Food Facts | Avocado


The avocado has quite a history -- apparently it has been cultivated for over 7,000 years. In my opinion, it's a timeless beauty. The word avocado is said to stem from the Aztec word ahuacatl. A favorite use for avocados is guacamole, which is traditionally seasoned and ground using Mexican techniques and spices.


Nutrition:

  • healthy fats- omegas -6 and -3

  • vitamins- C, K, B

  • minerals- potassium

  • fiber

Aids in brain and heart function, metabolism, and bone, skin, and hair growth.


In Season: summer, fall; some year-round depending on variety


How To:


Pick a Good One

The average ripe avocado will be slightly firm while having an outer skin that yields to gentle pressure (applied by your thumb or finger). In the popular Haas variety, and other related varieties, the skin will appear to darken from green to black when it is ripe. However, color varies among different kinds of avocados and is not usually considered a reliable indicator of freshness.


Avocados are listed in the Environmental Working Group's "Clean Fifteen Guide" as one of the fruits that rank low in pesticide residue. This means the avocado is a food that is generally safe to buy from conventional sources (non-organic). However, diseased avocado roots are sometimes treated with pesticide, so organic and fair trade options are often available and an equally worthy choice when selecting this fruit from the farm or market.


Know when it's ripe

A mature avocado usually ripens 3-8 days after it is picked.


Store

  • unripe, hard- on the counter until ripe; at room temperature

  • ripe- fridge up to a week

  • with a banana- to ripen more quickly

Wash

  • your hands before and after handling

  • the avocado with cool tap water (but no soap/detergent) just before preparing it

  • cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops the avocado may come in contact with

Eat

  • in guacamole

  • in sauces and salsas

  • as a garnish

  • in a dip

  • pair with strong or sweet flavors (i.e. citrus in a salad)

  • add in a dish with garlic and onions

  • try it with chiles

  • grilled

  • as an oil used to drizzle on veggies, vinaigrettes, or baked dishes

  • add it to a smoothie for a more creamy texture

  • try it in a chocolate mousse or milkshake

  • add it in ice cream

  • in the trendy toast style

  • as a butter replacement

  • add it to a sandwich or have it with a burger

  • in a seafood salad

  • on top of curry and chicken

Note: Avocados are notorious for causing cut injuries when people do not cut them properly. To avoid a nasty kitchen injury, click here to learn how to cut an avocado. Click here for more information on peeling and pitting an avocado. Click here to learn how to dice an avocado.


As you can see, avocados are incredibly versatile, pairing well with items both sweet and savory. Nutritionally, as part of a balanced meal, they have properties that can help health and healing from head to toe in your body. Add an avocado to your next meal and taste test it out!


Related Resources

Food Facts (Resource Library)


















Related Products

About the Avocado (Reference Card)


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References

  1. FoodPrint. Real Food Encyclopedia | Avocados. 2020 GRACE Communications Foundation. Accessed at https://foodprint.org/real-food/avocados/.

  2. Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Clean Fifteen: EWG's 2020 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Environmental Working Group. 2020. Accessed at https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php.

  3. EatFresh. Avocado. CalFresh, Healthy Living. California Department of Social Services. 2020. Accessed at https://eatfresh.org/discover-foods/avocado.

  4. Henneman A. Peeling and Pitting an Avocado. UNL FOOD, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. University of Nebraska. 2020. Accessed at https://food.unl.edu/peeling-and-pitting-avocado.

  5. Bobroff LB, Simonne A. South Florida Tropicals: Avocado. University of Florida IFAS Extension. 2020. Accessed at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HE/HE60600.pdf.

  6. SNAP-Ed Connection. Avocados. USDA. 2020. Accessed at https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/avocados.

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