Avocado Spotlight: We Will Guac You
It’s time, people. It’s time for avocados. We all know ‘em, we all love ‘em, and it’s time we dedicate some serious real estate on this blog towards our beloved avocado.
But have you ever wondered why we suddenly became infatuated with avocados? It’s pretty interesting actually! There used to be a ban on fruits from Mexico (birthplace of the avocado) to America. When these import restrictions were loosened in the 90’s and finally removed in 2007, avocados could flow freely into our country (and mouths). A rising Hispanic population has also brought with it Mexican cuisine, namely in the form of guacamole. Top this all with the early 2000’s love of low carb, high fat diets and you have the makin’s for a decade that’s gone avocontrol.
Variations of Avocados
There are loads of varieties of avocados, but the most popular variation, accounting for 80% of avocados in the world today, is the Hass Avocado. These all originate from the same Californian mother tree. These have a black, pebbled skin and can be grown year round. If you’re curious about other variations of this fruit, here’s a quick breakdown for you.
And yea, just like coffee, avocados are a fruit. A berry, technically.
How to Pick the Perfect Avocado
Cup it in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze. A ripe avocado will give slightly. You can also use the stem test to tell how ripe your avocado is. Remove the little stem on top. If the underneath is:
- Green: Your avocado is perfectly ripe
- Brown: Overripe
- Difficult to remove: Your avocado isn’t ripe yet.
How to Cut an Avocado
- Store at room temperature until ripe. Once ripe, stick it in the fridge to prevent it from over-ripening.
- To speed up ripening, store your avocados in a paper bag with an apple or banana. These fruits give off a lot of ethylene gas, which will get caught in the bag and speed up the ripening of your avocado.
- If you’ve cut your avocado, prevent it from browning by rubbing it with a touch of lemon or lime juice.
What’s the deal with avocado seeds?
Drying, grinding, then adding avocado seed powder to things is quickly becoming the new fad, but it may not be a great idea. The components of the seed and its risks haven’t been studied, and even the California Avocado Commission has warned against it, saying “The seed of an avocado contains elements that are not intended for human consumption.” For now, I’d suggest sticking to the green, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the avocado.
So you shouldn’t go eating your seeds, but you can grow em! Stick 3 toothpicks into the upper third of the seed, broad side down, and place it so it’s halfway submerged in a glass of water. With some luck your seed will sprout and grow roots! Transfer it to a pot when it’s about 6 inches tall.
Nutrition Information for Avocados
per 1 fruit, without seed or skin (136 mL)
- Calories: 227
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Fiber: 9 g, 37% of Daily Value (DV)
- Protein: 3 g
- Fat: 21 g, 10g of this is from monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat
- 36% DV of Vitamin K: A fat-soluble vitamin that allows for activation of enzymes in the clotting cascade, which is responsible for blood clotting. Also builds bone by modifying osteocalcin so that it may bind calcium, thus building the bone matrix.
- 30% DV of Folate (Vitamin B9): A water-soluble vitamin that helps make DNA & RNA and metabolize amino acids.
- 20% DV of B6 (Pyridoxine): A water-soluble vitamin that works behind the scenes as a coenzyme in many important reactions within your body, including protein metabolism and red blood cell formation, among countless other functions.
- 20% DV of Potassium: A key mineral and electrolyte involved in countless processes, including healthy nervous system functioning and contraction of the heart and muscles.
- 20% DV of Vitamin C : A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
- 13% DV of Vitamin E (a.k.a Tocopherols and Tocotrienols): A fat-soluble antioxidant that fights against potentially damaging free radicals from reacting with oxygen when fat is metabolized.
- 11% DV of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): A water-soluble vitamin that acts as a component of FAD to help your body break down macronutrients in the electron transport chain, creating usable energy.