You are everything I AVO wanted
(Image Description: Sunny side up egg on top of sliced avocado sprinkled with crushed red pepper on a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread on a white round plate accompanied by a side of cantaloupe slices, coffee and berry smoothie)
AVOCADO, often mistaken for a vegetable, this pear-shaped fruit with a hard dark green exterior, a single large seed in the centre and a soft creamy pale green pulp has been around for centuries. Consumed and known for their health benefits, avocados gained popularity once Instagram graced our smart phone screens and the perfectly fanned slices on top of whole grain toast appeared on everyone's feed with the hash tag "AvoToast".
Don't be fooled by the perfectly streamlined slices and smooth round creamy exterior in the photo, this was not an easy feat. Like the perfect selfie, this may have taken several attempts and the toast is most likely ice cold by the end of this photoshoot all while thinking of a witty caption to tag your post like "Holly molly, Guacamole. You are the Avocado to my Toast" and wait for the likes to come rolling in.
What if I told you that you've been cutting avocados all wrong
If you cut the fruit in half and twist open to expose the large seed, picking up your very large knife and praying for the best as the knife swings down hopefully lodging into the seed so you can twist it out. STOP THAT! Unless you're a chef PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT if you want to keep all your digits.
Today I'm going to share a few health benefits of the avocado. Tips to picking a perfectly ripe fruit and a quick easy and injury free way of slicing it.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE AVOCADO
The Avocado is high in healthy fats, loaded with fibre keeping you feeling fuller longer, low in carbohydrates. It's known to lower cholesterol levels and is high in antioxidants like Lutein which helps protect against eye disease.
PICKING THE PERFECT AVOCADO
The perfect avocado is green and creamy on the inside with no brown spots inside. When picking an avocado you want to look under the stem, if it removes easily and the colour underneath is green/golden in colour it's ripe. If it’s vibrant green in colour or the stem does not remove easily leave it on the counter for a few more days it's not ripe. NOTE: if you notice a brownish colour under stem, put that back down and walk away or select another one. That's an indicator that the avocado is overripe and most likely will brown spots inside.
Pick up the fruit and place it in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze it, a ripe avocado will give slightly when gentle pressure is applied. If it feels mushy, it's overripe and a firm taut avocado is under ripe.
HOW TO QUICKLY RIPEN AN AVOCADO
You can turn an underripe avocado into a creamy bowl of guacamole in no time. Place the underripe avocados in a bowl with bananas and store at room temperature. The bananas release ethylene (ETH-A-LEAN) a gas that speeds up the ripening process.
You can also place a bag of underripe avocados into a in paper bag with a banana and you'll have ripe avocados within 1-3 days.
CUTTING AN AVOCADO
Begin by making an incision starting from the top of the avocado all the way to the bottom, rotate the fruit and repeat this on the other side. You should now have an incision going all the way around the centre of the fruit. Now rotate the fruit and make another incision cutting the avocado into quarters and gently twist to open. A ripe avocado will fall apart or you may need to peel away one or two quarters leaving on quarter with the seed attached. Using your fingers pull away the seed, it will remove easily. Starting from the tip of each quarter peel back the skin and slice, dice or mash to your hearts content.