Monday, June 22, 2009

The Amazing Avocado

I love avocados!

How to Enjoy the Amazing Avocado

from South Beach Diet
The creamy flesh of an avocado gives this food — which is botanically a fruit — an indulgent quality. However, ounce for ounce, avocados are actually one of the healthiest foods around. Not only are they rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, they also contain large amounts of potassium, vitamin E, fiber, folic acid, and vitamin B6. Best of all, you can enjoy avocados on all Phases of the South Beach Diet.
Buying: There are 24 varieties of avocados. The two most commonly found in supermarkets are the Hass (pebbly black skin) and Fuerte (green skin) varieties. When selecting any variety of avocado, choose a heavy, unblemished fruit. Remember that most avocados sold in supermarkets aren't ripe — so plan ahead if you're making guacamole, since avocados take a few days to ripen. (See fast-ripening tips below.)
Storing: You can ripen hard avocados at room temperature for three to six days. However, you can accelerate this process by storing the avocados in a paper bag. Putting an apple or banana into the bag will be even quicker, because both fruits emit methane, a gas that speeds ripening. To test whether your avocados are ripe, give them a gentle squeeze; ripe fruit will yield to pressure without denting. Overripe avocados will dent.
You can store ripe fruit in the refrigerator for up to three days. If your avocado is already cut, rub the surface with lemon juice to keep it green. Mexicans know that keeping the pit in the avocado prevents discoloration. Brown discoloration won't affect the nutritional value or flavor of the avocado.
Preparing: Slice ripe avocados and eat them plain, as a salad topping, or layered on sandwiches and wraps (Phase 2). Mash overripe avocados in dips like guacamole.
To pit an avocado, slice it lengthwise from end to end and twist to separate the two halves. Using a heavy knife blade, tap the tip into the pit and twist gently to remove. To remove the flesh, you can either peel the fruit or use a paring knife to slice up small pieces inside the skin and scoop them out with a spoon. Mushy flesh should always be scooped. To prevent the scooped-out flesh from darkening after contact with air, rub with lemon juice or add lemon juice to your guacamole.

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