Avocados

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Hass avocado pears - Persea americana 'Hass'

Avocado fruits have a smooth, creamy, greenish-yellow flesh with an unusually high amount of fat that is primarily monounsaturated. They also contain a high concentration of dietary fibre, vitamins and potassium.

The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, making an excellent substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. The fruit is not sweet, but fatty, distinctly yet subtly flavoured, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole, as well as a filling for several kinds of sushi, including California rolls. Avocado is popular in chicken dishes and as a spread on toast, served with salt and pepper. In Brazil and Vietnam, avocados are considered sweet fruits, so are frequently used for milk-shakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. In Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed avocado. Chocolate syrup is sometimes added.

Preparing an avocado

In Mexico and Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat. In Chile its consumption is widespread and used as a puree in chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of Caesar salad contains large slices of mature avocado.

The Hass avocado, sometimes marketed as the Haas avocado, is a cultivar of avocado with dark green coloured, bumpy skin. It was first grown and sold by Southern California mail carrier and amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass, who also gave it his name.

A neat trick to ripen avocado pears

Supermarket ready-to-eat avocado pears are twice the price of unripe avocados but most times you need them to be ripe the day you buy them. This great trick shown to me by a fruit farmer allows you to ripen them to order. It's similar to using an old Victorian fruit store - the cold halts the ripening process. Place the unripe pears in the fridge until a few days before you need them. Storing them in a cool dark place prevents them ripening any further so they won't ripen before you want to use them. To ripen them, place them on a sunny window sill for two or three days, turning them daily.

Preparing an avocado pear

With a sharp knife, cut around the stone in a circular motion, grip either half in each hand and twist in opposing directions to split into two halves. Sharply tap a sharp knife into the stone so it penetrates (as shown), cup the pear in one hand and rotate the knife away from you to free the stone. Scoop the flesh out with a tablespoon or an ice-cream scoop.

An Avocado slicer is a kitchen tool designed to quickly slice avocados.

Avocados: What portion size makes one of my 5 a day?

Select Avocados from the drop-down selector below to find out what constitutes one portion of your 5-a-day fruits.

What are you waiting for? Pick your fruit now!
1 fresh apple
2 heaped tablespoons of apple puree
6 halves of unsweetened tinned apricots
3 whole fresh apricots
Half an avocado
1 banana
10 blackberries
4 heaped tablespoons of blackcurrants
4 heaped tablespoons of blueberries
11 tinned cherries
14 fresh cherries
2 clementines
6 damsons
3 fresh dates
2 fresh figs
150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned fruit salad
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh fruit salad
150ml glass of fruit smoothie
1 handful of gooseberries
8 segments of tinned grapefruit
half a fresh grapefruit
1 handful of grapes
2 kiwi fruit
8 Kumquats
6 tinned lychees
6 fresh lychees
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned mandarin oranges
1 fresh mandarin orange
2 slices of fresh mango (5cm or 2 inch)
1 slice of melon (5cm or 2 inch)
1 nectarine
1 orange
6 passion fruits
1 slice of pawpaw (papaya)
2 halves of tinned peaches
1 fresh peach
2 halves of tinned pears
1 fresh pear
2 rings of tinned pineapple
3 tablespoons of crushed pineapple
1 large slice of fresh pineapple
2 plums
6 tinned prunes
3 prunes
20 tinned raspberries
2 handfuls of fresh raspberries
5 chunks of tinned rhubarb
2 heaped tablespoons of cooked rhubarb
2 satsumas
1 sharon fruit
9 tinned strawberries
7 fresh strawberries
1 heaped tablespoon of sultanas
2 tangerines
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tinned whole tinned plum tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato
7 fresh cherry tomatoes
4 dried apple rings
3 whole dried apricots
1 handful of dried banana chips
1 heaped tablespoon of dried cherries
1 heaped tablespoon of dried cranberries
1 heaped tablespoon of dried currants
2 dried figs
1 heaped tablespoon of dried mangoes
1 heaped tablespoon of dried mixed fruit
2 halves of dried peaches
2 halves of dried pear
1 heaped tablespoon of dried pineapple
3 dried prunes
1 tablespoon of raisins
4 sundried tomatoes

5 a day: See also

See also


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