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Avocado Tomato Salad
Avocado Tomato Salad
Is the Avocado a Fruit or Vegetable?
You may think this green, healthy food is a vegetable, but technically it's a fruit. Fruit is the part of a plant that develops from a blossom, or in the case of the avocado, a single seeded berry. Other fruits include cucumbers, pea pods, grains, sunflower seeds, corn, beans, pumpkins and tomatoes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
According to the University of California agriculture and natural resources, a fruit is the "matured ovary of a flower". Due to the nature of the produce which grows on a tree and is part of the reproductive process in carrying the seed of the plant, it is categorized as a fruit of the species P. Americana. Avocados have a long history dating back to around 10,000 BC with evidence of their use found in a cave in Coxcatlan, Puebla, Mexico. Writings from the fifteenth century detail history of this amazing ancient fruit.
Fresh Tomatoes, Avocado and Lemons
My grandmother's sister, Aunt Jessie, had a home in south Miami near highway A1A. In her backyard lived several mature avocado trees which bore more fruit than she could easily use. She bartered with the neighbors trading them for fresh mangoes, grapefruit and oranges from their own yards. It was a small community where everyone knew each other.
Whenever we would drive up for a visit from where we lived in the Florida Keys, she'd prepare a hearty feast that covered the entire surface of the dining room table. Her home was always filled with aromas of fresh baked cakes, fried chicken, string beans seasoned with ham, stewed tomatoes and a variety of other side dishes. Alongside the many bowls overflowing with food was the family favorite, avocado salad.
Childhood memories are filled with the fishing trips we made into to the Everglades and hours of playing on the tire swing in her back yard that was tied to her avocado tree. Aunt Jessie's mother lived in the house, too, sleeping in the small front bedroom where the scent of Jasmine drifted in the jalousie windows on soft southern breezes.
My sister and I would sleep with Great grandmother, who was born in 1860. She kept us entertained late into the night with her stories about Native Americans who lived in the South Miami area. She told us how they traveled along dirt paths making their way to the old general store where they traded their handmade goods for merchandise. We could easily imagine the barefooted women walking along with their babies riding in papooses on their backs. Her attention to detail made the stories come alive.
Her daughter, Aunt Jessie, lived to be ninety-seven years old and passed along the secrets of her family recipe for avocado salad which I've shared here.
Removing the Seed
Easy Way to Remove the Seed
There are a number of ways to cut an avocado. This is a simple way that gets the seed out without damaging the meat of the fruit is as follows:
- First, use a sharp knife to cut lengthwise around the entire avocado.
- Twist the avocado slightly to make it easy to separate the halves.
- Take the knife and gently skewer the seed with a chopping motion.
- Twist clockwise or counterclockwise to turn the seed in its pocket.
- Remove the seed which remains skewered on the knife.
Sprinkle a little lemon juice over the surface to keep the fruit from turning brown.
To Cube the Avocado
Make 3 lengthwise cuts using a rounded knife on one half of the avocado while it remains within the peeling.
Make 4 or 5 horizontal cuts across the width of the same half.
Using a large spoon, scoop out the cubes separating them from the peel.
Let them drop into a small bowl as you work.
At this point, I like to use a bit more lemon juice to keep the fruit from turning brown.
Repeat this process for the other half.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper if desired.
Avocados contain nearly twenty vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can contribute to the nutrient quality of your daily diet. One serving provides approximately four percent (4%) of vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and panothenic acid, with six percent (6%) of folate and two percent (2%) zinc, magnesium, manganese, thiamin, phosphorus, copper and iron.
Five servings are contained in one medium Haas avocado, determined by the size of the fruit. Mono unsaturated fats account for three and a half (3.5) grams with half a gram of saturated fat and half a gram of unsaturated fat. Total fat per serving shown is slightly below the standard estimate of seven percent per serving as the table shows only whole numbers with no decimals.
|Serving size: 1/5 of a Haas Avocado 30g/1oz|
|Calories from Fat||36|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 4 g||6%|
|Saturated fat 1 g||5%|
|Unsaturated fat 1 g|
|Carbohydrates 3 g||1%|
|Sugar 0 g|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Hollowing out the Tomato
How to Turn a Tomato into a Container for the Salad
Turning the tomato into a container makes a nice presentation for the salad.
Begin by cutting a circle into the top of the tomato by inserting a sharp knife at an angle toward the center. Once the center section is removed, use a small spoon to separate the inside from the edge taking care not to pierce the side walls.
Remove the tomato innards and cut them into smaller pieces, draining any excess liquid before adding them to the salad mixture.
Reserve the lid for the final presentation.
Cubed Avocado with Tomato, Salt and Pepper
To finish the Avocado Salad
For those who enjoy mayonnaise, add a tablespoon to the cubed avocado and diced tomato. Dice a soft-boiled egg and add to the mix.
Ranch Dressing or Italian Dressing can be substituted for those who prefer it rather than the mayonnaise.
If desired, add one teaspoon of sweet pickle relish, a little salt and pepper and garlic powder or minced garlic.
Stir the mixture together and refill the tomato shell garnishing the top with some chopped pecans or walnuts. I use whatever I have at the time, varying the recipe sometimes to include chopped black olives or shredded cheese.
Sprinkle a small amount of Paprika over the stuffed tomato and serve over a bed of shredded lettuce.
Delicious and easy to prepare, serve this dish as an entrée or a side salad. Avocado is good for you.
© 2013 Peg Cole