Tomato: “Cheer up! They mistake me for a vegetable too!”
We love avocado season in the Caribbean!
The avocado, often used as a vegetable, is really a fruit. We love avocado season in the Caribbean especially since they grow so well in our tropical climate. Avocado, scientific name Persea americana. Known by different names in different regions, such as alligator pear because of the rugged alligator-like skin of some species, and just pear in Dominica and other Caribbean islands because of its shape, these are highly valuable plants all over the world. Among the several cultivars, the Hass avocado is the most sought after variety. Though, it is easy to grow these trees from seeds, it takes about six (6) years to bear fruit. Considering this, commercial plantation is done using grafted saplings.
This super fruit is believed to originate from Southern Mexico but was cultivated from the Rio Grande to central Peru before the arrival of the Europeans. The main species are Guatemalan (Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis L. Wms.), Mexican (P. americana var. drymifolia Blake), West Indian (P. americana Mill. var. americana), and hybrid forms exist between all three types.
A single avocado has 975 milligrams of potassium, while a banana, well-known for being loaded with potassium, delivers just half that, with 487 milligrams per large fruit. Avocados also contain an amazing array of phytonutrients and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and oleic acid are key fats provided by avocado. Avocados are a good source of pantothenic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Although they are fruits, avocados have a high fat content of between 71 to 88% of their total calories—about 20 times the average for other fruits. A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, but 20 of these fat grams are health-promoting monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid. It is therefore believed to have wide-ranging anti-inflammatory benefits which include help in preventing arthritis. It is also believed to promote optimized absorption of carotenoids and supports cardiovascular health and promotes blood sugar regulation. Add a few slices of avocado to a regular salad for the nutty buttery taste, the rich nutrients and to optimize the benefits from your veggies!
Selection and storage
A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft. If the avocado has a slight neck, rather than being rounded on top, it was probably tree ripened and will have better flavor. A firmer, less mature fruit can be ripened at home and will be less likely to have bruises. It can be ripened in a paper bag or among other fruits such as bananas at room temperature within a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. If you are refrigerating a whole avocado, it is best to keep it whole and not slice it in order to avoid browning that occurs when the flesh is exposed to air. Store cut avocado in a plastic bag, wrap with plastic wrap, or place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Sprinkling the exposed surface(s) with lemon juice will help to prevent the browning that can occur when the flesh comes in contact with oxygen in the air.
Guacamole is a very popular avocado-based dip and spread for tacos that originated with the Aztecs in Mexico. In addition to its use in modern Mexican cuisine it has also become part of American cuisine as a dip, condiment and salad ingredient.
Here is a simple guacamole recipe:-
Ingredients: 2 avocados 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 ripe tomato, chopped 1 lime, juiced salt and pepper to taste Directions Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper. Season with remaining lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for half an hour to blend flavors.
A popular and delicious avocado side dish is Avocado and Farine balls: cassava flour mashed in avocado with a few drops of cooking oil, finely crushed garlic, and salt to taste rolled into a ball which is served with a savory meat (commonly sautéed codfish).