Back to Basics: Avocados

Photo: barron Name: Avocado; Persea americana; Alligator Pear; a fruit, specifically a large berry that contains a single seed.

Origins: Avocado trees are native to Central Mexico, and classified in the flowering plant family, Lauraceae, which also includes cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel.

Peak Season: April – July; does not tolerate freezing temperatures and can only be grown in tropical and subtropical climates.

Nutritional Value: High in monosaturated fats (the healthy fats), as well as potassium, folic acid and vitamin K. High intake of avocados has  shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (helpful cholesterol).

Prep: Avocados are a great addition to many meals and even better as a substitute for saturated fats like butter. Try it as a morning boost in this Avocado-Banana Smoothie Recipe. Or try it in one of these healthy alternative desserts. Luscious and luxurious without the guilt!

Avocado toast with sliced radishes for an added crunch!

Speaking of avocados as a butter substitute, my absolute favorite way to use this silky fruit is spread onto toast. The creamy texture and fresh flavor gives crispy, nutty multigrain toast the perfect partner. Another great thing? It's such a versatile dish that it can easily catered to your own tastes.

Here's some guidelines towards your new favorite breakfast:

Ingredients you'll need:

  • Multigrain bread, sliced approx. 1'' thick (the perfect ratio of bread to avocado)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chili flakes, to taste
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • olive oil

Method: Lightly brush both sides of multigrain bread and either put into a saute pan or toaster until desired crispness. Meanwhile mash up avocado in a small bowl until quite smooth. Then add squeeze of lemon (or to taste) and mix in. When toast is finished, spread avocado mixture on top and then season with salt, pepper and chili flakes.

More Optional toppings: I've been enjoying this energy boosting breakfast for so long that I've found way to zest it up and change it up a bit to keep it exciting. Radishes are a great way to add a refreshing crunch in Spring and Summer. Chamoy is another great way to add sweet, tangy and spicy all in one to your avocado routine.

What's your favorite way to jazz up your avocado?

For more Back to Basics ideas, click here.

How To Keep Guacamole Green

tips, how to's, avocado, guacamole Guacamole is one of those crowd favorites, that if it's there, that is the first thing your guest are going to go for. Whether it's a traditional recipe or you have added a personal touch to it, like grilled corn, guacamole is always wanted at a party. The creamy vibrant colors of a freshly prepared bowl of guacamole are great to look at but even better to eat. Avocados, like other fruits, when sliced begin to turn brown due to being exposed to oxygen, which is called oxidation. In a matter of hours your amazingly vibrant guacamole can become a unattractive mess. There are 2 simple ways that you can keep your guacamole green and vibrant, the next time company comes over, and one way starts with the avocado itself. So how do you keep your guacamole bright green? 

  • When preparing your guacamole, reserve a few avocado seeds. When you are done making your guacamole, add 1-2 avocado seeds to the bowl.
  • When mixing your guacamole, drizzle in a few teaspoons of olive oil. Even when stored in the fridge the next day, the olive oil will help keep the guacamole a great green color.

Make guacamole this week with these 3 recipes! 

Our Most Popular Stories This Week

This week was all about revitalization, with fresher ingredients and warmer weather, we have very few excuses not to treat our bodies right. We looked into the many health benefits of the ever-faithful avocado, recovered from a big night out and put some of our favorite spring vegetables to the test. Here's a recap: Ramps_VitaminD_Radishes

The Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocado, health

Ironically, healthy food is sometimes high in calories. For instance, avocados are very calorically dense, but are actually a good weight loss option-when eaten in moderation! Native to Mexico, the avocado is an key ingredient in party foods like guacamole, but it can be a key ingredient in your weight loss diet as well. 

Admittedly, avocados contain a surprisingly large amount of fat-30 grams in a medium-sized avocado. But avocados contain mostly monounsaturated fats, which lower "bad" cholesterol and promote weight loss. Moderation, however, is critical-a little avocado goes a long way. Avocados have a creamy, rich taste, which makes them a natural pairing with many foods, from a delicious burger to a smoothie.

For breakfast, try avocado with eggs, and for lunch, in a delicious salad. Avocados even provide ample fat for baked goods. Try using avocado in a vegan cake recipe in place of butter. Start out with whole-wheat vegan chocolate avocado cake recipe. You won't even be able to tell what's missing!

What's your favorite way to use avocado?

Here are some of our favorite recipes:

Avocado and Banana Smoothie

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Bacon Chickpea Avocado Salad

The 5 Best Seasonal Ingredients in Southern California

Greg Hozinsky is a talented young chef cooking out of Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California. As an up-and-coming chef at the hotel's Zinc Lounge, Chef Hozinsky is praised widely for using seasonal, local ingredients in innovative tapas and small plates. Check out his previous list of  5 Tips Every Aspiring Chef Should Know. Now, as summer approaches, Chef Greg has the lowdown on the 5 best seasonal ingredients in Southern California.  And even if you're not out West, there are some great American staples on his list that will be hitting market stands within a few weeks. 

  1. Avocado: Who doesn't like avocados? California avocados in the summer have a higher oil content giving that wonderful natural butter like flavor to a dish.
  2. Strawberries: I grew up going to my dad's house in Oxnard, California and I remember driving by all the strawberry fields as a child.  You will never have a better strawberry than the ones that grow here.
  3. Heirloom tomatoes:  I love these things, they come in all different varieties and colors but my favorites are the Purple Cherokees and Brandy Wines.  They are deep and rich in color with wonderful sweetness, it will make you want to eat one like an apple.
  4. Spinach: Bloomingdale spinach is one of my favorite greens, and there are a few farms down here that produce it.  It's not your regular spinach, it is a bit hardier.
  5. Broccoli: I have become a huge fan of baby sprouting broccoli this past year. It's so versatile, and tastes great with meat, fish, pasta or just as a great veggie side dish. My favorite way to prepare it is with a little olive oil, chili, garlic and maybe a splash of vinegar.

What are your favorite summer ingredients?