The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

Creamy rich avocados are a wonderful staple fruit that are native to Central and South America. Although they are not grown here (and therefore you will not find them ‘locally’ grown), they are generally widely available year round throughout Canada. And they are also easily found ‘organically’ grown. Although there are dozens of varieties of avocados available, the most common varieties include the Hass Avocado, known for its rugged dark brown-black skin and buttery green flesh and the Fuerte avocado, a larger variety with a distinct pear shape and smooth dark green skin. Health Benefits Studies have found avocados to be an extremely important source of several essential vitamins and nutrients. In addition, although they are high in fat, they are actually extremely heart healthy and may protect against certain cancers. This is due to the fat that avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to raise HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower LDL (the bad cholesterol). Oleic acid has also been found to protect against breast cancer and may protect against other cancers. Avocados are a also an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, and folate, which helps protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke. The addition of avocados to your diet has also been shown to increase your body’s ability to absorb carotenoids; Powerful antioxidants that are found in many vegetables including carrots and sweet potatoes. How to Select and Store If you are planning to use your avocado today, purchase ones whose skin is dark and somewhat soft to the touch. If you are planning to use them in a few days, purchase avocados that are slightly lighter and firmer to the touch. These can be stored, at room temperature, until the flesh is soft enough to eat. You can store a ripe avocado in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once sliced, oxidation from the surrounding air will quickly start to turn your avocado brown (similar to bananas or apples). To prevent oxidation, either wrap your sliced avocado tightly in plastic wrap, or sprinkle the exposed surface with a little bit of lemon or lime juice. This will prevent browning and ensure your sliced avocado stays bright green for up to a day. Tips for preparing avocados Use a stainless steel knife to cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Gently twist the two halves in opposite direction. Remove the pit. Place the halves face down, then peel and slice. If the flesh is too soft to be sliced, just slide a spoon along the inside of the skin and scoop it out. Avocados are great addition to a wide variety of meals. Try them diced in a salad, sliced or mashed on top of your favorite sandwich or burger, pureed with pear juice, honey, nutmeg and milk for a healthy smoothie or make them the star ingredient in the Ultimate Guacamole! Recipe below. Enjoy! Ultimate Guacamole Ingredients 3 large ripe Hass avocados Juice of 2 to 3 limes 3 vine ripened tomatoes, finely chopped 2 green onions, thinly sliced Large handful cilantro, chopped Olive oil Sea salt and cracked black pepper Hot sauce 1 long mild red chili, thinly sliced Directions 1. Slice avocados in half lengthwise and remove pits. Using a spoon, scoop flesh from skin and place in a large bowl. Squeeze in lime juice and using a masher or fork, mash avocado until chunky. 2. Stir in tomatoes, green onion and cilantro. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper and add a dash (or 2 or 3 or 4...) of hot sauce. Toss gently. To serve, scoop into a serving bowl and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro and the thinly sliced chili. Excellent served with tortilla chips for scooping!