We’ve talked a lot about foods we should subtract from our diets. Today we are going to talk about adding one of my favorite foods- the avocado.
I’ve always loved avocados. As a Californian I took them for granted. The tree at Gary’s aunt’s house bore so much fruit that it was allowed to fall to the ground and rot. Now I’m happy if I can purchase one for less than a dollar! (They are currently 88-98 cents each.) However, I have to remind myself that I once thought nothing of spending $1 a day on cola.
Avocados have gotten a bad reputation in the past because of their fat content. However, I’ve seen and heard their praises sung lately by health enthusiasts who are becoming aware of their nutritional power.
Before I felt free to add avocado to my salads and sandwiches, or have them as a snack, I compared them to two other foods I had been consuming regularly- peanut butter and sliced cheese. Peanut butter has 210 calories, 17g of fat, 140mg of sodium, 180mg of potassium, and 3g of sugar per serving (2tbsp.). Sliced cheese has 60 calories, 4.5g of fat, 250mg of sodium, 1g of sugar, and 15mg of cholesterol per slice. Avocado has 50 calories, 4.5g of fat, 0 sodium, 0 sugar, 0 cholesterol, and 140mg of potassium per serving (1/5 of a fruit). Plus the avocado contains over a dozen vitamins and minerals, AND it helps your body absorb the minerals contained in other fruits and vegetables eaten with it. Even if I ate a whole small avocado, it would still be a better nutritional choice than peanut butter for a sandwich. I also like avocado, instead of cream cheese, on bagels or crackers.
To learn more about the nutrients in avocados, go to California Avocados
The following serving suggestions are from Julia F. Morton, at avocado. The site also contains information about growing, and about types.
“Indians in tropical America break avocados in half, add salt and eat with tortillas and a cup of coffee—as a complete meal. In North America, avocados are primarily served as salad vegetables, merely halved and garnished with seasonings, lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar, mayonnaise or other dressings. Often the halves are stuffed with shrimp, crab or other seafood. Avocado flesh may be sliced or diced and combined with tomatoes, cucumbers or other vegetables and served as a salad. The seasoned flesh is sometimes used as a sandwich filling. Avocado, cream cheese and pineapple juice may be blended as a creamy dressing for fruit salads.
Mexican guacamole, a blend of the pureed flesh with lemon or lime juice, onion juice or powder, minced garlic, chili powder or Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper has become a widely popular ";dip"; for crackers, potato chips or other snacks. The ingredients of guacamole may vary and some people add mayonnaise.
Because of its tannin content, the flesh becomes bitter if cooked. Diced avocado can be added to lemon-flavored gelatin after cooling and before it is set, and chunks of avocado may be added to hot foods such as soup, stew, chili or omelets just before serving. In Guatemalan restaurants, a ripe avocado is placed on the table when a hot dish is served and the diner scoops out the flesh and adds it just before eating. For a “gourmet" breakfast, avocado halves are warmed in an oven at low heat, then topped with scrambled eggs and anchovies.
In Brazil, the avocado is regarded more as a true fruit than as a vegetable and is used mostly mashed in sherbet, ice cream, or milk shakes. Avocado flesh is added to heated ice cream mixes (such as boiled custard) only after they have cooled. If mashed by hand, the fork must be a silver one to avoid discoloring the avocado. A New Zealand recipe for avocado ice cream is a blend of avocado, lemon juice, orange juice, grated orange rind, milk, cream, sugar and salt, frozen, beaten until creamy, and frozen again.
Some Oriental people in Hawaii also prefer the avocado sweetened with sugar and they combine it with fruits such as pineapple, orange, grapefruit, dates, or banana.
In Java, avocado flesh is thoroughly mixed with strong black coffee, sweetened and eaten as a dessert.
Avocado slices have been pickled and marketed in glass jars. California began marketing frozen guacamole in 1951, and a frozen avocado whip, developed at the University of Miami, was launched in 1955. To help prevent enzymatic browning of these products, it is recommended that sodium bisulfate and/or ascorbic acid be mixed in before freezing.”
If you haven’t tried avocados, or haven’t been a big fan in the past, I hope you will give them some consideration this week. Enjoy!