Avocados: From the Plate and Beyond
The humble avocado has a legion of passionate admirers who will defend it and its versatility with gusto. These admirers view the avocado as a lifestyle not an ingredient. They’re serious about their avocado love. And, boy, do they know how to use this fruit to their advantage. Avocado lovers know that the “alligator pear” 1) goes beyond the plate, 2) offers wonderful health benefits, and 3) can stand its own when placed on the buffet table, in a variety of ways. Here are some reasons why the avocado has become such a beloved fruit.
- Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats (‘heart-healthy’ fats), and just one avocado a day may help keep cholesterol at bay.
- Avocados are naturally sodium- and trans fats-free.
- Avocados offer more potassium than a banana.
- Avocados are a good source of fiber, folate, and vitamins B6, E, and K.
- Avocados can be used in place of butter.
- In addition to classic guacamole, avocado aficionados also enjoy this fruit for breakfast (spread onto toast or diced and sprinkled atop omelets), as an appetizer (speared, breaded, and deep fried), and even grilled.
- Avocados are used for DIY beauty products, from face masks to deep-conditioning hair masks.
When buying avocados, ripe avocados will be slightly soft to the touch. Too soft, though, means they are too ripe. If avocados are firm, you can ripen them within a few days at home by placing them in a paper bag. Do not store unripe avocados in the refrigerator. Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. If storing an already cut avocado, you should place in a glass or plastic container and seal shut.