, so when you are shopping for them you can’t just grab them and expect them to be ready for use. Look for a darker olive green color and soft to touch texture, but not too soft because that could be not so pretty when you cut into it. If you are having trouble, ask someone in the produce department to help you.
Avocados at stages 2 – 4 can be stored at room temperature in an area with good circulation to continue their ripening.
For speedier ripening, keep Avocados in a closed paper bag. To slow down ripening, refrigerate them until a few days before use.
Avocados at stages 4 – 5 can be stored in your refrigerator (36º to 40º F) for up to one week. When saving part of an Avocado for later use, cover the exposed flesh with plastic wrap to slow oxidation.
As any avocado lover knows, browning happens when the avocado is cut and certain of its compounds interact with oxygen. Here’s how to prevent it:
Cold water: Rinse cut avocado in cold water.
Tartness: Use acidic ingredients, such as lime juice, which naturally prevent browning.
Plastic wrap: Smooth a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the finished dish containing avocado. Make sure that the wrap adheres the surface in an airtight seal.
I bet you didn’t know that the avocado had so many fun facts, nutritional value and tips. I hope that you learned something so you can better manage your avocados…I know I try to do what it takes to preserve them and their deliciousness! One more fun fact (more like SAD fact): When you are at a restaurant, a sandwich shop or even your local grocery store…you are more than likely eating FAKE GUACAMOLE. That’s right…does it have a weird green color (made from artificial colors) and a funky taste compared to homemade guacamole? Kraft for example has a “guacamole” dip that is mainly made up of hydrogenated oils. It is only 2% avocado! Isn’t that sad?! That isn’t a guacamole dip…that is false crapola of dumpster diving in a plastic bowl! Have you ever ordered a hamburger and only gotten 2% beef and the rest who knows what (take McDonald’s out of this equation) when out at a hamburger joint? This is just a prime example of not know what you are eating and settling for a multi billion dollar company to fool you. If you can afford to make homemade guacamole once in a while, I advise you to do it…at least you know what you will be eating!
Alright, enough rambling and onto a couple quick recipes for avocados. My mom makes a delicious and simple salsa, avocado and bean dip that just takes it to a slighltly different level. I used the tomatoes, avocado and onion from my Doorganic’s order! Visit www.doorganicsgr.com to learn more about receiving local produce & other products right to your doorstep on a weekly basis!
Patty’s Party Dip
- 1 jar of homemade salsa (or store bought)
- 1 can black beans (14.5 ounces)
- 1 can fresh corn
- 1 cup feta cheese
- 1 avocado diced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* Combine all into a fun bowl and serve with tortilla chips. I even advise you to stuff that in a sandwich wrap.
Grilled Veggie & Avocado Wraps
- 10 stalks asparagus grilled
- 1 zucchini or yellow squash grilled
- 1 red pepper
- 1/2 grilled sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- 1/4 cup hummus
- 1 avocado lightly smashed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 4 tortilla shells
* Drizzle olive oil onto sliced veggies and sprinkle with salt & pepper – grill until lightly charred (about 8-10 minutes)
* Spread goat cheese, hummus and avocado onto a warmed shell. Once veggies are done and slightly cooled lay as many veggies as you can fit into the wrap. Squeeze fresh lime over the veggies and wrap it up!
Hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed writing it this morning. I think I will go make some scrambled eggs and top it with freshly cut avocado and salsa!
Have a great week everyone!
Hope you crEATe something new…if you do…enjoy it!