Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Avocados




Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

The avocado originated from Central America, but is now grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates around the world.

Avocados are used not only in salads and the ever popular guacamole, but also in breads, desserts, main dishes and non-culinary creams for facials and body massages.

The Taiwanese eat avocados with milk and sugar, Indonesians mix them with milk, coffee and rum for a cold drink, and the Filipinos puree them with sugar and milk to make a dessert drink. Brazilians add avocados to ice cream. Latin Americans wrap avocados up and give them as wedding gifts.

The avocado tree leaves are used in some parts of Mexico. Both green and dried leaves can be used for wrapping tamales, or seasoning for barbecues and stews.

The avocado is widely considered a vegetable, since it is commonly used in salads. However, it is actually a fruit that tastes like a vegetable, and most markets display it with other tropical fruits. The fruit is harvested from tall trees, which grow in groves. Most are grown in tropical climates, primarily in Mexico, California, Hawaii, and Florida.

It was discovered in Mexico approximately 291 B.C. The Spanish brought it to the English. The early Spanish explorers discovered the Aztecs enjoying avocados, but it was long considered a tasteless food.

The two main kind of avocados found in the USA are: Haas, which are black and with bumpy skin currently being grown in California; and Fuerte, a thin, smooth skinned variety grown in Florida.

The avocado is a fruit that has a mild nutty flavor and a smooth, buttery texture. It can be round to pear-shaped, thick to thin-skinned, green to purplish-black, and smooth skinned to bumpy skinned. The flesh is a very pale green color.

Selecting a quality product

Like most fruits, avocados do not fully ripen until picked, so fresh ones will be hard. Select an avocado that yields to gentle pressure, yet is firm. It should be unblemished and heavy for its size. Another test for ripeness is to take off the stem. If it is green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If it is brown underneath, it is not ripe. If there is a hollow between the flesh and the skin or if you shake it and can feel the pit moving, do not buy it.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Tips on Storage

Do not store unripened fruit in the refrigerator. After being chilled, they will never ripen properly. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator, unpeeled, for up to two weeks.

Tips on cooking

A unripened avocado is easy to ripen at home. Avocados are one of the rare fruits that ripen better after they are picked - like bananas and pears. Just place an avocado in a brown paper bag at room temperature, and three days later, you will have a ripe avocado.

When cutting an avocado, remember that there is a huge pit in the center. When you have halved the avocado, hit the pit with a chopping motion with the blade of your knife and twist. The pit should come loose without damaging the flesh. OR - slice it lengthwise all the way around to the pit. Then gently twist each side in an opposite direction to separate halves. The pit should remain in one side. Slip a large spoon in between the skin and the meat and scoop out the tender flesh or peel and slice.

Once the flesh is cut, it will oxidize and turn brown rapidly, so always add cut avocado immediately before serving, or add lemon juice or lime juice to it to prevent discoloration.




Recipes

Grilled Avocado Quesadillas

Makes 4 to 6 servings

4 flour tortillas
1 avocado
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup grated jack cheese
1 jalapeņo pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cups prepared salsa
1 cup sour cream

Prepare a bed of coals or preheat the gas grill. Remove the avocado from the skin, mash and spread over two of the tortillas. Sprinkle the scallions, jack cheese and jalapeņo over the avocado. Cover each with a tortilla. Place on the grill and cook for two minutes. Carefully turn and cook for two more minutes. Cut each quesadilla into 6 pieces with a pizza cutter and serve with your favorite salsa.




Avocado and Mozzarella Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Makes 8 servings

Tomatoes:

2 avocados, cut in 1/2" cubes
6 ounces mozzarella, cut in 1/2" cubes
4 large, ripe tomatoes

Dressing:

5 large cloves garlic; chopped
1 tablespoon basil; fresh chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
Red leaf lettuce for garnish
Garlic chives for garnish

Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out insides. Set each half on top of lettuce garnished plate. In a blender, add garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, oil and white wine. Blend and adjust according to taste. Toss with avocado and mozzarella cubes until completely coated. Stuff tomatoes with mixture and garnish with garlic chives or other garnish stuck into tomatoes.




Aloha Avocado Pie

1 can (15 1/4 oz) pineapple tidbits
3 whole eggs; separated
1/4 cup water
1 whole envelope plain gelatin
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 med avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup sour cream
9" crumb pie shell

1. Drain pineapple, saving syrup.

2. Beat together egg yolks, syrup, and water.

3. Mix gelatin, 2 teaspoons sugar, and salt.

4. Combine with egg yolks and cook over low heat, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Cool.

5. Sieve or mash avocado and mix with lemon juice and sour cream.

6. Add to gelatin mixture.

7. Chill, stirring once or twice, until mixture is partially set and mounds.

8. Beat egg whites; gradually add remaining sugar.

9. Fold gelatin mixture and pineapple into egg whites.

10. Turn into crumb crust and chill at least 4 hours.




Avocado Cake With Dates

Yield: 12 Servings

Nonstick cooking spray or butter
1 1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed avocados, about 1 1/2 avocados
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup chopped dates
Powdered sugar (opt)
Additional dates, slivered

Spray a nonstick 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or lightly brush with butter.

Sift together cake flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Blend together avocados, eggs and milk in small bowl. Stir into dry ingredients along with dates until blended. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees 30 to 35 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Garnish top with a few slivers of dates, if desired.

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