Wednesday, July 8, 2009

BUY: Avocados

If avocados have a season, I think it would be now, though in most parts of N. America they are available all year round, and should certainly be purchased all year round in my opinion.

I've always thought this succulent, rich, buttery fruit is a staple on everyone's kitchen counter as it is on mine, but have come to learn that this isn't necessarily true (but in my opinion it certainly should be). Avocados are not only rich in flavour, they are rich in nutrients. As well as containing 60% more potassium than bananas, they are rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K, and contain the most fiber of any other fruit. Unfortunately, they also contain a whole ton of fat, but it's the good fat that our bodies need to absorb all these fantastic nutrients, which means in moderation they are still very good for you. The picture above comes from this site, which contains much more info on all the health benefits associated with the yummy avocado.

But, I'm here to tell you about the taste benefits, because of those there are also many! First off, it needs to be said that in most cases avocados are not sold ripe. They often need to be ripened on your kitchen counter for 3 or 4 days, even up to a week. The most common variety are Hass, and you'll often see them in the grocery store to be green in colour and firm to the touch. They are ripe when the skin turns darker, almost black, and there is some give to the touch. I'm now in the habit of buying a few avocados every time I'm buying produce. That way, when I have a recipe that calls for them, or I just need a quick snack I always have them ripe and ready (ripened, avocados will keep in the fridge for few more days).

Once they are ripe, the possibilities are endless. My favorite is straight up, as a snack. In fact, they are one of my favorite snacks. Simply mash one whole avocado with a sprinkling of salt and a splash of lime juice. Serve with tortilla chips, or on a toasted pita. Yum. This same mixture can also be labelled "guacamole" and served on everything from sandwiches to fajitas, even in burgers or smothered on a toasted English muffin and topped with a poached egg. Yum (again).

Dice avocados to toss into your favorite salads, or slice them to make a simple BLT out-of-this-world. Mash them and layer them with refried beans, sour cream and salsa for a fun party dip. Cut them in half, scoop out the flesh, and use the shells as a "bowl" for an elegant presentation of a nice salad using the avocado as the main ingredient.

There really are so many more delicious ways to use your avocados. Trust me, they won't go to waste. So next time you are shopping (and then the time after that, and the time after that), buy a few. They'll soon become a regular on your shopping list, right after eggs, milk and bread.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I love avocados!!! Guac is one of my favorites or just sliced on toasted bread. droolll....