I remember watching my mother eat avocados as a child; its insides seemingly slimy with this giant pit in between the greasy mess. She would eat it right out of the skin much to my disgust.
Oh, the things we ﬁnd gross when we are young and naive; for little did I know she was eating the one thing that would eventually trump my chocolate addiction.
It wasn’t until a few years ago when my friend was making homemade guacamole did I actually get my ﬁrst taste of an avocado. She got so tired of listening to me complain about how lumpy and slimy it was that she practically force fed me some to shut me up. Needless to say half the bowl was consumed in a short period of time.
But my infatuation didn’t really begin until about a year ago. Another friend of mine keeps avocados in her house as a regular staple for her family. One day she offered to make me lunch – an avocado sandwich – and the obsession was born.
I can’t really explain what it is that drives me to madness when it comes to the avocado. Is it the simple, nutty ﬂavor that becomes something magical when sprinkled with just a touch of seasoned salt? Is it how it makes a sandwich that much better? I went on a fact-ﬁnding mission to ﬁnd out what makes it so good.
Turns out the avocado is one of, if not the healthiest foods around. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, the health beneﬁts of this fruit – yes, a member of the berry family – make it a no-brainer for those of us looking to incorporate healthier fare into our diet.
Research has shown that absorption of two key antioxidants, lycopene and beta-carotene, increases signiﬁcantly when fresh avocado or avocado oil is added to a salad. The greatest concentration of caretenoids occurs in the dark green ﬂesh just beneath the skin, so don’t slice into that more than necessary. Because of the diversity in caretenoids, the avocado also has anti-inﬂammatory properties.
Avocados are rich in potassium which aids in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and cerebral vascular attack, as well as folic acid offering 23% of your daily recommended dose. They also contain lutein which prevents cataract and macular degenerations.
One major concern about the avocado is its high fat content. A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat; however most of the fat is monounsaturated – “the good kind” – and lowers cholesterol levels.
The key is everything in moderation; but tell that to a certain naked vegetarian who eats several of these super fruits a week!
1 avocado, ripened
1/2 cup margarine (vegan)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Once margarine is melted, puree with avocado in food processor or blender until perfectly smooth. Be sure there are no chunks of avocado left! Return mixture to saucepan over very low heat and add the rest of the ingredients,except the walnuts, adding the powdered sugar a portion at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, the mixture should be thick. Add walnuts if desired, and transfer to a loaf pan. Refrigerate until ﬁrm. Now, be patient! If you don’t let it ﬁrm up, you won’t be able to slice it up into squares.
Avocado Fun Facts
• The avocado is also known as the Alligator Pear because of its shape and leather-like appearance.
• The name “avocado” is derived from the Aztec word “ahuacatl” meaning “testicle.” via www.whatscookingamerica.net
• Aztecs revered avocados for inducing sexual prowess and fertility via www.avocadosfrommexico.com
• The most common type of avocado is the Hass.
• Avocados do not soften on the tree; however, the tree can be used as a “storage unit” by keeping the fruit on the tree for many months after maturing. via www.whatscookingamerica.net
• The Taiwanese eat avocados with milk and sugar; Indonesians mix them with milk, coffee and rum; Filipinos puree them with sugar and milk.
Pam Ortiz Miller was born and raised in suburban New York avoiding books and writing of any kind as she preferred musical theatre where people sang you everything you needed to know. It wasn’t until she was a senior at the University of Maryland that she discovered a love of writing. Her main writing focus is poetry, however, she dabbles in short stories, news articles, screenplays and occasional angry letters to customer service reps and estranged relatives. Her latest endeavor is a blog entitled The Real Housewife of Ormond Beach chronicling her adventures in the domestic arts. Like most New Yorkers Pam ended up in Florida where she lives with her husband, three cats and a very special dog. Her hobbies include traveling, photography, cooking, cinema and getting rid of tan lines. On her off days from being a domestic diva she can be found rehabbing sea and land turtles.