Friday 27 January 2012

Guest blog: Five things you must know about Avocado

By Louise Wagstaffe - Avocado Ambassador, freelance chef, food stylist and owner of Delicious by Design

How to get the perfect ripe Avocado
·         To test if a Hass Avocado is ripe, gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand.  Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm yet will yield to gentle pressure.
·         Ripe avocados will keep for two to three days. Store them in the fridge to prevent over-ripening.
·         To accelerate the ripening process either place avocados in the fruit bowl with other fruit or, better still, put them into a paper bag with a banana or a kiwi fruit.  The ethylene gas released by the other fruit will stimulate the avocados to ripen more quickly.
·         Never keep hard, unripe avocados in the fridge; they will never ripen.

How healthy are they?
There are huge benefits to eating avocados. Many people believe that they are full of cholesterol when actually Hass avocados actually help lower cholesterol. Eating them helps keep blood sugar levels stable, which helps you feel full for longer.
Lots of people believe they don’t like avocado; often this is because the avocado they tried was under-ripe or badly served. So if you didn’t like them historically or you’re not sure, try them again. I would love to hear about it. If you want any recipes or tips please get in touch.
Avocados are so versatile that we normally find that there is an avocado recipe for everybody somewhere; and the response has been really positive.
When is the avocado truly great?
Well, my favourite recipe has to be a salad of prawn, grapefruit and avocado. This is a great light lunch and easy to make. Another favourite is an avocado sorbet with crab for a dinner party starter. Contact me if you want the recipe for either of these.
When is it not so great?
My least favourite recipes have to be desserts; chocolate and avocado ice-cream was just not quite right! Baked cheesecake was another no-no.
The challenge is to find a sweet recipe or unusual recipe where the avocado complements the dish.

Truly great Guacamole
Remember Guacamole, as they make it in Mexico, is a rough-textured mash, a salad rather than a purée, a simple preparation of chopped avocado, lime juice and salt.
Acceptable additions include chopped coriander leaves, diced tomato, onion and green chilli.
In traditional restaurants, guacamole comes with a basket of freshly baked cornmeal tortillas, which take the place of bread rolls and butter.
Contact me if you’d like a recipe for great guacamole.
Avocado is great! Keep it simple, and remember, some of the old classics are classic for a reason.

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