Avocados are a fruit that are a huge hit with health-conscious people. It is unlike any other fruit as it is not sweet and is high on good fats instead of carbohydrates. A ripe avocado has a mild buttery taste, a bit similar to tender coconut but not sweet at all.
I got to taste this fruit for the first time in the US and was hooked on to it instantly. When we moved back to India, we found a variety of avocados in India that is called butterfruit in Bangalore. I remember that a relative served the mashed pulp with sugar reigniting fond food memories. What do you know! We planted a seed in our backyard. Nine years later (yes, patience pays!), we have a tall avocado tree that bears copious fruits. I have been experimenting with many recipes since I have a bounty to play with. Though, I do still love to consume it just as it is, guacamole is a favorite in my house. Have it with nachos/chips or spread it on your toasted bread, it is immensely satisfying. You can also use avocado in your salads. My children love the avocado smoothie which is made by blending avocado pulp with some sugar and milk. You could try a variation by using avocado and banana and blending it with milk. Both are tasty and nutritious.
Tips to choose the right avocado and ripen it:
The avocados are generally sold unripe. Choose the ones that are a bright green with white spots all over. These ripen well within 2-3 days. Do not buy ripe ones unless you are immediately consuming them. Store your unripe avocados in a paper cover along with bananas or apples. They help to ripen the avocados. Once ripe, the Indian avocados look blackish in colour. They are also soft to touch and when pressed yield. That is the right time to cut it open. The flesh is a pale yellow with a green tinge.
Here are some health benefits of avocados:
It is very high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folate, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6 and Potassium. It contains more than 10% of your RDA for each of those in just one fruit of 100 gm. It has more Potassium than bananas which is important to regulate your electrolyte balance, lower blood pressure and avoid muscle cramps.
One fruit typically has 160 Calories having 5 gms. Fiber, 2 gms. Protein, 15 gms. of healthy fats and 2 gms. of carbohydrates.
It contains no cholesterol or sodium.
77% of its calories come from fat. It contains monosaturated oleic acid which is a heart healthy fatty acid that reduces inflammation.
It is high in fiber which is excellent for gut health. It has 7% of its weight in fiber which is very high.
Here is a simple recipe of Guacamole that can be stirred up in a jiffy:
2 ripe avocados (the avocados must yield to pressure and feel soft when ripe. Indian varieties turn black on ripening)
6-8 cloves of garlic mashed
Lemon juice from 1 large lemon
1 large onion finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes chopped
2 green chillies/jalapenos finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp. cilantro/coriander leaves chopped
Salt to taste
Take out the pulp of the ripe avocados in a bowl. Mash them with the back of a spoon to form a creamy mash. Now put in some lime juice to prevent the flesh from oxidizing and turning black. Add in all the chopped ingredients and mix with a spoon. Add the remaining lime juice. Now taste to check seasoning. Keep it in an airtight jar to prevent it from turning black. Consume it within a day or two.
It is yummy and so good for you. What more can you want!