Avocado 101

Avocados

Avocados. They’re not just for guacamole anymore.

Avocados are also known as Alligator Pears and originated in southern Mexico. Delicious avocados add great taste, lively color and a creamy texture to ordinary dishes, making them extraordinary. From salads, to sandwiches, to pizzas, avocados add that little something special to your recipes.

Avocados are in season towards the end of summer, during the off-season they can be exorbitantly priced sad-looking specimens, and they may be disappointing to eat. At the end of summer the price starts dropping, many grocery stores release bargain bags of ten and this is when you know that the season is back in full swing. The fruits will ripen to perfection in a few days, once ripe, the creamy, mellow flesh is best eaten cut in half with olive oil and salt, a dash of vinaigrette dressing, or simply just spread on bread.

Avocados are a rich source of Vitamin E, contain a good amount of Vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and are high in monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol. (Avocados supply 60% more potassium then bananas.)

Avocados go well in sandwiches, turning an otherwise dull filling into something luscious. Another great way of using ripe avocados in season is as a dip like guacamole, mash them with a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper and perhaps a diced chili, provide some chips to scoop with and it’ll be gone in no time.

Avocados are also great for breakfast, Avocado toast is pretty trendy right now, just add a poached egg on top and you have a hip brunch item.

Knowing how to properly select, handle and store your avocados will ensure that they add the perfect compliment to your meal every time.

Selecting Avocados
When choosing your avocados, look for avocados that are dark green to black, green Avocados are not yet ripe as they will turn dark as they ripen. Gently squeeze the fruit; a ripe fruit will yield to gentle pressure. If you are buying avocados for future use, purchase firm fruit.

Avoid fruit with severe external blemishes and fruits that feel extremely soft when squeezed lightly.

Ripening
To ripen a fresh green avocado faster, place the fruit in a paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days at room temperature (apples and bananas accelerate the process by giving off ethylene gas, a ripening agent).

Storing
Ripe avocados can be stored on the counter top, in a refrigerator, or even in a freezer for later use.

Never Too Young to Enjoy Avocados
The avocado is one of the few green things that many children will reliably eat. Just like adults, most children can benefit from getting at least five servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day; many children, however, fall short. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that 23 to 33 percent of infants and toddlers studied did not even get a single serving of fruit in a day.

Most children are lacking more than half of their daily intake of fruits and vegetables, keeping your kitchen stocked with a wide variety of produce, including avocados, are one way to get children to increase their daily consumption of fruit.

Incorporating avocados into your children’s diet is a great way to give them a healthy start. The delicious fruit is not only great tasting, but easy to prepare. A single serving of avocado (about 1/5 of a medium avocado or about two tablespoons mashed) is 55 calories and contributes essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that solid foods may be introduced to infants between four and six months of age; and for the first year foods be mashed or pureed. For a quick snack, just mash an avocado with a spoon and feed it directly to babies.

When you are introducing avocados to older children you can offer it with other foods, but remember, children often refuse to eat new foods, persistence with fruits and vegetables will pay off with a healthy diet for your child.

If you or your child experience any allergic reactions or discomfort from avocados, immediately discontinue use and seek medical attention.

Great For Skin Care
Avocados are rich in fiber, foliate (folic acid), vitamin B6, iron, copper and magnesium. Other than applying avocado on your skin, consuming it in salad form can also be beneficial for your skin. Avocados contain vitamins like A, D, and E, which have penetrating qualities to improve your skin. Avocado oil is also very useful for skin care; the oil is useful to remove any sun damage or age spots. It also softens the skin and provides a moisturizing effect and can do wonders on damaged, undernourished and dehydrated skin.

Puffed Eyes
Cut avocado into slices and place it under each eye and relax with it for next 20 minutes. The changes would be remarkable.

Eye Cream
Make an eye cream by mixing 5 drops of almond oil in 3 ripe slices of avocado. Blend this mixture and dab it around your eyes. Keep it for five minutes then rinse.

Facial Mask
This facial mask is useful for dry skin. Mash half avocado and apply it leisurely on your face. Keep it for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.

Make a paste of Ω ripe avocado mixed with 1 tsp. vegetable oil. Apply this paste on a washed and clean face. Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it with warm water. This masque is very good for dry skin.

Smooth and Beautiful Hands
Make a paste by mixing 1/4 peeled & smashed avocado, 1 egg white, 2 tbsp. oatmeal and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Apply this paste on your hand and leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse it with warm water and pat it dry. You would be thrilled by the results by using it regularly.

Facial Scrub
You would need 2 tbsp. flax seeds, 1/2 mashed banana and 1/2 avocado peel. Use a small bowl to mix flax seeds and banana. Scoop the banana and flax seed by using avocado peel. Massage this scoop on your face in circular motion, slowly and gently. Rinse it with warm water.

Avocados are wonderful, magical fruits that have a plethora of uses and are great for human health. Make sure to try them for yourself.

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