The one thing that will ever be imprinted in my memory is the Avocado tree at the bottom of my parents’ garden. The pears were so huge they weighed over a kilo each. I know because we used to weigh them at the vegetable shop on the corner of our street.
As any fan of the fruit will tell you they have a velvety smooth texture, wonderful melt-in-your mouth creaminess and a beautiful buttery flavour.
These inherent qualities of the Avo have fascinated people for thousands of years. The ancient South American cultures revered avos as fruits of the gods. One of the stories goes that a Mayan princess ate the very first avocado and believed it had mystical, magical powers.
The Aztecs were in awe of avos for more than just this; they also believed the fruit enhanced fertility. The word avocado actually comes from the Aztec word ‘ahuácatl’, meaning testicle, a reference to the suggestive shape of avos and the Aztecs’ belief that they had some serious aphrodisiac qualities.
If this has you blushing 50 shades of red, take heart – the jury’s still out on the humble avo’s alleged mighty prowess in the bedroom! However, its versatility in the kitchen is well known, which is why you should ‘add an Avo’ to your meals, no matter what you’re cooking up. And if you’re already an ardent Avo fan, don’t just add one – add two or three!
You see, when it comes to avos, it’s a case of ‘you can’t get too much of a good thing’. Because while they have a relatively high fat content, it’s good fat – the stuff that’s believed to help bust bad LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Plus they’re high in dietary fibre, a source of pantothenic acid and virtually free of sodium. As a heart-healthy food, avos are also the proud titleholders of the Heart Mark.
As if all that wasn’t enough, avos could also help you lose weight. Research conducted found that avos could successfully be included in an effective weight loss programme, because eating an Avo a day within an energy-restricted diet didn’t compromise weight loss. In fact, those on the Avo diet found it easier to stick to the eating plan because these devilishly delectable fruits made the diet that much more exciting.
Of course, you don’t have to do anything fancy with your avos to enjoy them – you can eat them just the way you wish. On burgers, pitas and pizzas; in wraps, subs and sandwiches; in pastas and paellas, salsas and sauces. Whether on top, inside or on the side, there are as many ways to eat these fabulous fruits as there are varieties – estimates peg the number at 400 – in the world today.
Avos are king when it comes to salads. Rich and creamy, they add that something special that makes salads well, heavenly. But just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean salads are off the menu. Oh no! There are loads of salad greens and vegetables out now that are perfect for seasonal salads. All you need to do is add an Avo…or two or three…
Herby avocado salad
Serves 4 – 6
- 6 large ripe avocados, peeled and quartered
- 30g Italian parsley
- 30g chives
- 6 spring onions
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a food processor. Toss the avocado with the dressing and arrange on a platter. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, serve immediately.
Winter avocado, Savoy cabbage, pear & cranberry salad
Serves 4 – 6
- 4 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
- 2 ripe pears, sliced
- 1 Savoy cabbage, shredded (can substitute with chicory or Chinese cabbage)
- 50g dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoon dukkah spice
Heat a griddle pan until smoking and grill slices of pear, until lightly browned. Toss all the ingredients together, sprinkle with dukkah and serve on a platter.