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In season mid-summer: Avocados

Hass is the main avocado variety grown in New Zealand.

Buying

Squeezing an avocado causes bruising. Instead, choose by colour: bright-green, not ripe; olive-green, two to three days until ripe; brown-green, firm ripe; dark-brown, soft ripe. Another indicator is to gently wiggle the stem — it should give just a little when ripe. Avoid extremely soft avocados with very dark skin and/or with dented or flattened areas.

Storing

Avocados will ripen in your fruit bowl. Ripe fruit can be refrigerated uncut for two or three days. Sprinkle cut avocado with lemon or lime juice — or run cold water over the cut side — and place in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutrition

Although avocados have a high fat content they are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. In addition, they are a source of fibre, potassium, iron, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate.

Using

Avocados can be used at every meal, for snacks and even drinks and dessert (try avocado chocolate mousse).

  • Mash an avocado with lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper, and serve topped with sliced tomato on toast or crackers.
  • Make a salsa with chopped avocado, capsicum, tomato, coriander and chilli.
  • For a change from guacamole try corn and avocado dip: mash an avocado with 3 tablespoons reduced-fat Greek yoghurt and add 1/2 cup sweet corn.
  • Make a salad with avocado chunks, watermelon, radish and feta cheese topped with fresh mint and chives.
  • Toddlers love avocado mashed with ripe bananas as ‘first foods’.
  • Recipe idea: Roasted tomato and avocado salad

Did you know? The avocado is also called an alligator pear because of its bumpy green skin and pear-like shape.

First published: Jan 2014



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