I can’t say that I ever tasted an avocado as a child, nor did I even know what it was. However, a lot has changed over the last forty years! The demand for avocados has certainly increased, and in fact, avocados are now frequently a babies first food! This unique fruit is often consumed more like a vegetable, as it’s not sweet like most other fruits. An avocado has a buttery flavor and creamy texture that when perfectly ripe, enhances the food it accompanies.
Perfectly ripe is the key. A ripe avocado should be firm but give just slightly when squeezed. Unless you plan to use it that day, you should buy avocados unripe and allow them to ripen at home at room temperature. It’s best to be flexible in your meal planning as an avocado can go from ripe to too ripe very quickly. When slicing an avocado, cut it in half lengthwise, going around the large seed in the middle. Twist in half to separate. To get the seed out, place the avocado half on a kitchen towel on the cutting board. Gently tap the knife on the seed and twist to remove. To get the knife off the seed, pinch the top of the knife with your thumb and forefinger to release the seed without the danger of cutting your hand. Score into slices, and finally, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fat, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels. They’re also a good source of fiber, and that combination between fat and fiber can help you feel full for longer. Use avocados on salads, tacos or sandwiches. Blend into smoothies or salad dressings. Mash into guacamole or chicken salad or dice into salsa or eggrolls. There are so many ways to use this healthy fruit!
Easy Avocado Black Bean Salsa
2 avocados, pitted, peeled
1 (15.5 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can no added salt black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.25 oz.) can no added salt white corn, drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a medium bowl, mash avocado with the back of a fork. Add salsa, black beans, corn and fresh cilantro and stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Yield: 8 servings (1/4 cup each)
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 150 calories, 6 grams fat, 400 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 5 grams protein
Source: Kelly, T. All about avocado! NC Cooperative Extension.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.
This blog post originally appeared in the Pantagraph on April 13, 2022.