All About Avocados – Health Benefits, Tips and Recipes

One of my favourite memories ever, is a sitting in the jungle in Maui, cutting open an avocado the size of a rugby ball, followed by four of us tucking in with spoons, savouring every bite, whilst the rest of the world momentarily fell away.

When it comes to avocado, I have to say that I am the world’s biggest fan. My mum (one of my favourite people in the whole world) who lives on the rather paradise-like-avocado-heaven-island of Kauai, loves avos too and is rather blessed to have her very own avocado tree in her garden. When it’s not in season, someone else’s tree always is. This still doesn’t explain why my mum’s tree is NEVER in fruiting season when I go visit! The most I have ever achieved with an avocado tree here in Somerset, England is those cute little, self-seeding pits that spring up from the compost pile every year…

Many noteworthy health benefits of avocado

Avocados are laden with health benefits, so it is no wonder that they rank at the top of every discerning health seekers menu. Some of the most noteworthy benefits are its superfood, nutrient richness. Avocado contains an abundance of potassium (twice as much as a banana), copper, fibre and lots of vitamins B5, B6, K and C. Its healthy plant fat helps to ensure healthy cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease. Avocados are also thought to help keep the brain, eyes and blood pressure healthy, whilst large amounts of the plant phytonutrients polyphenols and flavonoids, work as a good anti-inflammatory agent.

Tips on choosing a good avocado

After observing people who were definitely better at avocado finding than I was, I have developed a sense for a good avocado. There are a few important things to know. You’ll find different varieties of avocado around the world; some taste undeniably divine (generally the rich, fatty, butter-like varieties like the world’s most common variety, Hass) and others are more watery, working best if they are jazzed up a little before eating.

Here are some tips on choosing a good avocado:

  • Your avocado should feel heavy-ish in weight.
  • Avoid ones that looked bruised with signs of decay or loose skin.
  • Little minor blemishes or scuffs that come from being on the tree are natural and fine.
  • If it’s not ripe then it will feel solid and won’t ‘give’ to your fingers when you press it; but if you buy from a reliable source then it should ripen within a few days, kept at home at room temperature.
  • A ripe or semi-ripe avocado is essential for a divine avocado experience. You know it is ripe when it yields softly to gentle pressure on its skin. You can usually buy them in the store either ripe or unripe (sometimes you don’t get the choice).

How to ripen an avocado

  • Avocados will continue to ripen at room temperature once picked.
  • To speed up ripening, place in a paper bag with a ripe banana if you have one; or in a fruit bowl with bananas.
  • To slow down ripening, place in your fridge.

Best way to open an avocado

  • Make sure it is ripe first.
  • Slice it right down the middle, length-ways, cutting around the seed (see main image above).
  • Twist both halves in opposite directions to separate both sides.
  • Pop out the pit with a spoon or quickly hit a sharp knife blade into the pit and twist it out.
  • Scoop out the buttery flesh with a spoon as it is or mark out squares with a sharp knife and then scoop.

Ways to eat or use an avocado

For me, scooping it right out of the skin is one of the most divine human experiences I know! If you get it past this stage then there are lots of different things that you can do with an avocado…

You can use it as a spread, dip, ingredient in a salad dressing, as a fat replacement in cooking/baking, toss them into a salad or create a guacamole dip with them. I hear more and more people telling me that they put them into smoothies or make raw food dessert with them. Some people even use avocado as a skin moisturiser, face-mask or for sun protection. The limit is your imagination.

Delicious guacamole recipe

Guacamole - Trinity's Conscious Kitchen
A delicious guacamole dip on a rice cake.

Guacamole is thought to have originated in Aztec, Mexico, evolving from whatever was available locally. Most people I know adore the rich, fatty, creaminess from avocado. There are lots of different versions of this healthy dip using whatever is available.

Please visit my Guacamole Page here for my perfect guacamole recipe: Perfect Guacamole – a healthy avocado dip

A thick avocado smoothie

If you are looking for a filling, nutrient dense smoothie then you could try creating an avocado smoothie. It creates a rich creamy blend that leaves you feeling really satiated.

One of my favourite ways to include avocado in a smoothie is like this.

Start with:

  • one peeled and chopped frozen banana
  • one cup (250ml) of rice milk (or other plant-based milk)
  • ½ ripe avocado

And then add one (or a combination) of the following:

  • a heaped teaspoon (tsp) of cocoa or carob powder
  • ¼ to ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • half lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • a few garden berries
  • heaped teaspoon of maca
  • teaspoon of super-green powder
  • a few fresh nettle leaves
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

If you have any fascinating avocado facts or conscious recipe ideas then feel free to share – do tell more!

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