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Cooking with Avocados

 

 

 


 

Avocados were first cultivated in South America with later migration to Mexico. It was believed that a Mayan princess ate the very first avocado and that it held mystical and magical powers. European sailors traveling to the New World used avocados as their form of butter. Avocados were first seen in the United States in the early 1800's. California is currently the largest producer of avocados stateside. There are more than 80 varieties, with the "Hass" variety dominating the crop share. A single mature avocado tree can produce more than 400 pieces of fruit in a year.

Avocados
Serving size 1/2 cup, cubed (75g)
Amounts Per Serving% Daily Value
Calories 120 
Calories from Fat 100
Total Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1.5g8%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 5mg0%
Total Carbohydrate6g2%
  Dietary Fiber 5g18%
  Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A2%
Vitamin C10%
Calcium0%
Iron2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

  

Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They're also cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas. This fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat.


How to Select, Ripen, and Peel an Avocado

  • Look for firm avocados if you're planning on using them later in the week, otherwise, select fruit that yields to gentle pressure for immediate use.
  • Color alone will not tell you if the avocado is ripe. Ripe fruit will be slightly firm, but will yield to gentle pressure.
  • To speed the ripening process, place the avocado in a paper bag, and store at room temperature until ready to eat (usually two to five days). Placing an apple together with the avocado speeds up the process even more.
  • Cut the avocado in half, slightly twist the two halves, separate, and remove the seed. Starting at the small end and remove the skin with a knife, or, if you prefer, you can also scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
  • To retain a fresh green color, avocados should either be eaten immediately or should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar.


Varieties

There are several varieties of avocados and each have a unique flavor and texture. Here are some of the most common avocado varieties in the United States.

 Fuerte
This avocado is known for its thin smooth skin and creamy pale green flesh. The skin remains green when ripe. It is available late fall through spring. Considered a medium to large sized, pear shaped fruit.
 
 Gwen
Considered a Hass to some folks, but really is a different kind of avocado. With its medium to large oval shape and its thick pebbly green skin, this avocado's skin remains green when it's ripe. Gwen varieties are available late winter through late summer.
 
 Hass
The most common type of avocado in the United States is known for its purplish black pebbly skin. The skin darkens when the fruit is ripe and its flesh turns to a creamy pale green. This is the only year round avocado.
 
 Pinkerton
This variety looks like a long pear with pebbly green skin. The skin darkens when the fruit is ripe. The flesh is a creamy pale green with a small seed. This avocado is available winter through spring.
 
 Reed
Also known as the Summertime variety avocado, it is a large round fruit with thick green slightly rough skin. The skin stays green and the flesh is a buttery yellow when the fruit is ripe. This fruit is only available in the summer and early fall.
 
 Zutano
Available fall through early winter, this avocado is characterized by its shiny, yellow green skin and pear shape. It is a large sized fruit that stays the same color when ripe and has pale green flesh.
 
Photos and variety information courtesy of California Avocado Commission.


Recipes

Pan-Seared Salmon with Julienned Nectarines and Avocados
Serves 4.
Each serving equals 1 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: California Tree Fruit Agreement

Ingredients

 

4 to 8 attractive lettuce leaves such as red leaf or green leaf
4 nectarines, pitted and julienned
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into thin slices
2 Tbsp lime juice, about 3 limes
2 Tbsp minced chives
4 salmon fillets, each about ½ inch thick
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
4 Tbsp butter
¼ to 1/3 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

Divide the lettuce leaves evenly among 4 dinner plates and arrange them along the edge. Add the nectarines and avocados and drizzle with the lime juice. Sprinkle with the chives.

Season the fillets with the salt and the pepper. In a large frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the fillets and cook about 3 minutes. Turn and cook about 30 seconds, then add the wine, scraping up any bits clinging to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook another 2 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through and flakes when pierced with a fork.

Place a fillet on each plate, alongside the avocados and nectarines. Drizzle with any pan juices. Serve this with rice, if desired, accompanied by lime halves for squeezing.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 421.6, Fat 28.3g, Calories from Fat 58%, Cholesterol 68.9mg, Fiber 6.1g, Sodium 746.9mg.


Avocado Salsa

Serves 12.
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Produce for Better Health

Ingredients

 

1 small avocado
1½ tomato, large and ripe
1½ cups fat free sour cream
4 oz fat free shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large lime (juice of)
½ tsp cumin, ground
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt

In medium bowl combine all ingredients; toss well and maintain chunky consistency.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 61, Protein 4g, Fat 2g, Calories From Fat 27%, Cholesterol 4mg, Carbohydrates 8g, Fiber 1g, Sodium 153mg.


