Boop, boop, crash is the sound of avocado falling off the tree before the cock crows. Well this season at least. Last year not so much. But for every fruit that didn’t bear then, five seemed to take its place. When Avocados are in season, you know it. How am I making use of all these avocados and how can you? Let’s talk about it below.
Avocado (Persea americana) is native to Central America and long ago, planted firm roots in the Caribbean. But let me tell you, in one country, you can find hundreds of varieties. From black, purple or green skin, thick or thick layers, watery or buttery flesh and huge and small seeds, the differences amongst each variety can be hard to keep track of. What’s the good news? They all taste amazing or like we say here “Dey go down real good”.
|Ether Extract||5.13-19.80 g|
|Ash||0.46-1 68 g|
|Ascorbic Acid||4.5-21.3 mg|
Missing from the table above is Protein 2 g, Carbohydrates 8.53 g, Sugars 0.66 g and Total Fats 14.66 g. From the first bite, we can tell that Avocado is high in fat. Every time I peel back the skin, I feel like a ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ commercial should come on. Actually, in China, the name translates as ‘cow-fat’ fruit. And guess what, it’s good fat. Scientists have argued over this for years but the majority conclude that 67% of the total fat is monounsaturated fat. A big word for the kind of fat that keeps your cholesterol low.
Certain varieties are also rich in Vitamin B, C, E and K along with Potassium in exchange for low carbs and protein.
Avocado is a great source of nutrachemicals. According to an FAO report, the presence of
1) antioxidants such as Vitamin E and glutathion remove cancer causing radicals
2) carotenoids such as lutein can protect from cataracts
3) omega fatty acids (3,6 and 9) can reduce cholesterol, making avocado an important part of our daily food intake.
Eating avocado also increases the body’s ability to absorb carotenoids such as alpha carotene, beta carotene and lutein so that they don’t pass out of your body before they get their job done.
Pick ’em up: Unlike a fast car, the less shiny the avocado, the more ready it is. This is especially true of the green varieties, since there is no colour change to prove that it’s full unlike those that turn from green to purple. Try to pick them directly from the tree or suffer the consequences of wounded fruit because the war against gravity always ends in casualty.
Fast track: Find an enclosed space at around 15.5ºC where ethylene, the natural chemical responsible for ripening, can be trapped so that your fruit can ready for devouring as soon as possible
No Limin’: In Grenada, our parents have a saying, ‘Who can’t hear, gon’ feel’. So unless you want to eat ripe looking, crunchy tasting avocado, keep them away from citrus fruits during post-harvest ripening.
Death by ice: In case you want don’t want your avocado ripening too fast, refrigeration can help slow the process. But be careful. At 2-4 ºC (freezing), chill injury, such as brown spots in the flesh, can occur. However, refrigeration at higher temperature such at 4.5-12.8 ºC, allow avocados to last as long as two weeks.
Warning!: Some types are toxic when unripe.
Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Is it a condiment? The answer to these questions will determine how many avocados will go missing this season.
Avocado is far from boring, and many countries all over the world have proved this. It pairs great with everything. In Hawaii it’s added to fruit salad, in Thailand with chocolate as a shake and in Brazil as a popular ice cream flavour.
|Breakfast smoothie: 1 cup avocado diced, 3 rock figs, 1 medium-sized mango diced, 1/2 cup sweetened golden apple juice
sprinkle of oats and flax seed for fiber (optional)
Vegans and raw dieters have taken over the avocado aisle and there is no reason why you shouldn’t as well. It’s a filling addition to salads, sandwiches or as a side to main dishes. Add that juicy, juicy texture to your dry food without eating a mouthful of butter, mayonaisse, ranch dressings and all those other unhealthy guilty pleasures.
Why not take it a step further? MAKE a dressing with pureed avocado, lemon juice and herbs. And don’t forget good old traditional guacamole for chips, carrot sticks or whatever you feel like snacking on.
Feel free to try these recipes below and make the most of this year’s avocado season. And remember,
Waste not, Want not…
Guacamole (TnT version):
Avocado salad dressing:
Grilled chicken salad with avocado and mango:
Avocado fries (yes fries):
Chilled avocado soup:
-J. Nutrition March 1, 2005, Vol 135, No 3, 431-436
-Avocado Post Harvest Op Report FAO 2004
-Unlu N, Bohn T, Clinton S, Schwartz S. et al Carotenoid Absorption from Salad and Salsa by Humans is Enhaced by the Addition of Avocado or Avocado Oil
-Morton, J. 1987. Avocado. p. 91–102. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL