Get Fresh With Avocados

I am a big fan of avocados these days. You might go so far to say avocado problem. Some puns just work better when you hear them. If I had a TV show you would have heard, “I’ve-o got a problem,” but I don’t have a TV show… I have a blog. I’ll give you a minute to say it to yourself a few times and then we can move on to more pressing matters…
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Ready?

Avocados. Are. The. Best. Things. In. The. History. Of. Ever. 
(I certainly like to hyperbolize)

Let me get plant nerdy on you for a moment and inform you that avocados are the FRUIT (a berry containing a single seed to be exact) of an avocado tree. The avocado is also affectionately called alligator pear because of it’s shape and wrinkled, leathery skin.

Health Benefits

Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which according to the American Heart Association, they reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and decrease bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Monounsaturated fats also typically are rich in Vitamin E and help your body absorb fat soluble nutrients from food.

Additionally, avocados provide magnesium and potassium, both of which help reduce blood pressure. They contain about 10 grams of fiber (75% insoluble for digestive help, 25% soluble to give you the feeling of fullness).

Storing

To prevent a cut avocado from browning, coat the surface in lemon or lime juice. The brown color is the result of oxidation, the process which creates free-radicals, the acidity of citrus fruits slows down this process.

If you need to ripen rock-hard avocados quickly, store them in a paper bag with apples and they should be ripe in a day or two. Apples emit a hormone called ethylene which cues fruit to ripen.

Uses

  • Mash up half an avocado and spread it on your bread. En route to the New World, Europeans spread avocados in place of butter. 
  • Blend it into a smoothie with almond milk ice cubes.
  • Guacamole is healthy and delicious. Americans consume 8 million pounds of guac on Super Bowl Sunday and 14 million at Cinco de Mayo.
  • Mix it with plain yogurt and spoon it over grilled chicken or fish.
  • Avocado oil is good for cooking at low heats. Studies show is has antioxidant properties and can reduce signs of aging.
  • Stir it into tuna, chicken, or potato salad in place of mayonnaise. Add a pinch of curry.
  • Whisk it with fresh citrus juice as a salad dressing. 
  • Use them to treat sunburns, prevent chaffing and reduce wrinkles. Mix with honey and yogurt, then slather it on your face for a great moisturizer.
  • For healthier baked goods substitute some or all of the butter in the recipe with avocado. Pop Sugar has great recipes to try.

Avocado Semifreddo

This recipe is from Rachel Ray magazine

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup raw pistachios, chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large avocado
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cream
Salt
Cooking spray

Directions:

In a nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium high. Add nuts, sugar and a pinch of salt; stir until sugar browns, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Coat 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; line with plastic wrap, leaving 3-inch overhang. In a food processor, puree avocado flesh, condensed milk, lemon juice and pinch of saly. Whip cream to stiff peaks; fold in avocado puree and nuts. Pour into pan. Cover with plastic wrap overhang; freeze until firm, approximately 4 hours. Unmold onto platter, slice and serve immediately. Serve 8.

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