Health Benefits and Culinary Uses of Avocado

avocados
avocados

What is an Avocado?

An avocado is an exotic green fruit. It is oval shaped, dark green on the outside (shell) and light green on the inside. It contains a large pit inside it, which is thrown away before the avocado can be consumed.

You can find avocados in your local supermarket, in farmer markets, and in fruit and vegetable stores. Avocados that are dark green are usually already ripened and ready to eat, though some may still need to ripen a bit more. Those that are lighter green need to be ripened before they are consumed.

If you need to use an avocado right away be sure to get the darker ones as those are already ripened. If you are not in a rush you can get the lighter green ones and wait for them to ripen at home. If you are not sure if the avocado is ready to eat or not just feel the avocado to see if it is hard or soft. Hard avocados need to be ripened, soft ones are ready to eat, and those that are too soft may be spoiled, so stay away from those.

Before consuming an avocado, be sure to wash it and peel the outer dark green skin. Then cut the avocado in half and remove the large pit. Neither the outer skin, nor the pit, are edible. Once you do this, which should not take you more than a few minutes, you are ready to consume your avocados, whether by themselves, in sandwiches, or in other dishes.

Sometimes you may not need to use an entire avocado. If that is the case, remember to not throw away the pit. Keeping the pit inside the avocado will prevent it from darkening quickly. Be sure to consume the avocado within a few days though. Keeping it in the fridge for many days will cause it to darken and even spoil.

How to Ripen an Avocado

Most of the time avocados found in supermarkets or fruit and vegetable stores are hard and need to be ripened before they are consumed or used in your favorite recipes. But how do you ripen an avocado?

There is an easy way to ripen avocados. All you need is a brown paper bag. Just place your avocados in a brown paper bag, close it, and place into the pantry. Your avocados should be ripe and ready for use in a few days. For faster ripening you can add a banana peel to the brown paper bag.

Health Benefits of Avocados

It is true that avocados are high in calories, and you may choose to stay away from them if you are on a diet, but avocados are actually good for you. They are rich in potassium and in vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. They also provide you with 54% of the recommended daily value of fiber. By adding avocados to your diet and pairing it with other fat burning foods you can actually improve your nutrient absorption.

Avocados help reduce inflammation and prevent rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. They also help regular blood sugar, promote good eye health, and believe it or not reduce signs of aging. The folate found in avocados helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin E (and glutathione) helps protect you against diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

With so many health benefits of avocados it is a good idea to start adding avocados to your daily diet.

sliced avocados with sandwiches and eggs
sliced avocados with sandwiches and eggs
omelet with avocados and other ingredients...
omelet with avocados and other ingredients...

Culinary Uses of Avocados

There are many culinary uses of avocados. Avocados can be consumed on their own, or used as a spread on sandwiches, chips, or crackers. They can also be added to omelets, used in salads, and in many appetizer dishes. Below you will find some recipes and recipe ideas that use avocados as one of their ingredients...

Instead of using mayo on your sandwiches scoop out some avocado and spread it on top of your favorite bread. Then add your desired ingredients like sliced turkey breast, salami, and other cold cuts. You can also add tomatoes and some alfalfa sprouts to the sandwich to make it a real treat.

When you are making a green salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc., be sure to add slices of avocado and add some dried cranberries on top. It will liven up your salad and make it even more delicious.

When you are making an omelet mash some avocado with a fork or potato masher and add it to the egg mixture before pouring it onto a skillet. Dried cranberries can also be added to the mixture for an even tastier omelet.

You can even turn your avocado omelet into avocado pancakes. Just pour spoonfuls of the avocado egg mixture onto a skillet and cook like you would cook a pancake. It will be delicious. If the mixture happens to not be thick enough you can always add some flour to thicken it up before cooking.

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Comments 7 comments

unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

One of the most popolar fruit here, grown in every backyard. Rich in vitamins and minerals good for our skin and body. Plus it tastes delicious!


Lizam1 profile image

Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

My favourite fruit - so adaptable and tasty. Can't understanmd why my teens won't eat them - they did as toddlers!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

MMMMM love avocados anyway I can get it,.. great hub.. thank you Lena...thank you for the great recipes...

Debbie


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 4 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

MickiS - Thanks for the video suggestion. Didn't think of that. Some people won't tackle or eat an avocado until they see someone do it and a video is the way to go.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

I never used to be keen on it until I started having the in a fresh summer salad. I also tried shrimps in rosemary sauce with avocado. Very nutritious and full of goodness. thanks for sharing. voted up!


MickiS profile image

MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

LOVE avocado and eat several of them a week. It might be useful to include a video on how to cut and peel and avocado. I've tried to explain it to my mother over the phone (she lives 3,000 miles away), but she wouldn't eat avocados until I sent her a video on how to cut them!


emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago

I looove avocado. Just recently I started craving it! I learned that they do not get ripened in the fridge though and have to be left out to ripen up, preferably in a dark bag. Good idea of using some for a spread on sandwiches. Great hub!

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