Thursday, November 7, 2013

Avocado Tips, Tricks and Recipes!

Oh those delicious avocados!
The avocado is the fruit of a tall evergreen tree (Persea americana).  More specifically the avocado is a single seeded berry that is also known as the "alligator pear" due to its shape and rough leather like texture of the skin.

Why are avocados so healthy for you?
Did you know that an avocado is a great source of fiber and has more potassium and magnesium than a banana?  These nutrients are known to reduce blood pressure.

Although avocados are known to be high in fat (30%), it is a healthy fat.  Avocados are full of mono-unsaturated fat and vitamin E that can reduce bad cholesterol in your blood. Avocados can be used to replace fat in baked goods for a healthier snack. 

Avocados also contain little to no sugar or starch.

 

Speeding up the Ripening Process

 
An avocado commercially ripens after harvesting.  Unfortunately, right when  you want to make guacamole, most of the avocados in the store are hard as rocks.  A way to speed up the ripening process is to place your avocados in a brown paper bag with ripe bananas or apples.
 
The science behind this - Ripe fruit, such as bananas and apples, release a hormone ethylene.  This gas will speed up the ripening process of the avocados.  An avocado that is hard and not ripe placed in a brown paper bag will ripen in 3-6 days at room temperature while an avocado placed in a bag with an apple or bananas will ripen in 1-3 days.  Place ripe avocados in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Do not put an unripe avocado in the refrigerator as the cold damages the cell structure and it will never ripen.
 

Cutting an Avocado

 
To remove the flesh of the avocado;
  • Run a knife around the avocado lengthwise.
  • Twist the two halves and pull apart.
  • Force a knife into the seed, twist and remove from flesh.
  • Slice or dice the flesh with a dinner knife cutting down to the skin, but not through it.
  • Remove flesh with a spoon running it close to the skin and gently remove the flesh.
If you are not comfortable with a knife, you can always pick up a gadget such as the Avocado Slicer that does the slicing and scooping for you!
 

Preventing browning of  your avocado or guacamole

 

When avocados are exposed to air they brown.  This starts to happen as soon as you cut into an avocado.  There are several things you can do to prevent browning.
  • Adding acid, such as lemon or lime juice, prevents oxidation and therefore prevents browning.
  • Cover guacamole with plastic wrap or spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over the top.  This eliminates the air.  When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap or scrape off the layer of mayonnaise.
  • Immerse sliced avocado in cold water.  They will stay fresh for up to 4 hours
The science behind this - Omega-3 fatty acids found in avocados are sensitive to light, air and heat and oxidize when exposed to them causing the avocados to brown and break down.

Avocados are available all year round.  Enjoy this healthy fruit on sandwiches, salads, in soups or as guacamole!  Here are a few of our favorite uses for this tasty fruit.





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