Avocado is easy to love. But for me it wasn't an instant love affair, my passion for this fruit has grown and matured over the years but it still continues to surprise me. I remember that a decade back, Avocados were a rarity and unfortunately we didn't even know how to use them. It warms my heart to see it being available in abundance now, whenever I venture out to a super market or even with a local subzi waala.
Avocados do not have a strong singular taste. They are fairly bland with a light nutty taste and a creamy texture. This characteristic actually is a blessing in disguise as you can use the fruit to make almost anything, create a snack, salad, chunky guacamole, sandwich spread, sushi, a sweet dish or smoothies. The creaminess balances out acidity or spiciness but it is also mild enough not to overpower other ingredients.
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Honestly, for the longest time in my career I never tried using an avocado. Partly because of its erratic supply and partly because I under-estimated the culinary strength of the fruit. However, as I started researching on ingredients and cooking more experimentative and wholesome food, this one came out as a strong super food. Even though I have now created some signature avocado recipes, I still enjoy it right out of the peel with some lime juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Avocado is a delicate fruit and requires careful handling right from the time you pick, choose and until you cook them. And this meme that someone forwarded once, always makes me laugh out loud, though it's quite accurate as well.
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How to choose a ripe avocado -
Check under the stem. Pop the brown stem off; if it's green, the avocado is perfect. If it's brown or dark, the avocado will be too ripe.
The best way to check for an avocado's ripeness is by touch. Carefully hold the avocado in your hand and just give it a little squeeze. If it's firm and the skin doesn't indent at all, then it's not ready to eat. When you squeeze it and feels like you're molding clay, then it's ready! But never ever press it hard, it will destroy the delicate fruit.
Not every time you would be lucky to get an avocado which is perfectly ripe and ready to eat. So how do we ripen the fruit? Wrap the avocado in newspaper and seal it tight. If you add an apple or a banana the avocados will ripen quicker. Maybe you can have your kids try this cool experiment. Wrap one avocado in newspaper and another in newspaper with a banana and watch what happens!
But why avocados? Is it a fad or over-hyped? Not one bit. Beyond being delicious and versatile, there is so much more to this wonder food. Here are some of the benefits of this fruit-
Good Fat - Avocados are full of healthy mono-unsaturated fat. This is the kind of fat that is GOOD for your heart. It's a great alternative to unhealthy spreads on toasts.
Nutrient dense - Avocados are packed with beneficial nutrients to enhance the nutrient quality of your meals. It has more potassium than a banana!
Beautiful Skin - High concentration of vitamins and antioxidants in the avocado gives a healthy glow to the skin. Presence of oleic acid in avocados maintains moisture in the epidermal layer of our skin, hence nourishing and hydrating the skin.
For the eyes - Avocados are high in antioxidants, including Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
High Fiber - Avocados tend to be higher in fiber compared to most other foods. Fiber can have various important benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.
Builds Immunity - They are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and various important nutrients which help in building overall immunity.
Whether it's in a salad, as guacamole, or as a face mask for your skin, the joys of avocados are plentiful. Aren't we what we eat, and our skin and hair soak up what we layer onto them, and avocados provide a nourishing feast. It is little wonder that the world is obsessed with them.
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