Citrus Salad with Avocado

Serves 6.
Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Produce for Better Health

Ingredients

 

3 Medium corn tortillas
4 Oranges, medium
4 Grapefruits, medium
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Raspberry vinegar
1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
6 Sprigs fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Slice corn tortillas into thin strips. Dry the strips by placing on a cookie sheet and baking in preheated 225° F oven for approximately 15 minutes. Set aside. Grate the oranges to obtain approximately 2 teaspoons of orange rind for each serving. Set aside. Peel oranges and grapefruit, section, and seed. Set sections aside.

Mix honey, raspberry vinegar, orange, and grapefruit sections. Add orange rinds and tortilla strips. Toss all ingredients gently. Top with avocado slices and a sprig of fresh mint for garnish.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 200, Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 22%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 6g, Sodium 22mg.


Avocado and Fruit Salad Topping

Serves 4.
Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: California Avocado Commission

Ingredients

 

2 red delicious apples, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tsp lemon juice
2 California Avocados, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 kiwi fruits, sliced
1 banana sliced
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries
5 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp mace (East Indian spice similar to nutmeg)

Place apples in a bowl with lemon juice to keep from browning. Add all other ingredients. Gently mix fruit salad topping. Serve on top of waffles, with or without liquid syrup.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 318, Fat 12.2g, Calories from Fat 31%, Carbohydrates 57g, Cholesterol 0mg, Protein 3.1g, Fiber 10.7g, Sodium 15.8mg.


California Avocado Fruit Salad

Serves 8.
Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: California Avocado Commission

Ingredients

 

1 package mixed baby greens (10 oz)
3 kiwi, peeled and sliced in half rounds
2 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 ripe California avocado, seeded and peeled (½ sliced into 8 portions, ½ cubed)
¼ cups olive oil
2 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tsp grated lime peel
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil leaves
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

In a large salad bowl, combine first five ingredients except avocado slices. Pour on dressing and toss to coat. Top with avocado slices.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, set aside.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 170, Fat 11g, Calories from Fat 7%, Saturated Fat 2g, Sodium 180mg, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 5g, Protein 3g.


California Avocado Tacos

Serves 12.
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: California Avocado Commission

Ingredients

 

1 ripe California avocado, peeled and seeded
1 medium onion, julienned
2 large green peppers, julienned
2 large red peppers, julienned
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1½ cups fresh tomato salsa (see below)
12 flour tortillas
non-stick cooking spray

Fresh Tomato Salsa

 

1 cup tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup onions, diced
½ clove garlic, minced
2 tsp cilantro
1/3 tsp jalapeño peppers, chopped
½ tsp lime, juiced
pinch of cumin

Spray skillet with cooking spray. Lightly sautè onion and green and red peppers.

Cut avocado into 12 slices. Warm tortillas in oven and fill with peppers, onions, avocado slices and salsa. Fold tortillas and serve.

Salsa Preparation:
Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate in advance.

Nutrition information per serving (tacos with salsa): Calories 170, Fat 6g, Calories from Fat 4%, Cholesterol 3mg, Sodium 167 mg.

 

Chicken Breast With California Avocado Risotto
Serves 6.
Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: California Avocado Commission

Ingredients

 

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups Fresh green bell pepper, diced
½ cup Frozen corn
1½ cup Fresh tomato, diced
4 cups White rice, cooked
¾ cup Fresh basil, chopped
½ medium California avocado, diced

Chicken

 

1 Tbsp Olive oil
6 (3 oz each) Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup Capers
¾ Fresh lemon juice
½ cup Fresh parsley, chopped
½ medium California avocado, sliced

Put olive oil in a skillet and over low heat, sautè the green bell pepper, corn, and tomato for approximately 5 minutes. Add the precooked white rice and basil. Simmer for approximately 5 more minutes and set aside. Add the diced avocado.

Chicken Preparation:
Sautè the chicken breasts in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes on each side over low heat. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. In the same skillet sautè the capers for approximately 1 minute. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and parsley. To serve, place the risotto mixture on plate and top with chicken breast. Pour the caper and lemon juice mixture over the chicken and rice. Garnish with the California avocado slices.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 452, Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 2.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8g, Monosaturated Fat 7.7g, Cholesterol 72mg, Sodium 107mg, Total Carbohydrate 52g, Protein 32g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 6g.

 


Source:
http://www.5aday.gov/


 

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