Avocados are one of those foods that everyone in my house can enjoy without complaining. Avocados are available and tasty year round thanks to growing in various regions including California, Florida, Mexico and Chile. My finicky 8 year old daughter will eat them sliced up any day of the week and positively gleams when she sees them on her plate, as if I slaved in the kitchen to prepare something extra special for her. As a toddler she would stuff them to her mouth so quickly that they would end up smeared all over her face and hands while perched in her highchair. We joked that her creamy smooth complexion was result of her daily avocado facial masks during mealtime.
Avocados are one of those foods that don’t take a lot of preparation to taste good. You can slice them up for sandwiches are salads. You can puree them for a healthy smoothie or throw them in cooked dishes. Avocados are so versatile with a mild flavor and smooth texture that they compliment just about anything from chips, salad, poultry, fish or beef. Whether you are a meat-eater, fish veggie or a vegan, avocados are usually allowed on the menu.
Odd fact – although you will usually find avocados stacked next to the vegetables in the grocery store, they are actually a fruit. Avocados are native to South and Central America. The two most common varieties are Hass and Fuerte and over 90 percent of the nation’s avocados are the Hass variety from California. Florida produces the Fuerte varieties that are larger and have more water and less fat than the Hasses.
Avocados are a suburb healthy treat for anyone and especially good for curbing that afternoon snack attack that many pregnant women often feel in even greater force than the rest of humanity and that a carrot or celery stick just won’t satisfy (although maybe when dipped in some salty guacamole). Although a medium avocado has about 30 grams of fat, it’s mostly the monounsaturated “good fat” that boosts good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. A typical serving of avocados is about 1 ounce, which is approximately 3 slices and only 5 grams of “good” fat. Avocados are also a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that is good for the eyes.
Popular Super Bowl Treat:
The Hass Avocado Board estimates that over 71 million pounds of the purple-black Hass avocados will be consumed during this year’s Super Bowl parties. That equates to more than 27 feel of avocados, enough to cover an entire football field “end zone to end zone.” We can assume that most of those avocados will be consumed in the form of guacamole dip.
The most important element in making really good guacamole is using very good, ripe avocados. To find just the right ripeness, press the outside of the avocado gently. If there is a little bit of give, then the avocado is perfectly ripe. If it is hard, it is not ready and if there is too much give, then the avocado is probably too ripe and will not taste good. If you have your “perfect” ripe avocados, all you really need is salt and lime juice (lemon juice is also good if you don’t have a lime). The other good ingredients to add are cilantro, chiles, onion and tomato. However if you are prone to morning sickness, simpler is better, just use the ingredients that don’t make you avert your ever powerful nose during pregnancy (although many pregnant women swear that spicier is better when they are expecting).
Here’s a good recipe I found with these very ingredients which serves 2-4. Double or triple for larger servings and adjust the chiles portion of the recipe for your level of preferred spiciness.
Prep time: 10 minutes,
2 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
A dash of freshly grated black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
Garnish with red radishes or jicama. Serve with tortilla chips.
1 Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
2 Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don’t overdo it! The guacamole should be a little chunky.) Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.
Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor, so don’t chop the tomatoes or add to the guacamole until ready to serve.
Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.
3 Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.
4 Just before serving chop the tomato; add to the guacamole and mix.
Only refrigerate ripe avocados as unripe ones will not ripen in the cold. You can store ripe avocados in the refrigerator up to 5 days. If you store too long, the flesh will darken and turn into flavorless mush.
Pureed avocados can be stored in the freezer up to 4 months for use in dips, sauces and spreads. Make sure you place pureed avocados in an airtight container leaving about an inch of head space. Also, for better flavor add a tablespoon of lime or lemon for each avocado you blend in your blender.
So go for that guacamole dip without guilt this Super Bowl Sunday, it’s good for you and your baby and yummy to boot!