The Incredible Edible Avocado

The avocado, a centuries-old staple of Mexican and Latin American cuisine, has made its way around the world into the hearts, and diets, of millions. No longer just a trendy food, avocados are considered one of the healthiest foods around due to their high vitamin and healthy fat content. Surprisingly, avocados are technically a fruit, though the creamy flesh is unlike any other. The mild flavor and rich texture lends itself to almost any dish—sweet or savory—and practical applications as well. 

Here are just a few ways to consume your next avocado:

Guacamole

You can’t say avocado without thinking guacamole, or “guac” for short. The name is derived from the Aztec Nahuatl words āhuacatl (“avocado”) and molli (“sauce” or “concoction”). Popular vehicles for guac include tortilla chips, veggie sticks, toast, eggs, tacos and burgers.

Recipe:

Fork mash together 2 ripe avocados, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup finely diced red onion, 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro and a dash of black pepper. Tomato and chili peppers optional.

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Pudding

(Photo by Jennifer via Wikimedia)

Avocado pudding may sound strange, but it tastes delicious. The smooth consistency of avocado flesh rivals the richest cream. You won’t miss the dairy in this dessert. Serve chilled.

Recipe:

Blend together 1 ripe avocado, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 ounces melted dark (70 percent or higher) chocolate, 2 tablespoons coconut cream, 2 teaspoons raw honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a dash of salt. For additional creaminess and sweetness, blend in half a ripe (frozen) banana.

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Smoothie

The combinations for smoothies are endless. Various fruits, vegetables and other add-ins provide different nutritional benefits, but avocado is always a welcome addition. The flavor will never overpower the other ingredients and the fat content will keep you full longer than a sugar-laden mixture.

Recipe:

Base Ingredients

1 frozen banana (the riper, the sweeter)
1/2 California Avocado
1/2 cup almond milk (or liquid of your choice)
A bit of honey (or sweetener of your choice)

Customizations
  • Fresh or frozen fruit, such as honeydew, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi or mango
  • Nutrient boosters, such as a handful of kale or spinach, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or a scoop of protein powder or almond butter
  • Flavor boosters, such as ginger, cayenne pepper, orange juice or lime juice

Blend all ingredients together in a blender with ice cubes. Enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of the California Avocado Commission. For more avocado smoothie recipes, visit www.californiaavocado.com.

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Soup

avocado soup
Image courtesy of www.mycolombianrecipes.com

Crema de Aguacate (Creamy Avocado Soup) is a traditional dish in Colombia. The delightful green color and delicate avocado flavor entices the tastebuds. Serve as an elegant dinner party appetizer or with grilled shrimp. ¡Buen provecho!

Recipe (courtesy of www.mycolombianrecipes.com):

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Heat butter in medium pot over medium heat. Add onion. Cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds more.

2. Add chicken stock, lime juice and avocados. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat. Cook for 7 minutes.

3. Transfer to blender. Blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot. Add heavy cream, cumin, salt and pepper.

4. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add fresh cilantro. Serve warm.

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Skin Care

Avocado is gaining popularity in the beauty industry, but you don’t need an expensive concoction to get soft beautiful skin. A homemade face mask can enhance skin elasticity, be tweaked for any skin type and give you a youthful glow. Apply for 10 to 30 minutes as needed and be sure to avoid the eye area during application and rinsing.

Avocado and Apricot

  • Tightens skin and balances skin tone

Avocado and Honey

  • Repairs damaged skin and adds moisture

Avocado, Banana and Egg Yolk

  • Reduces oil and prevents blemishes.

Visit www.lifehack.org/364281 for more facial mask ideas.

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Grow Your Own!

Though avocado trees are not adapted for Long Island’s Plant Hardiness Zone 7, it is possible to grow them from seeds in containers and bring them indoors during the winter. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the tree will bear fruit, but it is still a fun project for kids and garden enthusiasts.

Instructions:

Gently remove the pit from an avocado and rinse well. Stick 3 or 4 toothpicks into the pit, equidistant around. Suspend the pit in a shallow water-filled dish with the pointier end facing up. The pit should be submerged about halfway. Place in a sunny window and wait for it to sprout! Once roots become established, you may transfer the plant to a container with good drainage and fresh soil.

Avocaderia: The World’s First Avocado Bar

Mediterranean avocado toast

You’ve heard of coffee bars and wine bars, even cereal bars are a thing now, but there’s never been an avocado bar—until now. Avocaderia opened in April to the delight of avocado-enthusiasts in the tristate area. The menu consists of toasts, salads, bowls and smoothies, all showcasing avocado at its best. The dishes don’t compromise flavor for healthfulness. Raw, organic ingredients and unique cooking techniques come together into wholesome meals, influenced by Mexican, Japanese and Egyptian cuisine.

Experience the versatility of the avocado at Avocaderia, located at Industry City Food Hall, 254 36th St., Brooklyn. Visit www.avocaderia.com for more.

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Kimberly Dijkstra
Kimberly Dijkstra is the web editor for Anton Media Group, a writer for Long Island Weekly and recipient of several Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) and New York Press Association (NYPA) awards.

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