Mercado Monday: Aguacate (Avocado)
There are literally dozens of avocado varieties to choose from, many of which can be found in Nicaragua.
Choosing a ripe avocado is easy. Don’t be too preoccupied with the colour. Some avocados are ripe when they are dark green, others need to be slightly black and one variety even turns dark purple when it is ripe. The key to choosing the right avocado is how it feels. Gently squeeze one in your hand. Avoid using your fingertips, so you don’t bruise it. The perfect avocado should give just a little when you squeeze it.
HOW TO EAT IT
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. You can then cut the fruit into slices or simply scoop it out from the skin. The most popular way to eat avocado is in guacamole. I actually like my avocado served with a little lime juice, salt and pepper. Avocado is delicious in salads. You also can spread it on burgers and sandwiches. For added nutrition try adding a slice or two of avocado to your next smoothie. With avocado the opportunities are endless.
Avocado has a mild, yet very unique flavour. The texture is creamy and melts in your mouth. In my opinion avocado makes almost everything taste better.
Avocados grow on trees. Each variety has a different harvest season. We can almost always find avocado at our local market, but price and variety vary according to the season. Depending on the size we typically pay between $1 -$2 USD per avocado.
Some people regard avocados as a superfood.
- They contain 18 essential amino acids that form a complete protein that your body can readily absorb.
- The Omega-3 fatty acids in avocado are similar to olive oil. These fats help boost your healthy HDL cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.
- High levels of carotenoids like beta-carotene deliver Vitamin A to your body for eye and reproductive health.
- Avocados have 50% more potassium than a banana.
- A healthy dose of Vitamin C, E, selenium, zinc, magnesium, folate and soluble fibre are an added bonus.
Elisha and I were in Cuba staying with a good friend of ours when he held up a piece of fruit as large as his head and asked me if I liked aguacate. I told him that I had never tried it. Later that night as I was scarfing down a huge bowl of avocado garnished with lime, oil and salt I told him avocado was one of my favourite foods. He looked very puzzled. I went on to explain that even though his “aguacate” was the same shape and colour as an “avocado”, I didn’t make the correlation earlier because in Canada avocados are the size of an apple, not my cranium.