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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Avocado: my new best friend

Every morning I make breakfast before I leave for work. After sipping on my cup of freshly brewed Peet’s French Roast coffee, I make egg whites topped with Parmesan shavings and half an avocado. Mmm… Avocado. It’s the absolute favorite food in our house.

I was at a produce meeting a few weeks ago (the Fresh Produce & Floral Council based in Southern California). David from the California Avocado Commission was a guest speaker and he announced to us that this particular day was special. It was the official beginning of the California avocado season.

I had never really thought much about avocado seasons. I do know that at various times of the year, they come from California, Mexico, Chile and sometimes the Dominican Republic and New Zealand. Avocados are an alternate bearing crop, so one year the crop will be large, the next year it will be smaller. And in the last few years the avocado industry has been stricken with fires, high winds, freezes – you name it.

After David’s talk, I paid closer attention to the avocados I was eating. I go to my local market to buy produce two or three times a week, and I like to buy the 4-pack mesh bags of avocados. I buy them still hard and green and leave them on my counter surrounded by ripe yellow bananas – so they can ripen faster. (Bananas and apples give off a natural ethylene gas that helps avocados ripen.) Since I am now getting the Hass variety avocados, the outside skin turns black as they ripen. Once they are soft (like a peach), I keep them in the refrigerator until I use them.

I was amazed to notice that the new-crop California avocados really ARE different than those from Mexico and Chile that I was eating previously. The avocados from California seem to have a more consistent, creamy texture and light green color. For my palette, the flavor is smoother.

I think back to the 1980s when the folks at the California Avocado Commission, headed by the late Ralph Pinkerton, Jr., enlisted a very attractive spokesperson, TV star Angie Dickinson, to promote avocados. Check out this YouTube video that is over 20 years old!


Back then, there was only one kind of fat. Bad fat. Now, thanks to research, we know that avocados are an excellent source of so many nutrients and that the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content can actually help you absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as beta-carotene and lutein.

I love my avocados (as does every member of my family), whether they are on top of an omelet at breakfast, in guacamole for snacks, or as a dessert in avocado bread! Yum!

Now that you know how to ripen them, I encourage you to use avocados more often. They are good for you!

Karen

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5 comments:

  1. Here's a recent article about how Avocados help fight heart disease: http://www.compassnewspaper.com/NG/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48891:how-avocado-pear-fights-heart-diseases-&catid=45:health&Itemid=692

    You can get Avocados (25 pounds a carton) at South Coast Packing and Cold Storage in Santa Ana (Harbor/Warner).

    The Avocados can be put in mesh bags for an additional fee. Great opportunity for fundraisers! AND - a fresh Avocado helps you taste the sweetness of Shabat.

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  2. Need to go buy some Avocados now!

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  3. I love the avocado fundraiser. Much better than candy!

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  4. Hi Karen and all avocado lovers.
    Great information - thanks.
    Interestingly enough, this morning I was reading through a magazine "Taste" published by Fisher & Paykel Appliances and it included a recipe for avocado margaritas. Sounds weird I know but on reading further I'm impressed and am going to try it. It's recommended as especially wonderful to serve during the Winter holidays (consistency of smooth egg nogg) but it would be wonderful at a Summer picnic. It's from a cocktail book "Market-Fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert. Try it and post your input here.
    Cheers to avocados, Karen, Summer and good friends.

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  5. Whenever I see an avocado, I am reminded of a woman in the grocery store who was standing at the avocado basket with an avocado in each hands and a deep, contemplative stare.

    Thinking out loud, she said "I don't know, there's a lot of fat in these." Being nosy, I said "It's the good kind of fat. It comes from a tree. Just eat it."

    We are constantly bombarded with mixed messages about diet and nutrition. It is sad to me that this wonderful fruit had such a bad rap for so long.

    Today's problem is much greater, as we ship foods long distances; it's really important to get exotic fruits as close to home as possible. For us, it's probably Guatemala as I live in the Northeast and there's not an avocado tree to be found for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. But I still like them and get them on occasion.

    Thank you for this post! It was a great read!

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