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Avocados

Contributed by: Jennifer A. Wickes

History / Geography

The avocado originates from Central America, but is now grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates around the world.

Varieties

The two main kind of avocados found in the USA are: Haas, which are black and with bumpy skin currently being grown in California; and Fuerte, a thin, smooth skinned variety grown in Florida.

Season

Spring

How to Select

You will want to select an avocado that yields to gentle pressure, yet is firm. It should be unblemished and heavy for its size. Another test for ripeness is to take off the stem. If it is green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If it is brown underneath, it is not ripe.

The avocado is a fruit that has a mild hazelnut flavor and a buttery texture. It can be round to pear-shaped, thick to thin-skinned, green to purplish-black, and smooth skinned to bumpy skinned. The flesh is a very pale green color.

Storage

A ripe avocado can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

Nutritional Qualities

Vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin.

Trivia

The avocado gets its name from ahuacatl, a Nahuatl word for "testicle."

Wine Pairings

Chardonnay

Spices

Cayenne, chili powder, chives, cilantro, ginger, paprika.

Equivalencies

1 lb. fresh avocado = 2 1/2 cup chopped = 1 1/2 cups pureed

Serving Size

1/2 avocado per person

Preparation

A unripened avocado is easy to ripen at home, not to mention, avocados ripen better after they are picked! Just place an avocado in a brown paper bag at room temperature, and three days later, you will have a ripe avocado.

When cutting an avocado, remember that there is a huge pit in the center. When you have halved the avocado, hit the pit with the blade of your knife and twist. The pit should be able to be removed without damaging the flesh. Remember, once the flesh is cut, it will discolor rapidly, so always add cut avocado immediately before serving, or add lemon juice or lime juice to it to prevent discoloration.

Additional Information (Web Sites) http://www.avocado.org

Recipes

Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Recipe By: TJ Hill - Appetites Catered

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes -- stemmed
  • 3 avocados -- skinned and pitted
  • 8 ounces cream cheese -- room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion -- very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic -- very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice -- strained
  • 1 teaspoon fruit fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato concasse
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 head butter lettuce -- separated into leaves

Slice tops from cherry tomatoes. Hollow-out with a small melon baller. Invert onto paper towels to drain. Combine avocados and cream cheese in a food processor. Add onions, garlic, lemon juice, fruit fresh, tabasco, and salt. Process to a smooth puree. Pipe into tomato shells. Pipe sour cream on top. Place onto a lettuce-lined serving platter. Garnish with sliced olives and tomato concasse. Serve slightly chilled.

Yields: 12 servings

Chilled Avocado Soup

Recipe By: "The Great Hot Sauce Book" by Jennifer Trainer Thompson

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups avocado pulp -- about 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cucumber -- peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white onion -- diced
  • 1 lime -- zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeno sauce*
  • sour cream -- for garnish

Blend buttermilk and avocados in blender then add cucumber, onion, lime juice (reserving the zest), salt and pepper. With blender running, add milk, water and hot sauce. Chill soup. Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream and a little lime zest.

Yields: 8 servings

Feroce d'Avocat

by One World Recipes

Feroce d'Avocat is the French name of this hot crab appetizer that is popular in Martinique. The avocado, sometimes referred to as an alligator pear, adds a rich taste.

  • 8 ounces fresh or canned crab meat
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 habanero chile, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 4 avocados, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 cup manioc flour (tapioca or cassava meal)
  • Extra lime juice for serving
  • Lettuce or spinach leaves

Drain the crab, pat it dry, and place in a bowl. Add the vinegar, lime juice, oil, garlic, shallots, green onions, and chile. Mash the avocado with manioc flour, add to the crab mixture, and blend to form a thick paste. Spoon onto lettuce or spinach on individual serving dishes, or roll into balls and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle with lime juice just before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Hot

Jennifer A. Wickes is a freelance food writer, researcher and cookbook reviewer. She has written several eBooks, and has had numerous articles and recipes in printed publications, as well as on- line. She is working on her first cookbook. For more information about Jennifer or her work, please visit her home page: http://home.comcast.net/~culinaryjen/Bio.html


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