Avocados are delicious and if you’ve heard anything about them, you’ve probably heard they have the “good” fat. The good fat helps your body absorb fat soluble vitamins such as alpha and beta carotene and lutein. Avocados have vitamins K, E, C B6, folates, potassium, magnesium, fiber, niacin, riboflavin and has all 8 essential amino acids. Whew! It also is an anti-inflammatory and filled with caroterioids (which are really good for you).
The most popular avocado on the market at the moment is the Hass avocado (95% of California’s crop – and California grows 90% of the world’s crop). Well – it turns out there is a Mr. Hass. Mr. Rudolph Hass was first a door to door salesman (selling socks and ties for men) and then worked at the post office for 10 years earning twenty five cents an hour. In 1925 he bought an acre and a half grove filled with avocado trees (he read an article that you could proverbially grow money on these trees). He was grafting different trees together found that some of these new trees produced a sweeter, better avocado (and then in 1935 he patented this tree – who knew you could patent a tree). As a side note: Mr. Hass earned about $5,000 off of this patent – the Hass avocado did not come into it’s “glory” until the 1970s (and patents only last for 17 years, apparently).
Avocado trees are harvested by hand (by 30 foot ladders and 14 foot clippers) and each tree can produce up to 500 avocados (although normally 150) – and produce fruit year round.
How do you know if an avocado is ripe? It is firm yet will yield to gentle pressure. If you have a very hard avocado – you can speed the ripening process by putting the avocado in a paper bag with an apple or banana (because they give off ethylene gas which is a ripening agent). If you want to stop the ripening process – but your avocados in the fridge until you are ready to eat them (this can work for 2-3 days – a week will be pushing it). After you cut the avocado you can keep it from oxidizing (turning brown) by sprinkling lemon juice (or vinegar). If you want your guacamole to not turn brown you can keep the avocado pit with the dip (also, I find if you keep it in a zip lock bag with all the air pushed out – that will also keep your guacamole green until you are ready to eat it).
My children like ripe avocados spread onto a rice cake (as do I) and you could top it with a plump slice of tomato for good measure. My children are known to eat them out of the peel with a spoon. So, really no recipes are needed for a ripe avocado, but, if you aren’t in the mood for straight avocado – here are some neat things you can do with this fruit that seems like it’s a vegetable (it’s green after all).
- 2 mushy ripe avocados (peeled and mushed and save the pit)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cayenne or Tabasco (optional)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. You can make guacamole without the mayonnaise but I like it creamy. Instead of salsa you can add 1/4 cup diced onions and 1/4 cup diced tomatoes. Then you can put your dip in a fancy bowl and eat with chips. Tips: if you are preparing the guacamole before eating – keep one of the pits in the guacamole and put it in a zip lock bag with all of the air squeezed out (this will help prevent browning).
Sour Cream Avocado Dip:
- 2 firm peeled and pitted avocadoes grated
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 bag of chips/corn chips/ pretzels/ scoops
Mix first 5 ingredients together. Then add the lemon juice and mix together. And voila a yummy different dip.