Avocado is a fruit vegetable. Although high in caloric content per serving, it is packed with nutrients that help booster the absorption of fat soluble vitamins in the body such as alpha and beta carotene and lutein when food rich in these nutrients are consumed with avocado.
Avocado originally is a native of tropical america.and is widespread in Peru, Guatemala,Costa Rica and Western States of America. The fruit is shaped like an elongated pear with greenish or yellowish leathery skin. The flesh is green with brownish vein and a semi firm consistency when ripe. In the middle of the fruit is a single seed covered with brown bark-like skin. The skin of some exotic varieties are light to dark green or purplish in color and have smooth skin.
Israeli’s were the first people to bring avocado out from its land of origin. In a short while ,they produced sufficient amounts of avocado to supply the entire European market.
There are many kinds of avocado found in major supermarkets,ethnic grocery stores and farmers market. If you live in California, farmers market is the best place to get good buys during the summer months. Backyard growers sell numerous varieties of avocados that is not normally sold commercially because some are difficult to transport. My favorite one is the mexicola,which is the smallest of all the avocados. It is a Mexican variety . The fruit ripens in late summer. The skin is smooth, glossy with a purplish tinge.The seed is large relative to the fruit, except for the seed, the skin and flesh is edible and very delicious.
The following types of avocado are sold commercially .
Fuerte is the best known variety and ripens in November to June . it is a Mexican-Guatemalan variety. This avocado tree is sensitive to climate changes. Fuerte flowers early making it susceptible to frost and wind. The skin is thin and has a mild nutty flavor.
Bacon is a Mexican variety and ripens in November to march. It has smooth to medium thin skin and a greenish to yellowish flesh and good flavor
Zutano is a Mexican variety. The fruit is medium size ahd has a thin green skin and fair flavor. The fruit ripens in October to February.
Hass is a Guatemalan avocado and ripens in April to November. The skin is thick and pebbly and has a rich nutty flavor.
Jim is a long necked Mexican avocado that ripens in October to January. The skin is thin and very smooth. The flesh has a creamy texture.
Reed originated from Guatemala. The fruit is round ,about the size of a softball,with rough skin. The flesh is buttery and has excellent flavor.
Occasionally, you will find a finger size and shaped avocado called cocktail avocado. This can be found sold in upscale supermarkets or farmers markets during the summer months. These fruit are formed after the embryo of the pollinated Mexican -type avocado dies due to dry winds .This avocado is pricey . But if you wish to impress your friends,serve it in your cocktail parties as a crudite. Just wash, pat dry and serve, and make sure the avocado is firm and ripe, otherwise it is bitter.
One cup of ripe avocado (about 150 grams) provides 240 calories.22 grams fat,3grams saturated fat,3grams protein,about 219 IU of Vitamin A, the B vitamins ,folate,panthothenic acid, and choline. Minerals in avocado are calcium,iron, magnesium,potassium,Zinc,copper,manganese and sodium, It also is a source of lycopene and other plant sterols.
The fats in avocado is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
If you love mexican food, avocado is a delightful accompaniment to many mexician dishes like tacos,burritos etc. The fruit marries well with tomatoes,chilies,lemon and cilantro,producing a mouth watering dish called guacamole. Guacamole is a great dip for crudite and as accompaniment to tortilla chips.
Avocado when in season is relatively inexpensive . 1/8 of a medium avocado equals to 1 serving of fat. Use avocado in place of mayonnaise when making a sandwich. Cube firm ripe fruit and add to fresh salad. Make ice cream or guacamole out of overriped avocado. I eat avocado by squeezing the juice of a lemon and salt on the fruit and scooping it with a spoon.
If you happen to purchase unripe avocados and would like to use some, here’s what you do. Take a paring knife and make one deep slit on the avocado . Put the avocado in the microwave oven and microwave first for 2 minutes. If the avocado is still hard, microwave again for another minute. To ripen unripe avocado, put in a brown paper bag and store in your pantry shelf.Avocado usually ripens in 4-7 days. If the avocado is immature, the fruit will shrivel and eventually soften but the taste is inferior to the mature ripe avocado.
Heres a recipe for guacamole:
4 medium size avocado
2 pcs. serrano pepper,wash,cut in halve to remove stem,seed and seed cavity.Mince.
2 handfull of minced fresh cilantro leaves
juice of 1 lemon
4oz non fat sour cream
1 tsp garlic powder
Wash avocado.Cut in half. Remove and discard seed and cavity.
Put avocado,serrano pepper,minced cilantro,juice of lemon sour cream and salt and pepper in blender.
Correct seasonings to your taste.
Serve with crudite or baked tortilla chips.