avocado

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Also Known as
Butter Fruit, Kulu Naspati or Makhanphal

Description
Avocado is a large, fleshy pear-shaped berry. It has a single large seed surrounded by buttery pulp and hard skin. The outer skin is yellowish-green to maroon or purple in colour, while the soft flesh is a pale yellow-green.

The flesh has a texture similar to a firm ripe banana, smooth and buttery, with a faintly nutty flavour. This lends itself to a various recipes ranging from sandwiches and salads to smoothies and milkshakes.

Avocado pulp
To chop an avocado, hold it in your hand, and slice through the skin and the flesh to the pit all the way around, lengthwise. Twist each half in opposite directions to separate them, remove and discard the seed and use a spoon to scoop out the pit. Chop and blend in a mixer to obtain a smooth pulp.
Chopped avocado
To chop an avocado, hold it in your hand, and slice through the skin and the flesh to the pit all the way around, lengthwise. Twist each half in opposite directions to separate them, remove and discard the seed and use a spoon to scoop out the pit. Chop as desired.
Mashed avocado
Chop a ripe avocado as described above, and mash the flesh with a fork, to form a soft creamy pulp.
Sliced avocado
To slice an avocado, hold it in your hand, and slice through the skin and the flesh to the pit all the way around, lengthwise. Twist each half in opposite directions to separate them, remove and discard the seed and use a spoon to scoop out the pit. Slice the avocado into segments. Over-riped avocados are difficult to slice, hence choose a medium-riped fruit, if you have to slice them.

How to Select
• Select heavy fruits, with an even and unblemished texture, uniformly hard or soft over the entire surface.
• Avoid any with bruises or soft spots, and those with a hollow between the flesh and skin.
• Shake the avocado to test. If the pit is loose, reject it.
• Avocados do not ripen until picked, so fresh ones will be as hard as rocks. It will however ripen in your fruit bowl, so worry not!
• In fact, it is better to buy hard ones and ripen it at home, as ripe avocados tend to bruise easily in the market.
• To test if your avocado is ready to use, press gently. If the fruit yields, it is ripe.

Culinary Uses
• The flavour of avocados is mild and almost buttery. A touch of salt does wonders though, heightening the flavour and bringing out the depth. A dash of lemon makes it even better.
• Since the cut fruit discolours fast, it should be tossed with lemon juice soon as it is cut, if not used immediately.
• Avocados and tomatoes are a perfect match – the acid in the tomatoes perks up the flavour of the avocados. Try tossing them together as a simple salad.
• Mashed avocado is popularly used as a sandwich spread, as a replacement to butter or cheese. Sliced avocado may also be used in sandwiches.
• It is used as the base for the popular Mexican dip called Guacamole.
• It can also be added to desserts and main dishes.

How to Store
• Do not store unripe fruits in the refrigerator, as they will never ripen thereafter.
• The ripe fruit may be stored in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator for two or three days.
• To freeze avocado, puree the flesh of two avocados with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, and pack in an airtight container.

Health Benefits
• Avocados are wholesome and easily digestible, with high-quality protein too.
• It is an excellent remedy for acute digestive disorders and a handy cure for bad breath.
• Avocados are a good source of vitamin E, which is not only essential for the normal functioning of the body but is also a potent antioxidant that protects polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes from free-radical attack. This makes it beneficial for heart patients.
• Avocados also contain good amounts of vitamin C, which is essential for the production of collagen needed for the growth of new cells and tissues. It also prevents viruses from penetrating cell membranes, and has powerful antioxidant powers.
• The thiamine in avocado converts carbohydrates to glucose to fuel the brain and nervous system, while riboflavin helps the body to release energy from proteins, carbohydrates and fat.




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