Avocados are good for you

This week has been a busy and interesting time. The weekend was a quiet one for me, other than a trip to a neighboring town for grocery shopping at a major chain store larger than the one we have. The fun began when I couldn’t get down the main street of town and had to begin taking side streets! What was going on? This never happens here…only happens when it is time for Turkey Fest…streets blocked off, parade going on, turkeys dashing down the street for a prize. This involves two sister cities vying for the title of who has the fastest turkey. Worthington, MN against Cuero, TX! The name of the bird running for Worthington, is Paycheck, (he won in Worthington), the name of the local bird is Ruby Begonia and the local bird got the trophy based on the time run Saturday and on the time run before. Somehow, they figure it all out. It’s always a fun time for those folks in both towns, and the teams work with and train their individual turkeys. I’m not sure, but I think a new bird is chosen each year, and it is selected not only for its speed, but also for its personality. It has to be able to stand the noise of a big crowd, the trainers are not able to touch the bird in any way once it’s on its course…and from what I understand, things can get pretty interesting, especially when one or the other decides to fly into the crowd. It makes for an interesting, fun Saturday for lots of people, with the parade, food booths and all sorts of entertainment going on. According to some of the posts on FB, including pictures of floats, children in costume, etc., it was a fund for all.
There is always something or another being suggested about using avocados, including as a spread on bread for sandwiches, rather than using mayonnaise because of the difference in calories. When I was growing up, my Dad would spread fresh avocado on his bread the same way the rest of us would spread mayo or butter! He would then sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and eat away. At that point in my life, avocados were not a particularly favorite part of my diet, in fact, since Mother didn’t really care for them, neither did I. Later, when I discovered guacamole…well that is a different thing entirely. Now, I love them, as do all my children.
Several years ago, when folks first began being cholesterol conscious, avocados were considered a no-no, as were eggs. Now, things seem to have changed and we are told we can eat either one of them, not too frequently of course.
Avocados do not ripen until they are picked. As they get closer to the perfect ripeness, they become soft to the touch and the skin turns from green to almost black. To speed up the process, place them in a paper bag and leave them on your counter at room temperature or put them in a canister on your counter top and close the lid tightly. (Just don’t forget they are in there or you will be really surprised the next time you open the canister!) If you find avocados on sale, as I did recently, simply peel them, cut out any bad spots, mash them up with a fork and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice per quart bag, (or use Fruit Fresh® following their instructions) and put them in the freezer, they will darken a little bit, but not very much. I found this out a long time ago, when I was given a large bag of avocados from my neighbor when he and a friend were cutting them in half to remove the seeds for planting, and rather than waste the avocados, several of us received bags of them. I used fresh lime juice to help keep mine from darkening. Now, when I cut avocados into pieces for use in a recipe, (other than guacamole), I cut them into 7-Up® and they stay green beautifully. (This also works on diced or sliced apples!)
Now, to add to your knowledge of avocados, I decided to see what Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia had to say about them. It is a lot! Any and everything you would want to know is on that site.
The genus name is Persea Americana and it is believed that avocados originated in the Mexican state of Puebla.
The first record written in English of the use of “avocado” was in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants.
In various places, it became known by different but similar names, beginning with the Spanish aguacate and being called “alligator pear” and “avocado pear” as well as various names in other languages, some of which relate back to a similar sounding in Spanish “abogado”, that we all know is advocate or lawyer. It was also corrupted in the French language as being “avocat”, again, lawyer.
In the United Kingdom, “avocado pear” is still used and has been since they first became commonly available in the 1960s. In parts of India, it is called “butter fruit”, and the Vietnamese call the avocado “bo”, and this is another name for ‘butter’ in their language! In Eastern China, (I am not able to use their language on my computer because of accent marks in various places) but what is written translates out to two different names, “alligator pear” and “butter fruit”. In Taiwan, it is known as “cheese pear”.
Commercially, avocados are harvested when they are hard and green and kept in coolers at 37.9F to 42.1F, until they reach their destination, they must be fully mature to ripen properly.
Avocados have nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving. These include potassium (good for your blood pressure), lutein, which is good for your eyes, and several others.
A typical serving of avocado is rich in several B vitamins and vitamin K, as well as a large content vitamin C. Potassium, Vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3) and Vitamin B6. They also have minerals of Calcium, iron magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc, all of which are good for you. (If you are allergic to latex, you may need to check with your doctor before you begin eating a lot of avocados, as this may cause a problem.)
Now, if you still need information about avocados, just type in the word “avocado” and do a Google search, easy peasy!
Now, for a favorite recipe from my family:
Bacon Avocado Cheeseburgers
2 pounds ground meat (we generally use a venison/beef mixture)
1 to 1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper (more if desired)
1 egg lightly beaten
12 slices bacon (thin sliced)
America Cheese slices
Jalapeño slices (fresh can be used, but we use the pickled type made for nachos)
6 hamburger buns
Avocado slices
Mustard, mayonnaise
Lettuce, tomatoes, onions
Mix meat with salt, pepper and egg. Shape into 6 patties; bake, broil or grill to desired doneness. While meat is cooking, cut bacon in half crosswise and fry, allowing 3 to 4 half pieces for each burger. Allow everyone to build their own burger, using a meat patty, cheese slice, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, sliced avocados and bacon strips. If you are not brave enough to use the jalapeño slices, try using the jalapeño cheese slices instead of the American cheese slices.
Texas Taco Salad
1 pound ground beef (Watching calories? Use lean ground white turkey meat)
1 can (15-oz) Ranch Style beans, drained and rinsed
2 quarts shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced and well drained
3 avocados, peeled, diced, and dipped in lemon juice or lemon-lime soda to prevent darkening
1 package shredded Cheddar cheese (1½ cups to 2 cups) (may use Colby/Jack, Monterey Jack, or pepper Jack
1 bunch green onions, sliced, including tops
1 bottle Catalina style dressing
1 bag (8-oz) size broken tortilla chips or corn chips (corn chips taste best)
Brown meat, drain well on paper towels, cool slightly. Drain and rinse beans. Combine meat, beans lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cheese and onions. Toss with dressing. Just before serving add chips, or serve salad on bed of chips. Top with a dollop of sour cream before serving if desired.
(If you want a delicious guacamole recipe, check last week’s article for “Tomatillo Guacamole”!
Avocado Cookies
Place in large bowl and stir until well blended:
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Using a separate bowl:
Melt: 1/4 cup shortening (let cool)
Add: 1 egg and beat well.
Add: 3/4 cup mashed avocados and beat until well mixed.
Add: 1 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
Stir together until well mixed. Mix in dry ingredients and stir until all dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Drop by tablespoons on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350ºF for 10 to 12 minutes.