According to the CDC, avocados were first cultivated in South America. It was believed that a Mayan princess ate the very first avocado and that it held mystical and magical powers. European sailors traveling to the New World used avocados as their form of butter.
California is currently the largest producer of avocados in the USA. There are more than 80 varieties, with the “Hass” variety dominating the crop share. A single mature avocado tree can produce more than 400 pieces of fruit in a year!
Avocados are very nutritious and contain fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and folate. They are cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas. Avocados are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which is a heart healthy fat.
When buying avocados:
- Look for firm avocados if you’re planning on using them later in the week, otherwise, select fruit that yields to gentle pressure for immediate use.
- Color alone will not tell you if the avocado is ripe. Ripe fruit will be slightly firm, but will yield to gentle pressure.
- To speed the ripening process, place the avocado in a paper bag, and store at room temperature until ready to eat (usually 2 to 5 days). Placing an apple together with the avocado speeds up the process even more.
- Cut the avocado in half, slightly twist the two halves, separate, and remove the seed. Starting at the small end and remove the skin with a knife, or, if you prefer, you can also scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
- To retain a fresh green color, avocados should either be eaten immediately or should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar.
Here is a tasty guacamole recipe from Food Network.
2 firm-ripe avocados, diced (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss gently to combine.
For more information and recipes, check out Fruits & Veggies More Matters