Nutrition, Secret Ingredient

The Secret Ingredient Is . . . Avocado

Animated AvocadoDark green/black bumpy skin on the outside, bright yellow-green meat inside and a large pit nestled in the middle.  We’re talking of course about the avocado – the pear shaped tropical fruit known for its creamy texture and mild nutty flavor.  Guacamole is probably the first thing that comes to mind when talking about avocados, but diced avocado is also a nice addition to your salad or cold soup.  You can also use it in your sandwich as a healthy alternative mayonnaise, or eat it plain all by itself!  Avocados are cholesterol-free and a good source of fiber.  While it’s true they contain a lot of fat, it’s mostly monounsaturated (one of the “good” fats).

Most of us are familiar with the dark green Hass variety of avocados (or maybe the Fuerte which has a smoother, light green skin), but did you know that there are hundreds of avocado varieties?  Here’s another bit of trivia:  avocados will not ripen until they’re picked.  This is why they’ve available all year – they can be left on the tree for an extended period before harvesting.  An easy way to tell if your avocado is ripe is give it a light squeeze.  If there’s a little give to it you’re good to go; if not you can help it along by placing it in a paper bag on your counter for a day or so.

If you’ve ever cut into an avocado, you know it starts to turn brown before long.  This is caused by enzymes in the avocado reacting to the oxygen in the air (this is also why apple slices turn brown around the edges).  You can slow this process by adding a splash of lemon (or lime) juice to your cut avocado.  If you’re not going to use the entire fruit at once, sprinkle leftover pieces with lemon juice and place in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

What’s your favorite way to eat avocado?

(Content reviewed by MGH Nutrition Department)




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