Avocado, also called ‘butter fruit’, or ‘alligator pears’, with the scientific name ‘Persea americana’ is a native fruit from the Americas under the laurel family growing from an evergreen tree. This fruit has a dark leathery textured smooth skin, a creamy slightly earthy and nutty tasting bright green flesh, with a large pit in the middle. Filled with many nutrients from healthy fats to good carbohydrates, fiber, Vitamin B6, C, E, and K, folate, potassium, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, lutein, and magnesium. Which makes up for many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are everything good for the body. What else can you get from avocados and how can you enjoy these? Check out the article to find out.
A short Introduction
Avocados, also named ‘Alligator pears’ due to its pear-shape and bumpy leathery skin and ‘Butter Fruit’ from its creamy smooth light green flesh. Is a classified fruit from the ‘Persea Americana Tree’ (avocado tree) that originated from Central America or Mexico, which Mexico is the biggest and leading producer of the fruit. These coming from the Americas were spread through the world during the Spanish conquest, and only got attention from horticulturalists in the 1900’s. It was then developed to be suitably grown in different climates. These are being grown commercially in the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Peru, Columbia, and Mexico. Other countries that have also entered the market include the Pacific Islands, some Mediterranean countries, Israel, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Kenya, Haiti, Hawaii, Chile, California, and Florida.
The taste is subtle, very neutral and is more so earthy and slightly nutty that you can easily manipulate and add to savory, salty, or sweet dishes. This staple superfood loved by many health nuts, vegans and vegetarians, are a great source of good fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins that even those with cholesterol and heart problems can add into their diet. A popular ingredient in almost every part of the world, eaten as is, or popularly prepared as the aesthetic breakfast favorite-Avocado toast, a refreshing colorful snack ‘guacamole’, made to thicken up shakes or smoothies. You’ll find a long list of avocado recipes on the internet, from salads, oils, rice mix-ins of toppings, sandwich fillings, pasta sauces, ice cream, drinks, and other confections as either an egg replacement or to add more fiber and moisture into the dish.
Ripe on unripe?
When choosing this delicate fruit from the grocery store or dry market, you’ll have to think about when you’ll be using this ingredient. This climacteric fruit can easily ripen especially in more tropical climates or hot weather.
- When needing a RIPE or ready to eat avocado, choose ones that have a dark green or slightly black colored skin. These should feel soft to slight pressure (do not squeeze).
- For UNRIPE avocados that you might not use immediately. Find ones with light green skin and feel firm. These will ripen naturally to a dark brown when ready. Do note that unripe avocados will taste very bitter if eaten.
- Make sure to also choose ones without dents, wrinkles, and those with big dark spots.
- Store avocados at room temperature far from sunlight.
How to Prepare:
- Take a ripe avocado and give it a good rinse if you’d like. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Hold it on one hand and on the other, carefully slide the knife vertically. Gliding it around the pit.
- Twist the fruit to separate into halves. Take the pit out.
- Scrape the middle of the fruit if there are any mushy areas, or if the skin of the pit clings in the middle.
- Scoop the flesh or peel away the skin to enjoy creamy green flesh.
- Once opened you might find that these brown too quickly. You can remedy this by having a lemon, lime or any citrus fruit on hand. Sprinkle over or mix this into the avocados to avoid discoloration.
Is avocado good for you? This almost flavorless but very versatile superfood has a lot of health benefits. Avocado calories amount to around 322 calories per whole avocado. While it might seem high in calories it does help with creating a good balanced diet due to the good fats, fiber, Vitamin C, E, K, potassium and more. Though a low-glycemic food these should still be eaten in moderation.
- Decreases the possibility of heart disease and stroke. Is fatty, but a good kind of fats or ‘Monounsaturated fats’ meaning these are plant-based and lowers the ‘bad’ cholesterol that causes heart problems.
- Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that strengthens the body’s immunity and prevents the risks of chronic diseases.
- Keeps diabetes at bay. Most of the calories that come from the said ‘fats’ do not have any effect on the blood sugar. Studies have shown that it has helped improve and control glycemic index for those with type 2 diabetes.
- For a healthy gut. The fats, fiber, and calories of this fruit help keep you feeling full and avoid eating other salty and sugary snacks that results to a healthy weight loss. Fiber also helps promote good bacteria that keeps the digestive system happy and healthy.
- It’s a good source of folate that can lower the risk of having colon or prostate cancer. Folate is also said to help with depression symptoms.
- Helps keep bones healthy. Studies have shown that avocados and avocado oil help improve those with arthritis and osteoporosis.
* Can dogs eat avocados? The pit and skin are dangerous to dogs, the edible flesh itself being a calorie dense food, might cause sudden weight gain, an upset stomach (gastrointestinal problems) and pancreatitis.
- Avocado ice cream – an easy to do ‘healthy’ summer treat anyone can do. Avocado pulp mixed with all purpose cream and condensed milk. Super indulgent and yummy!
- Avocado cheesecake – what better way to enjoy the summer with a sweet chilled dessert. No need to worry about your diet with this less sweetened healthier version of a cheesecake.
- Avocado toast recipes are a popular choice for those who want a quick, easy and filling treat in the mornings. Just layer the avocado over toasted bread, give it a sprinkle of salt and pepper, maybe some pepper flakes, topped off with a runny yolk and you’re done!
- Avocado salad – a customizable dish to fit whatever you need to finish off the fridge or cupboard. Whether it’ll be beans, rice, other grains like quinoa, herbs, vegetables, fresh or dry fruits, nuts, and meats. You’ll be sure to find a salad recipe that will keep you stuffed with this protein and vitamin filled option.