Creamy, silky AND healthy, the Alligator pear, aquacate, manzana del invierno, palta, or avocado, is one of those incredible fruits we should be getting down on our knees and giving thanks for every day.
Limes and avocados are two of the main reasons I simply cannot eat only locally here in the Upper Midwest of the United States. They are two of my favorite entities on this planet and no one I know except my friend David Cavagnaro, a man with two of the greenest thumbs in the region, is successfully growing limes indoors in this northerly climate. I’m not sure if he’s growing avocados… but I should definitely ask. (Scott once grew a small indoor forest of avocado saplings that he started from pits and kept on the table…until his pet cockatiel mowed them down with his beak one day when he was cage-free. Apparently avocados are poisonous to cockatiels and this guy was going to eliminate any threat.)
Cilantro is the third leg of my heavenly green trifecta, and fortunately at least that greenery grows well way up here!
All varieties of avocados originated in Mexico and Central America and are part of the Laurel family along with bay and cinnamon. Rumor has it that evidence was found in a cave in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico, of human use of avocados that dates to around 10,000 B.C.. Smart people.
These luscious wonders are full of the healthy kind of monounsaturated fats, plus antioxidants, vitamins B, C, E, K, have more potassium than bananas, and can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. So order up another round of that guaca-móle and enjoy the afternoon!
But even better than all those healthy perks….avocados are like heavy cream that grows on a tree. In a nifty container. If you’ve ever been curious about trying to eat dairy-free, you should also be curious about avocados. With a silky mouthfeel and good fats they can help you survive.
Avocados have saved my sanity more than once. Over the years I’ve done a few cleansing or elimination diets to give the body a break by reducing or eliminating sugars, carbohydrates, and other suspected allergens such as grains and dairy. The first day is usually fine, but by day four the body is experiencing the deaths of millions, possibly millions upon millions, of little yeasties that are screaming out for something in the form of sugar that they can eat. The main struggle during these times (besides listening to those millions of tiny screams) is to figure out things to eat that are satisfying, tasty, and fit within the confines of that particular elimination diet. Texture seems to be a huge element is what is ‘satisfying’—and creaminess is a main texture that I would look for when dairy was not an option.
Who you gonna call? Avocados.
Most avocado varieties are ripe when they yield to gentle squeeze. If they are rock hard, try storing them in a paper bag with an apple for a few days. Though there are over 500 varieties of avocados, less than ten are commonly grown: Bacon, Choquette, Fuerte, Gwen, Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, Rincon, and Zutano.
Tasty ways to use avocados
- Add to your favorite smoothie recipes
- Puréed in a soup—both hot and chilled soups
- On antipasto kabobs with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and olives
- On sandwiches or burgers
- In egg salad
- In omelettes
- With lime and cilantro in a guacamole (duh) for dipping or a thinner sauce for drizzling
- With beets and goat cheese
- In almost any green salad
- In fruit salads
- On crostini
- Wrapped in bacon
- With orange, jicama and lime
- In seafood salad or sandwiches
- In homemade ice cream
- Puréed in hummus
- In black bean, cilantro and corn salad
- In enchiladas (instead of cheese)
- Puréed with bananas as part of the wet ingredients in pancakes
- Puréed in baked goods as a substitute for oil or butter—may need to thin it a little
- In chocolate frosting
- In cheesecake
- Puréed in salad dressings
Check out the numerous recipes at Avocado Central.
Even though avocados are mildly poisonous to cats that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting. Hooking a claw in the avocado pit combined with quick twitch muscles is a really good way to launch an avocado off of a table.