This morning I cringed when I had to throw away yet another avocado – I hate throwing away food. Do you know the average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food? Uneaten food accounts for 23 percent of all U.S. methane emissions – a potent climate change pollutant. Now I really feel sick.
40 percent of the food in the U.S. is being thrown away each year. No wonder the price of food is climbing.
Lately I have been on this fruit kick for a while now – ok, I have always liked fruit but trying to push it in my diet more these days. I will spend a few dollars more for fresh produce than anything found in a can. 2nd alternative would be to go to the freezer aisle, but once you had it fresh the frozen just doesn't match up.
Back to the avocado sitting in the trash. Did you know that 90 percent of the nation's avocados come from California? A native of South and Central America, avocados can hang on the tree for months before being picked. They ripen as when they are off the tree. Last year the Hass Avocado Board in Irvine, California, estimated that 71.4 million pounds of the fruit was consumed for the Super Bowl alone.
Usually mistaken for a vegetable, the avocado is really a fruit. Hass and Fuerte are the most common varieties you will find. They make great dips and an easy alternative to use on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
I read an article in the paper the other day, "All you wanted to know about the avocado" and it gave suggestions on how to look for ripe avocados, how to eat them and an explanation on why they pack such an explosive amount of beneficial nutrients.
They pack 5 grams of fat – the good fat that helps fight cholesterol – in a 1-ounce serving. They are naturally sodium and cholesterol free and are a good source of lutein – an antioxidant good for the eyes. However, they don't offer a night-vision option, you will have to stick to eating your carrots for that.
Did you know:
•Refrigerate only ripe avocados – unripe avocados will not ripen in cold
•Store for up to 5 days – any longer and the flesh will darken and turn flavorless and to mush.
•When buying, choose smooth dark green to almost purplish-black skin to use right away
• When pressing on the widest part, your finger should leave a slight indentation – if it's uneven and soft, don't buy
•If not using right away, choose one with bright-green skin.
•Once cut, sprinkle the flesh with lemon or lime juice and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly on the avocado. This will help prevent darkening.
•Puree ripe avocados in a blender using 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice for each avocado. Place in airtight container leaving 1/2 to 1-inch head space. Cover and freeze.
•Freeze pureed avocado for up to 4 months to use in dips, sauces and spreads. Yum!