I can’t even tell you how much I love avocados. I’ve tried before and felt that I came up short, so I figure why even try? Suffice to say, I could eat two every single day for the rest of my life and want more. I use them in guacamole (of course), on paninis, in tossed salads, in pasta salads, on pizza, in tacos, in fajitas, and I’ve even put them into scrambled eggs before.
I also love to slice them, remove the pit, and sprinkle a little fresh lemon juice inside. Then I toss a little finely chopped tomato with a little olive oil and salt and glob the tomato mixture onto the avocado. If I have fresh cilantro on hand, I sprinkle some on top. Then I have a party in my mouth. Naturally, I also simply slice them and eat them quite often as well.
A year or so ago, while reading a favorite cookbook, Nigella Express, I came across this quote from the beautiful author: “I eat an enormous amount of avocados…. (I remember reading) when I was really quite young, just in my teens, that the dogs that lived in avocado orchards always had shiny, glossy coats because of all the windfall fruit they snaffled up daily. That image has stuck with me, and it is such an appealing one. I always have it in mind as I prepare myself an avocado, which is often.”
Ever since reading that quote, I picture Nigella’s gorgeous hair when I cut open an avocado!
Below you’ll find a wealth of Avocado information – how to pick an avocado, how to cut an avocado, how to prepare an avocado, the nutritional values of avocados, a guacamole recipe, and a Chicken and Avocado Pizza recipe. Have mercy! The avocado recipes below (as well as the ones linked to at the end of this Mega Avocado Post) can give you the power to have the best Superbowl Snacks on the block when the Colts and the Saints fight it out for the big one. This has nothing to do with avocados or even cooking, but for the first time EVER, I honestly don’t care which team wins this year – I like them about the same. Peyton Manning is a class act and the Colts are a classy organization -what’s not to like about them? At the same time, the Saints are a lot of fun to watch and they’ve really built their program up to a position of dominance. It’d be great to see them rewarded for all their hard work.
I guess I’ll just sit back and enjoy the game, almost as much as the snacks!
Guacamole Monster Dip Recipe
1 fully ripened Avocado from Mexico – halved, pitted and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon wasabi
1 cup plain thick Greek-style yogurt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- In bowl, combine avocado, yogurt, ginger, salt, wasabi, garlic, and lime juice; stir until well mixed.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Garnish with chopped chives, if desired.
- Serve as a dip with chips or vegetables or topping for iceberg lettuce wedges or romaine hearts.
Preparation time is about 5 minutes. Yields about 1-1/2 cups.
Chicken and Avocado Pizza Recipe
California-style pizza, ready to enjoy in less than 15 minutes | Serves 2-4
1 12-inch Boboli ready-made pizza crust
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/4 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco
1 cup cooked shredded chicken
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 fully ripened Avocado from Mexico, halved pitted, peeled and sliced
-Heat oven to 425°F. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet; bake crust 7 minutes.
-In small bowl, combine pizza sauce and Tabasco.
-Spread pizza with sauce; top with chicken, Avocado and cheese.
-Bake until crust is crisp on the bottom, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Yields 8 slices.
Nutritional Information for Avocados:
- One-fifth of a medium avocado (3 slices), or about one ounce, has only 50 calories.
- Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including 4% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E, 4% vitamin C, 8% folate, 4% fiber, 2% iron, 4% potassium, with 81 micrograms of lutein and 19 micrograms of beta-carotene.
- Avocados contribute good fats to one’s diet, providing 3 grams monounsaturated fat and 0.5 polyunsaturated grams fat per 1 oz. serving.
- Avocados have a favorable unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio of 3.5 grams to 0.5 grams, making them a great substitute for foods rich in saturated fats.
- Avocados can help consumers meet the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association (AHA), which are to eat a diet that is low to moderate in fat. According to the AHA, mono and polyunsaturated fats, when consumed in moderation and eaten in place of saturated or trans fats, can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease.
- Avocados are cholesterol- and sodium-free, and more than 50 percent of the fruit’s fat content comes from monounsaturated fats. The avocado is virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat.
- Avocados act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene as well as lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
- Avocados contain 76 milligrams beta-sitosterol in a 3-oz serving of avocado. Beta-sitosterol is a natural plant sterol which may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- Avocados contain 81 micrograms of the carotenoid lutein in a 1 oz. serving, which some studies suggest may help maintain healthy eyes.
How to Choose the Perfect Avocado from Mexico
(Or, How to recognize your Hass!)
- Avocados from Mexico are available year round. You can spot a ripe Hass Avocado from Mexico by its green-black pebbly textured skin.
- Look for the “Avocados from Mexico” sticker
- It appears on only the finest Avocados imported from Mexico.
- Hass has heft
- When you hold the Avocado, it should feel heavy for its size and have no mushy spots.
Get it ripe
Avocados mature on the tree, but they soften and develop their fullest flavor after picking. You can count on a firm green Avocado to ripen within three to four days. If the skin is a mottled color – green with black patches – it will be ready for use in a shorter time, two to three days.
Need your Avocado now?
If you need Avocados to use right away, look for fruit whose skin has turned dark green or black. The Avocado should yield to gentle pressure from a thumb.
Avocado Ripening and Storage Information
How to tell if your Avocado is ripe
To determine if your Avocado from Mexico is ripe, gently press on the bottom with your finger; ripe Avocados will feel slightly soft. And when shopping for and storing Avocados, use this guide:
Storing ripe Avocados
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.
How to Cut and Prepare an Avocado
Using a sharp knife, cut into the Avocado straight down, longitudinally (from top to bottom) until you hit the pit.
Take the Avocado and twist it until it separates into two halves, one of which will contain the pit.
Carefully strike the pit with your knife. Using a twisting motion, use the knife’s leverage to loosen and dislodge the pit.
With a spoon, gently scoop away the Avocado’s flesh from the outer skin.
Your Avocado is now ready to make your appetizer or entrée a work of culinary art.
Ways to Serve Avocados
Avocados are most commonly used to make guacamole, but they are so versatile and can be incorporated into many other dishes like main entrees,, salads, dips, desserts, and sandwiches.
Avocados substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce dietary intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Images, recipes, and information are courtesy of www.theamazingavocado.com. Visit their site for hundreds of recipes. I just found one for Fish Tacos that I’ll be trying this week (I’d make it tonight if I didn’t already have a huge pot of Great Northern beans, potatoes, and ham cooking!). Another favorite is the Portabella Burgers with Avocado Spread. I’ve linked you to the page containing these recipes – be sure to browse around for more. That’s where I’m headed!