June 14, 2010
Enjoy an Avocado: A Healthy Fat
There are nearly 500 varieties of avocado. The most common is the Haas. Choose avocados that are firm and heavy for their size, but yield with slight pressure to the skin. Haas avocados turn darker as they ripen. They can be stored at room temperature or placed in a paper bag with an apple or banana to speed ripening.
Cut the ripe avocado in half lengthwise and pry open gently. Remove the pit, then peel the skin back with your fingers or a knife, or scoop the fruit out with a spoon. Once cut, they should be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag. To reduce browning, sprinkle with lemon juice and store in an airtight container. To freeze, puree or mash and stir with lemon juice (about one tablespoon lemon juice per two avocados) and place in a freezer bag or other airtight container. It can remain frozen for up to five months.
Avocados are often just associated with guacamole, but there are many other delicious ways to enjoy these healthful fruit. Halved, they make a festive way to serve chicken salad, shrimp salad or crab salad. For a warm dish, try filling with a cooked curried chicken mixture. They can also be filled with a mixture of baby shrimp that has been sautéed with garlic and simmered in a little brandy or sherry.
Cubes of avocado are tasty added to a fruit salsa or salad. Try a fresh spinach salad with thinly sliced red onion, some low fat feta cheese, avocado, and a vinaigrette dressing. Cubes can also be slipped onto a skewer with other fresh fruit. They can be a colorful addition to a caprese salad of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Added to potato salad they add flavor and a creamy texture.
Try adding cubes of avocado to an omelet or frittata. For a cool summer dish, add cubes of avocado to a mixture of cooked grain (like brown rice), cut up fresh vegetables, cubes of grilled chicken, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
Mashed, avocados can be used as a spread for sandwiches or as a lower calorie alternative to cream cheese on your morning bagel or English muffin. They can also be used as part of a stir fry with vegetables and served over whole grain pasta, brown rice or quinoa.
Avocados are wonderful paired with fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil or parsley. They also mix nicely with spices like ginger or with lemon or orange zest. They also go well with tropical fruit like mango.
Posted by Lisa at June 14, 2010 9:37 AM
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