Avocado – fruit… or big ole vitamin pill?

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I dearly love avocados, and have been enjoying them with abandon since they dropped in price over the last several months.  I paid as much as $1.89 a piece last summer, but these days I can catch them on sale for as little as 69 cents (yesterday at Wal-mart).  They are from Mexico, but hey, I can’t tell the difference.

sstealing avocados

I’ve heard there are people in Florida and California who have avocado trees in their yards. I’m green with envy.

Avocados are often called one of nature’s perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive.  I know I could live off them.

When I was a little girl, Mother would half an avocado for me for dinner – back then we had dinner at lunch and lunch at dinner.   She would drizzle it with Italian dressing, and I would eat it out of the shell with a spoon and go to bed a happy kid.  Unfortunately, now days, I eat a half an avocado along with a meal which is way too many calories.

My friend Ty Thames, owner of several local restaurants has a delectable stuffed avocado on his appetizer menu.  He mixes the pulp with cheese (he hasn’t said, but I’m thinking provolone), and some other good stuff like tomato and onion, and bakes them in the oven.  They are heavenly.

Believe it or not, avocado puree freezes quite well, but may be slightly watery. To freeze, scoop out the avocado pulp and mash it with 2 tablespoons of lime juice (to preserve the color). Pack into an airtight container, leaving ½ inch headspace, and freeze for up to 6 months.

Thaw in the refrigerator before using. Use thawed puree within 3 days. Unfortunately, whole and sliced avocados do not freeze well.

The creamy flesh of an avocado gives this food — which is botanically a fruit — an indulgent quality. However, ounce for ounce, avocados are actually one of the healthiest foods around. Not only are they rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, they also contain large amounts of potassium, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and vitamin B6. Best of all, you can enjoy avocados on all Phases of the South Beach Diet.

Buying avocados
There are dozens of varieties of avocados. The two most commonly found in supermarkets are California varieties: the Hass (pebbly black skin) and Fuerte (green skin). When selecting any variety of avocado, choose a heavy, unblemished fruit. Remember that most avocados sold in supermarkets aren’t ripe — so plan ahead if you’re making guacamole or some other dish using avocados since they take a few days to ripen.

Storing avocados
You can ripen hard avocados at room temperature for three to six days. However, you can accelerate this process by storing the avocados in a paper bag. Putting an apple or banana into the bag will make ripening even quicker, because both fruits emit methane, a gas that speeds the process. To test whether your avocados are ripe, give them a gentle squeeze; ripe fruit will yield to pressure without denting. Overripe avocados will dent.

You can store ripe fruit in the refrigerator for up to three days. Keeping the pit in the avocado helps prevent discoloration, but if your avocado is already cut, rub the surface with lemon juice. Brown discoloration won’t affect the nutritional value or flavor of an avocado.

Enjoying avocados
Slice ripe avocados and eat them plain, as a salad topping, or layered on sandwiches and wraps. Or toss them on the grill:

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Try this Grilled Avocados Recipe tonight with a fish or chicken dinner & you will be thanking me daily.  Enjoy!

  • 8 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat your grill,, and place peeled and pitted avocado halves in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place avocados on the grill, cut side down. Grill for 1 full minute on each side.  That’s it!

To pit an avocado, slice it lengthwise from end to end and twist to separate the two halves. Using a sharp knife, tap the knife’s tip into the pit and twist gently to remove. To prevent the scooped-out avocado from going brown on you,  squeeze lemon juice over it or add lemon juice to whatever you’re making with it.

Get a load of the nutrients you can consume in one avocado:

Macronutrients:

Water: 125.13 g

Calories: 289

Protein: 3.39 g

Carbohydrates: 14.95 g

Fiber: 11.8 g

Sugars: 0.52 g

Total Fat: 26.66 g

Saturated Fat: 3.678 g

Monounsaturated Fat: 16.952 g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.142 g

Cholesterol:0 mg

Micronutrients:

Calcium: 22 mg

Iron: 1.06 mg

Magnesium: 50 mg

Phosphorus: 93 mg

Potassium: 877 mg

Sodium: 14 mg

Zinc: 1.18 mg

Vitamin C: 15.2 mg

Thiamin: 0.130 mg

Riboflavin: 0.247 mg

Niacin: 3.308 mg

Pantothenic Acid: 2.531 mg

Vitamin B6: 0.497 mg

Vitamin B12: 0 mcg

Folate: 154 mcg

Vitamin A: 254 IU

Vitamin E: 3.41

Vitamin K: 42.2 mcg

Phytonutrients:

Phytosterols: 143 mg

beta Carotene: 109 mcg

beta Cryptoxanthin: 47 mcg

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: 469 mcg

Source of Information:USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

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