2010-04-10

AVOCADO , THE FERTILITY FRUIT

The avocado originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The word 'avocado' comes from the Spanish 'aguacate', which in turns comes from the Nahuatl word 'ahuacatl' meaning testicle, a reference to the shape of the fruit. Avocados were known by the Aztecs as 'the fertility fruit', they thought its consumption increased a man's ability to father children, of course there is no evidence to support such belief.


Together with olives, avocado is one of the only 2 fruits where oil is extracted from the flesh rather than the seed, so it can be properly called extra virgin oil. The nutritional and health benefits of avocado oil are at least equal to olive's oil, some say are better, and since avocados produce faster and are more productive, some European olive oil producers are concerned about future competition. Avocado oil is turning up in specialty food shops, health stores and other venues with increasing frequency and I must say it is a good thing, it is high time those high priced extra virgin olive oils got some competition. If you ever come by a bottle of avocado oil give it a try, I am certain you will positively impressed. With my French bread I will take avocado oil over olive oil any time and on a salad with avocado slices there is nothing better than avocado oil in the dressing.

Avocados are very easy to grow on well drained terrain, excess humidity rots the roots and kills the plant, you will never see and avocado tree growing in a swamp. The best trees for growing at home are grafted trees from varieties that produce quality fruit. Trees grown from seed usually grow too tall and produce small fruits that are hard to reach.

Avocados can be bought in 2 stages of ripeness, green (verde) which feel hard to the touch, ripe (maduro) which yield to pressure with your fingers but leave no mark, if pressure leaves a mark then it is over ripe and should be used for recipes that call for mashing. There are no applications for green avocados there are many for ripe avocados.

Some countries like Brazil treat avocadoes as if they were a sweet fruit and make sherbets (with sugar and lemon), smoothies (with sugar and yogurt), shakes (with milk and sugar) or ice cream ( with cream and sugar).

There are many varieties of avocados, from 0.25 Kg (0.5 Lb) to 1.5 Kg (3 Lb), from rugged skin to smooth skin, from dark purple to shiny green. The Hass variety produced in California is well known to north Americans, however that variety is rare throughout Latin America where large, green and smooth skin varieties are more common. For a look at different varieties follow this link: Avocado varieties

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Persea americana


ENGLISH NAME: Avocado

LOCAL NAMES: Aguacate, Palta, Abacate (Brasil)

PRODUCTS: Avocado oil

NUTRIENTS:  Avocados are an excellent source of potassium, vitamins B and E, monounsaturated fatty acids, and fiber. Avocados contain a high level of monosaturates (unsaturated fatty acids). The oils contained in avocados include oleic and linoleic acids. Studies show that those oils may help to lower cholesterol levels. For more information follow the link: Avocado's nutrients

PROCESSING: Avocados can be diced, sliced, mashed or used in whole halfs depending on the recipe to be prepared. The following link will show you all cutting options: How to cut an Avocado

STORING: Avocadoes store well at room temperature. For ripening they should be stored with other fruits like bananas or pineapples. They ripen best slowly, if you need to accelerate it wrap them in newspaper and put them in a warm place like the top of refrigerator or an oven with a pilot. Once cut the avocado flesh oxidizes rather quickly and turns brown, to delay this reaction one can spray with lime juice or brush with oil depending on the recipe to be prepared, cover tightly to avoid exposure to air, use plastic wrap. If the avocado is to be mashed you can place the seed in the mixture until serving, it will delay oxidation.


AVOCADO COCKTAIL: 2 medium size avocadoes diced, 1 small onion finely chopped, 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, juice 1 small lime, drops of hot sauce. Mixed well all ingredients except avocados, add avocados and toss gently to coat in sauce; serve over a bed of lettuce on a plate or martini glass, spray with fresh chopped cilantro before serving.


  
 
AVOCADOS STUFFED WITH SHRIMP: cook 0,5 Kg (1 lb) of clean shrimp quickly over salt water, cool and chill; prepare a sauce with 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, drops of hot sauce; Toss the shrimp in the sauce to coat well; take 3 small ripe avocados and cut in half lengthwise, discard the pit and take flesh out of each half shell in one piece, slice a small section of flesh from the bottom of each half so that they can stand; chop these pieces of avocado flesh and mix with saucy shrimp; place avocado halves on small plates, distribute saucy shrimps over avocados halves, spray with chopped fresh cilantro and serve.


 
PASTA WITH AVOCADO SAUCE: this one will probably shock italians, but it is delicious. Cook 0.75 Kg ( 1.5 Lb) of pasta al dente, (spinach fettucini are my favorite), drain, place in a bowl. Over low heat melt half a stick of butter (4 Tbs), add 1 cup of whipping cream and heat gently, add 3 small avocados ( 2-3 cups) diced and stir to heat thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste,  cover pasta with sauce and toss well, add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and toss, to serve spray chopped parsley over each serving.


AVOCADO SOUP: It is a cold soup very refreshing during a hot day. Take 3 medium size avocados cut in half, discard the pit, with a melon baller cut 4 balls of avocado flesh and spray with lime to avoid browning, if you do not have baller cut 4 thin slices, reserve; place rest of flesh in a blender with 7 cups of warm clear chicken soup ( from cubes if necessary), if you are vegetarian you can use vegetables stock instead, add the juice of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, blend until you get a homogenous cream, if it is too thick add more soup or stock; place cream in refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours before serving; to serve add 1/2 cup of whipping cream and blend briefly; place an avocado ball in each individual serving and spray with finely chopped fresh cilantro.

6 comments:

  1. Oh man, I am going to have to try the pasta. It sounds too crazy to pass.

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  2. Hot damn! I'm gonna have to try the cocoa pops! Crazy!

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  3. Hello,

    Nice post! Avocado is one of the few fruits that have more than 200 calories per 100g. It is one of the world's healthiest fruits much healthier than olives. Thank you...

    Avocados Recipes

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  4. I love Avocado

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  5. thankyou soooo much, it helped alot

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  6. Trying to get pregnant. These recipes are great help! :)

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