My father was South African and he had been used to eat them there as a boy. So when in London he used to buy them and bring them home and I used to eat them on bread and butter.
To me it was something exotic and tasty. I had no idea they were so nutritious.
Avocados and health
Avocados are REALLY healthy. Hence, of course, the popular children’s book the Avocado Baby. Its one of the ‘superfoods’ which we are all told to eat more of.
- They contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals
- They don’t contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat
- They contain more potassium than banana’s (and apparently we don’t get enough potassium)
- They are one of the fattiest plant foods around but the fat is healthy monounsaturated fatty acid which is supposed to be very good for you
- They have lots of fiber
- Eating avocados can reduce Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels – so they are good for the heart
- Eating avocados with other foods can increase the goodness you get from them
- They contain antioxidants which can protect the eyes
- They may help prevent cancer and also
- Relieve the symptoms of arthritis
(If you want to read more about all this see here)
So you need to get more avocado into your diet!
Before we do recipes I think we ought to briefly take a look at the history of the Avocado. It originates from South America and had been around there for a long time.
The oldest evidence of man’s use of Avocado comes from a cave in Puebla, Mexico and dates from around 10,000 BC. It looks as if the Avocado tree was cultivated in central and southern America from about 5,000 BC. It was not until the eighteenth century that it was introduced to countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, Australia and the Levant.
They first came to England in the 1960’s when they were called ‘avocado pears’.
The Avocado trade
Avocado trees, being a sub-tropical plant which cannot normally tolerate frost, are grown in hot places like Spain, the Caribbean, Mexico and California, Malaysia, Texas etc. Generally different areas have their own different variety.
Sadly the exigencies of commerce require that avocados are picked when they are unripe and kept in coolers until they reach their destination. They are then often ripened with ethylene gas before being sold.
However they still have all the goodness discussed above, although no doubt an avocado ripened naturally would be better.
Avocados are mostly eaten raw usually with bread, although they are sometimes made into drinks such as milkshakes. Here are two ways that I eat avocados.
Two easy ways to eat Avocado
The first is to cut them in half, take out the central stone, pour in some light soy sauce and then eat them with a spoon.
However I still prefer them on bread – here is my, very simple, recipe.
- I ripe Avocado
- About 1 tsp butter (optional)
- Several generous pinches of salt - preferably Maldon
- Your favourite bread - crusty is nice
- Cut the avocado in half and take out the central stone
- Scoop the flesh out (making sure to include all the darker green flesh near the skin) and put it into a bowl
- Add the butter and the salt
- Now mash it up with a fork until there are no more lumps
- When it is nice and smooth and light - spread it on your bread
I quite like it plain like this. But you could add some chopped coriander or spring onions. And maybe some freshly milled black pepper.