What is it?
First of all, the avocado is a fruit, even though it may taste like a vegetable. When you purchase an avocado in the store it’s often pretty firm, even hard, when you buy it. Then, in a few days on your countertop, it gets softer. That is because avocados ripen after harvesting, when the fruit begins releasing a chemical similar to that of a banana.
Avocados provide nearly twenty essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. They also act as a ‘nutrient booster’ by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, like beta-carotene and lutein. The avocado has a higher ‘good fat’ content than most other fruits. A generous helping of avocado on a regular basis has all sorts of health benefits, including those little things we love like shiny strong hair and nails, and younger looking and feeling skin. Of course, there are those big things, too, like lowering cholesterol.
How to eat
To tell if an avocado is ripe, hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze gently. It should yield to a gentle pressure. A ripe avocado is easy to peel if you cut down lengthwise and twist the avocado slightly to split it in half. The pit can be popped out by inserting the blade of a knife into the pit and giving a nudge. Then, use the knife tip to slice through the flesh of the avocado, but not the outside peel, in sections and turn the nubby peeling inside-out and the ripe flesh will pop out.
The flesh of an avocado is prone to browning, just like an apple once it’s exposed to much air. To prevent this, lemon juice or lime juice can be sprinkled on the avocado after the peeling is removed. Not only does the citrus juice slow the browning process, but it compliments the flavor of the avocado. In fact, avocado dishes often call for the addition of fresh lime or lemon juice.
Generally, avocado is served raw because many varieties cannot be cooked without turning bitter. However, there are a few dishes that call for brief heating in the oven just until the avocado is warmed through. Some of the more popular uses of avocado is in guacamole or other types of salsas, atop a bright green salad, or even on hamburgers and sandwiches. Avocados are found in many varieties of sushi, too.
One of favorite ways to enjoy an avocado is to put into a smoothie. I’ll mix some
- protein powder
- 1/4 avocado
- 1/4 c berries
- ice cubes
Give avocados a try today and find out how easy it is to incorporate this powerhouse fruit into your diet. Leave me a comment below and let me know your favorite way to enjoy them.