The Avocado – A Healthy Calorie Bomb?

The avocado does indeed contain lots of calories. The pulp of an avocado weighing around 100g contains approximately 160 calories and 15g of fat. Nevertheless, this is no reason to avoid the fruit. The fat that an avocado contains is high-quality plant fat from mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. According to nutritionists, these unsaturated fats stimulate fat burning. In addition to this, these healthy fats should lower cholesterol levels. The avocado contains hardly any sugar but a lot of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and copper.

 

 

Food Facts Food Facts

Avocado

Class

Persea

Calories

160 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

9g carbohydrate, 7g fibre, 15g fat, 2g protein per 100g

Season

available year-round

Storage

when ripe, store in the fridge, if not, store at room temperature

Shelf life

refrigerated ripe avocados can last up to 8 days

The Avocado – Where Does It Come From and How Is It Grown?

Avocados were first popular in the 1990’s in Central Europe but the fruit has been eaten for more than 1,000 years in its region of origin in Central America. The Maya and Aztecs cultivated the fruit, worshipped it and swore by the power of the “butter of the forest”. In the 16th century, the Spanish conquerors brought the fruit to Europe but it still took a long time for the avocado to be cultivated extensively. Today there are about 400 varieties of avocado and cultivation areas exist in almost all tropical and subtropical countries.

The avocado belongs to the berry fruits. It grows on evergreen avocado trees that produce 120-500 fruits a year. The avocado tree is up to 20 metres high and requires temperatures between 20°C and 30°C. The fruits grow too heavy for the trees and fall down when they become ripe. The plantation workers usually pick the avocados just before this happens so the fruits don’t get damaged. The avocados are exported when unripe and sometimes remain like this in the supermarket.

Out of the 400 varieties, only two are commercially available – the Fuerte and Hass avocados. The Fuerte avocados have a similar shape to a pear with a smooth, green skin, and they taste mild and creamy. Hass avocados are egg-shaped with a thick and dark green, almost black-coloured, skin. They have a full-body and nutty taste.

The Avocado – Nutritious and Versatile

A lot can be done with an avocado – but it should always be eaten raw and without the skin. When cooked, it becomes bitter and loses its taste. The skin of the fruit is not edible but the stone is. The stone is very hard and proves quite difficult to eat, but it does however contain more nutrients than the fruit pulp. If you have a good food processor, try including the seed in your next smoothie.

The avocado is high in nutrients, making it a very healthy food that can be consumed often. Luckily, this is easy to do because the gentle-tasting avocado is called for in many recipes. Guacamole for example is a quick-to-prepare avocado dip that tastes great with crisps, vegetables, baked sweet potato, grilled chicken breast and white fish. Avocados are not as sweet as other types of fruit and go well in salads. They also do wonders in a colourful pasta salad or in a prawn cocktail. If you like trying exotic dishes, then avocado can be used as sushi filling or in Quesadillas and tortillas.

In order to avoid brown flecks on the avocado pulp, drizzle each half with a bit of lemon juice. While preparing, for example, a guacamole, leave the stone of the fruit in the bowl. This not only looks more interesting but also protects the pulp from unappealing flecks caused by oxidation. Onions also serve the same purpose – if an avocado is stored with an onion in tinfoil it keeps for longer, and if you store an unripened avocado next to some apples it will ripen faster because apples emit ethylene gas. Bon Appetite!

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Avocado Recipes

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