Avocados

Persea americana

Avocados are a flowering tree native to Central America.  They are in the Lauraceae family, like Bay Laurel, and this botanical relationship is obvious to anyone who has grown an Avocado  houseplant from a pit and taken a second look at a bay leaf: the leaves are very similar in shape.  The fruit matures on the tree but ripens after harvesting making it easier to export long distances, just like bananas.  We can all be grateful of this, otherwise avocados would not be so common in the north end of the Northern Hemisphere or priced regularly at 3 for $5.  Avocados are ready to eat, ie "ripe", when they are just slightly soft to the touch. 

Avocados have a very high fat content, about 15 g in a 100 g serving and almost 10 of those grams are monounsaturated fats.  A 100g serving is about half an average sized avocado (I measured the two I most recently bought and they seem quite average to me- not undersized or excessively large!).  Avocados also contain about 7 g of fiber, 507mg potassium (more than a banana), and reasonable percentages of your daily values of vitamins K, C, and folate.  They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants helpful in lowering the risk of macular degeneration.  See the USDA site for a complete nutritional breakdown.. 

Here is an easy recipe for Avocado salad from our friend Joel: 

  • 1 Avocado
  • Half pint or so of Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • juice of one lime
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • garlic, pressed
  • Salt and pepper 

Cut avocado in half and remove pit.  Score the fruit with a knife and then scrape out the chunks with a spoon.  Toss with lime juice, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and scallions.  Salt and pepper to taste. Return to the empty avocado shells for serving.