EAT: Weird and Wonderful Avocados

Photo by: Jiggs Images

The avocado is a weird and wonderful fruit. The weirdness starts with the name. Sometimes called the butter pear or alligator pear, the name avocado comes from the Nahuatl or Aztecan word ahuacatl. Ahuacatl means testicle, an obvious reference to the shape of the fruit. Ahuacatl can be combined to form compound words like Ahuacamolli (guacamole), avocado (or testicle) soup.

The avocado is a natural anachronism. It appears to have co-evolved with animals that are now extinct. The large size of the fruit and pit indicate that avocados developed as a food source for mega-fauna, such as giant ground sloths. These giant mammals would eat the fruit and disperse the undigested seed in their dung.

Courtesy of Mark Bittman, we have an easier method for peeling and removing the pit of an avocado. Score the avocado lengthwise, all the way around. Grab the two halves of the avocado in either hand, and twist them in opposite directions. Pull the avocado apart. The pit will be lodged in one half. Tap the pit with your knife, just hard enough to embed the edge in the pit. Use the knife to pull out or dislodge the pit. Once the pit is removed, use a spoon to scoop the fruit out of the two halves, leaving the tough alligator skin behind.

Although avocados are at their peak in the Spring and Summer, they are often shipped before they are fully ripe. Growers and retailers expect the avocado to ripen en route and while sitting in produce bins. This means that the avocados at your local grocery store may not be ready to be eaten right away.

There are a few tricks that can help you speed ripen your avocados. I put apples in the bottom of a fruit basket and set my avocados on top of them. Apples release ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process. If you need the process to run faster, set your fruit basket in the sun. The heat will speed the release of the gas and step up the ripening process. You can also place your avocados in a paper bag with some apples. The paper bag traps the ethylene gas, leading to faster ripening times.

You will want to use your ripe avocados right away, because they have a tendency to transition from ripe to rotten quickly. In keeping with the weird and wonderful theme, here are three unexpected ways that you can use ripe avocados and a few honorable mentions for future experiments.

As a meat substitute: The best known use of avocados as a meat substitute is in the California roll, where avocado substitutes for raw tuna to create a one-off sushi roll.

Photo by: lorenia


In vegetarian chile, avocado can be added before serving to provide a meaty quality to the dish. Note, you don’t want to simmer the avocado with the chile, as this will change its consistency. Rather, add fresh cubed avocado to the bowl and pour the chile over it.

As a pudding: Avocado pudding has quickly become my favorite pre-workout fuel. @CastleGrok and lots of other paleo / primal people that I follow on twitter love this stuff.

Photo by: Lin Pernille


There are various recipes. This is my version. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients, proportions, etc.

Ingredients:

1 avocado

1 banana

½ pint of whipping cream

½ teaspoon of vanilla

3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa

¾ teaspoon of cinnamon

Method: Place ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend to the desired consistency (add cream as necessary). Spoon from blender to serving bowls. Cover and refrigerate. As an extra treat, you can add shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips.

As a smoothie: If there is no avocado pudding in the fridge (it goes fast), here is an easy to make smoothie that is pure rocket fuel.

Photo by: Rsms


Ingredients:

1 avocado

½ cup (or more) frozen raspberries

1 cup orange juice

Method: Place ingredients in a blender. Blend to the desired consistency (add more orange juice as necessary).

The utility of the avocado may be the one thing that paleo / primal eaters and vegans agree on. So, here are two honorable mentions, one from each camp.

Photo by: Evil Erin

Paleo / Primal honorable mention: @RogerDeRok‘s concept for a breakfast grenade. One avocado peeled and pitted. One peeled hard-boiled egg. Remove the white from the egg and place the yolk in the space left by the pit of the avocado. Reassemble the avocado and wrap / serve with bacon.

Vegan honorable mention: Vegan Explosion’s avocado pie has lemon lime flavor, cheese cake consistency, graham cracker crust, and chocolate sauce. What’s not to like.

The fun does not have to stop in the kitchen, as avocado’s also make great pets. Meet Patricia – Taryn’s pet avocado plant.

At first, working with avocados may seem a little weird, but they are a wonderful super-food (for detailed nutrition information, you should click here) and are easily incorporated into multiple creative food projects.

***

For related STRETCH EXERCISE EAT posts SEE:

Vegetarian Chili

Tropical Snowboard Mix and Other Recipes From the Twitterverse

DIY Greek Style Yogurt

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15 responses to “EAT: Weird and Wonderful Avocados

  1. That avocado grenade sounds positively amazing. I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!

  2. ‘nades….nice. I love guacamole….

    • stoffainkorea

      Now @RogerDeRok and dclaryjr are talking about using bacon chips to scoop up guacamole. @RogerDeRok is the “Bacon Dude”.

  3. RE: Getting out the pit….

    Do as Adam says, but bite it with your front teeth and pull it out.

    Warning to those with beards: It will get in your beard 😉

    Once again, thank you for the honorable mention!

  4. wooo… that pudding sounds so RAD, adam! must try for sure.

    good to know that avocados’ awesome and amazingness have made it to korea. i didn’t see any growing up. sad crocodile.

    i will have to try the deviled eggs as well. i eat just half an avocado and an egg for breaky somtimes. so simple. so delicious! cheers as always for sharing!

    • stoffainkorea

      Don’t be afraid to tweak the ingredients. Adding cinnamon made a huge impact…plus you get some extra anti-inflammatory effects.

    • hla walla kefk ya 3saaal ..w al72 3la firas elle 7kalk wella ma bde a7ki ..w thx alot ya man00ooo 3la hada al7ki ..and go a head 8)

  5. The pudding sounds awesome! I’m definitely going to have to try!

    Here’s another recipe, for an avocado shake. I first tried it in a Vietnamese restaurant and have been hooked ever since:

    Sinh to Bo (Avocado Shake)

    Ingredients:
    1 ripe medium avocado
    1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
    1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk
    1 cup ice

    Method: Scoop out avocado flesh into blender. Add condensed milk, ice, and milk. Puree until completely smooth. Hint: Start with 1/4 c of milk, puree, and taste. Add more milk if you want a thinner consistency.

    Happy drinking!

  6. Porting this comment from FB to the blog. Danielle’s recipe for perfect guacamole.

    perfect guacamole = 3-4 ripe avocados, juice of 1 lime, 1/2 white or red onion (or a little less, depending on size of onion), 2 roma or 1 big tomato-diced (must be ripe), 1 clove garlic-minced, handful of cilantro-chopped. salt to taste (some people like to add some jalapeno or serrano pepper, i generally don’t but am not opposed…) mash up … avocado, garlic, salt and lime juice to desired consistency with a fork, then stir in other ingredients. if your lime wasn’t very juicy, add more- i’m of the opinion that the limier the better but that’s me… also, save one or 2 of your pits to throw into the bowl- keeps it from going brown as fast.

  7. I love those “food porn” posts. Good thing I already had breakfast cause those photos are looking delicious.

    Y.

  8. Avocado Fries (served at George’s at the Cove, La Jolla, CA) –

    Ingredients –
    – Canola oil for frying
    – 1/4 cup flour
    – About 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    – 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
    – 1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    – 2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

    Method –
    – Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.

    – Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/4 tsp. salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates. Dip avocado in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.

    – Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a baking pan lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

    – (Optional) Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

    These are sinfully yummy…and served with a side of sliced tomatoes dressed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper! Bon appetit!

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