By Chef Selwyn Richards
Have you had your Alligator Pear today? You have, if you’ve eaten an avocado! Avocados are the large fruit of the avocado tree, and are in the same family as cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. If you enjoy guacamole with your Mexican meals, you’ll want to have plenty of this fruit on hand.
Avocados come in a number of varieties, or cultivars, including the Hass (which is most well-known), Gwen, Lula, Pinkerton, Brogden, Ettinger, Fuerte and Zutano. Each variety has a different appearance and will also have a unique flavor. Most stores carry the Hass avocado, but you may have problems finding some of the other cultivars.
While some people will shy away from avocados, because they’re supposedly high in fat, you would be amazed at the health benefits of choosing to eat them. Avocados are reported to help keep inflammation under control. They are also believed to help the digestive tract and is a mono-unsaturated fat, which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.
It isn’t uncommon to think that guacamole is the only way to prepare avocados. However, there is so much more you can do. Add diced avocado to your salad, to not only improve the flavor, but also add health benefits. You can also make salsa with avocado, tomato, mango, pineapple, onion and jalapeno peppers. It might even surprise you to find out you can use avocados to make ice cream and add them to smoothies.
You can tell if an avocado is ripe by holding it in your hand and gently squeezing. It should yield slightly. The best way to cut it, is by slicing around the length of the avocado and then twisting the halves to expose the seed. To remove the seed, carefully poke the tip of the knife into the seed and twist. You can also use a spoon to remove the seed. Squeeze behind the seed to remove the seed from the knife blade.
Consider learning more about avocados. They are delicious, nutritious and a wonderful addition to your family’s diet. Made into guacamole, salsa or eaten raw, your family will enjoy this exotic fruit.
Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone — (905) 619-1059.