Fruit of the Gods

guacamole

Are you smarter than a 5th grader? If you know that avocado is a fruit, and not a vegetable then you probably are!

But, do you also know exactly how fattening this exotic yet affordable fruit is? If you’re ‘not sure’, join the club. Well-known nutritionist, Rosemary Stanton, explains it like this: “Avocados are one of the few fruits that contain fat, but it’s the good, unsaturated kind.” What this means is that the fat contained in avocados is the same ‘healthy’ fat found in olives and olive oil. It’s also present in relatively small amounts (approx 30 grams of fat per avocado), so you would have to eat quite a lot of avocado before the fat content has an adverse affect on your hips. Also, avocado ‘fat’ at 4g of fat per tablespoon compares favourably to the fat in margarine and butter, which has 16g per tablespoon. Conclusion: if you’re counting calories, it’s perfectly okay to use a slice or two of avocado in a sandwich or salad, or mashed on toast as a spread instead of butter.

More avocado facts:

Avocados provide numerous essential nutrients including potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

  • Avocados also contain beneficial phytochemicals such as glutathione, beta-sitosterol, and lutein, which are thought to help prevent many chronic diseases.
  • Avocados act as a ‘nutrient booster’ by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients.

Avocados are a good source of fibre, which can help maintain heart health.

  • Avocados are cholesterol- and sodium-free.

Avocados make you feel full because of their high fibre and fluid content. This makes them a perfect food for dieters and healthy eaters alike.

And, what is the best way to remove the stone? Lay the avocado on its side and slice it in half lengthways. Hit the stone with a sharp knife, so that the knife becomes partly embedded in the stone. Twist gently, and the stone should come cleanly away from the fruit. Voila! Don’t want to eat the whole fruit? Simply leave the stone in the half to be eaten later, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate.

Tips: Avocados’ smooth consistency and creamy, mild taste make them great baby food. Serve them mashed or straight from the skin. As avocados are high in Vitamin E, they are commonly used in many beauty products. A little avocado applied directly to the skin can both moisturise and reduce UV damage.

Guacamole

Ingredients

5 small avocadoes, stone removed and peeled

150g/1 medium tomato, deseeded and cut into small dice plus extra for garnish

¼ cup red onion, cut into small dice

2 shallots, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon red chilli, finely chopped

1 lime, juiced

5 drops of Tabasco sauce

¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped plus extra for garnish

salt and pepper

Method

Place the avocadoes in a medium-sized bowl and using the back of a fork, mash roughly.

Add the tomato, onion, shallots, garlic, chilli, lime, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving. Serve garnished with the extra tomato and coriander. Serves 6 – 8

Tip: The trick to good guacamole is to make it at the last minute and serve it immediately. If you prefer a finer texture, you can blend the ingredients together in a food processor or blender. For extra spiciness add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.

Avocado Gazpacho

Ingredients

500 ml Greek-style plain yoghurt

1telegraph cucumber, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

3 small avocadoes, stones removed, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

1 shallot, finely chopped

salt and pepper

Method

In a food processor or blender, place the yoghurt, cucumber and mint, and puree until smooth, approx. 2-3 minutes. Remove to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper and season to taste. Stir in the avocado and shallots. Serve immediately, preferably in cold bowls. Bread sticks are a great accompaniment. Serves 4

Tip: Use cold ingredients. If you’re stuck for time, prepare in advance, chill and finish off just before serving, it will take a couple of minutes. 

Swahili Quencher

This refreshing drink is popular throughout Eastern Africa. Sweet and filing, it’s often used as a meal substitute and is consumed during Ramadan to replace lost salt and restore blood-sugar levels.

Ingredients

2 medium avocadoes, stone removed, peeled and roughly chopped

1 lime, juiced

2 tablespoons of castor sugar

600ml water or milk

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree. Add extra water or milk to thin if desired. Pour over ice into a tall glass and drink with a thick straw. Serves 4

Author: Anna Graham

Recipes: Camilla van Beuningen

Photography: Stephen Ostrer

 

 

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