“I will smoosh you. And then, I will eat you.”
Gather up your dragon egg looking fruit (technically a berry) and do a little dance! With twice as much potassium as a banana, four whopping grams of protein, and the ability to disguise itself as butter, the avocado’s nature-defying awesomeness deserves to be celebrated.
Part 1: History Lesson
“I like round fruit and I cannot lie.”
Europeans discovered avocados when Cortez landed in the Americas in the sixteenth century. Of course, Native Americans had been eating avocados for centuries. One can only hope that they saw Cortez pick one up excitedly and were all “Pfffff we’ve been eating those forever, Noob”. But probably not because Cortez was about to use the avo-based energy burst to do all sorts of terrible conquistador stuff. Like causing the fall of the Aztec Empire.
Excavators have unearthed avocado pits in Peru that date to before 900 AD. They’re weren’t the Hass we’re used to but a closer relative to the Fuerte – a greener even fattier version of the avocado.
The ‘Hass’ was born in a backyard of a mailman in La Habra Heights, California in the 1930s. After what can only be described as a long weird pregnancy he gave birth to the darker berry. People were weirded out by the way it turned black when ripe and were all “nu uh” — but after he died some marketing guys got on the job and dang it all if we don’t just eat the heck out of them now. Avocados, like Pears, don’t actually ripen on the tree. You will never pick a perfectly ripe avocado. They have to be picked at the right moment and THEN they ripen. It’s weird. But it’s also pretty cool if you’re an avocado grower and need to ship these babies to an avocado starved East Coast.
Need to ripen yours quickly for an avocado party you’re having later. I have been there brother! Pop it in a paper bag or roll it up in a newspaper. The ethylene gas that it emits will cause it to ripen faster. If you have a ripe banana you can also pop that in, it also releases ethylene which will speed it up.
[GIANT CHEF’S SIDENOTE: Hey know what? Most tomatoes are picked green and then exposed to ethylene gas on their way to you, forcing them to ripen off the vine. It results in a mealy crap tomato. Man, it makes me mad. You’re better off cooking with canned tomatoes in BPA free lined cans. They are processed when ripe and much more delicious.]
Now, what was I talking about? Oh right, avocados. Hey! If you keep your tomato and avocado together the gas will make them turn crazy fast! Make that guac right away!
Fuerte. Spanish for strong.
Part 2: Interesting Facts
The ‘Fuerte’ is a cross between the native Mexican and Guatemalan species. It got its name from the Spanish word for strong, because it’s fine in weather down to 26°F. The leathery green skin stays bright green after ripening and the flesh has even more fat! It’s 18% oil content. Nom nom nom
If you can get your hands on a Fuerte do so! They are delicious, it’s fascinating just to see how differently they brown when cut. Gather up some friends and cut up some avocados and watch. WASH THEM FIRST! I know that sounds weird but e coli is often spread via produce and the less than potable water that it’s watered with. We’ve all seen how to take the pit out. You bravely hold the half with the pit in your palm while you whack at it with a knife and then struggle to get the pit off the blade. Um, hey, if it’s ripe, just give the half with the pit a gentle squeeze. A little pressure and it pops right out. If it’s that hard to get out, your avocado probably isn’t ripe.
No, YOUR parties are weird!
This is a laundry list of all the things avocados have in them that are good for you.
- They are nutrient dense. Full of substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients — with relatively few calories. 1/5 th of an avocado has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals for your hot bod.
- Good fats – not bad fats. It’s the only fruit/berry that contains monounsaturated fat
- It’s a nutrient booster. It increases the absorption of fat soluble nutrients like A, D, K and E
- Cholesterol free.
It’s just crazy freaking good for you. Want more nutrition info? Get it from these guys.
Part 3: Put It In Your Mouth
I’m a baker, so let’s start with baking. You can easily substitute avocado for butter or oil. They have a high water content so they’ll make your treats softer and chewier. I would start by swapping out half of your fat or oil by weight with avocado. If you’re worried about everything tasting like guacamole then start with brownie and cookie recipes. Here’s a super yummy recipe for avocado blueberry muffins from the geniuses at California Avocados. The thing that’s always bothered me about muffins is WHO ARE WE KIDDING?!? They are tiny cakes! This definitely sets them back on the road to being respectable health-food powerhouses. Adding avocado helps that.
Avocado Blueberry Muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 ripe Avocado, seeded and peeled
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 6 oz. frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. soft butter
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter, and mix in using your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Spoon avocado into a stand mixer and beat until almost smooth. Add sugar and beat until well blended.
- Add the egg, beating until completely combined. Add the vanilla and the yogurt and mix well.
- Put the flour mixture into a sifter and sift half of the mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Sift in the remaining flour and mix until just blended. Gently fold in the blueberries.
- Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the 12 cups. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter in the 12 cups, dividing evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before removing.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
So it’s good for your insides, but baby, when you look good, you feel good! Avocados can be the MVP of your beauty routine. I’m talking from head to toe, those antioxidants, amino acids and oils will repair your winter frazzled hair, supple-ize your skin and plump up your wrinkles. Heck, you can even slather it on a sunburn for relief.
Dry Skin? Mix an avocado with honey to make a paste. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off. BOOM Soft skin
Damaged Skin? Mix an avocado with 1/2 cup of cooked oats (not a packet – just oats). Apply for 10-15 minutes. BOOM Exfoliated soft skin.
Break out prone? Mix equal parts avocado with yogurt (the acid in yogurt kills bacteria) and a tsp of honey until you have a paste. Apply for 10-15 minutes. BOOM pretty skin.
That Man Stole My Avocado!
“What are you in for?” “I stole avocados.” “I’m removing your reference from my LinkedIn profile”
Avocado theft is a very serious problem with a number of growers losing up to 10% of their crop a year. Despite this menacing poster threatening up to 3 years in jail, theft is a constant threat to growers who have had to resort to giant fences and barbed wire. Most likely, these stolen berries are shopped out to pop up farm stands – not the big grocery stores. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Alright my friends, let’s get out there and consume some avocados!