Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Advocating Avocado Pears

Avocadoes are back in season – hurrah! All summer I’ve been looking at the exorbitantly priced sad-looking specimens in the shops, refusing to buy, as I know they’ll be disappointing. At the end of summer the price starts dropping, then come bargain bags of ten and you know that the season is back in full swing, the fruits will ripen to perfection in a few days (they have to be bought still hard, or they squish in the shopping bag before you get them home). Once ripe, the creamy, mellow flesh is best eaten simply. Perhaps cut in half with olive oil and salt or a dash of vinaigrette dressing or just spread on bread.

The avocado is one of the few green things that my children will reliably eat. Though I am a bit wary of making these sweeping statements, as they are quite capable, for no apparent reason, of turning against an old favourite, especially if it constitutes healthy eating. This, the avocado most certainly does. It is a rich source of Vitamin E, also contains a good amount of Vitamins B6 and C, potassium and is high in monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol. So throughout the winter I know that they are getting all these nutrients in their diet.

Avocados go well in sandwiches, turning an otherwise dull filling into something luscious. Partner with bacon or Marmite, salad or cold chicken. My children will pick the chunks of avo from a salad, leaving the rest for me, sans avo. Another great way of using ripe avocadoes in season is as a dip. Mash them with a squeeze of lemon, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and perhaps a drop of chilli sauce, provide some chips or nachos to scoop with and it’ll be gone in no time.

My husband remembers having avocado breakfasts as a child. Just avos and a selection of fillings to dollop in the centre and eat with a spoon. Coming from a country where the avocado was considered exotic in the Seventies, I remember it being served as a highly desirable starter filled with prawns in a pink mayonnaise, when we were taken out to dinner as a treat. Maybe it’s back in fashion again – retro chic.

Those avocadoes never attained the creamy, voluptuous texture of a truly ripe avo though. The long journey from sunnier climes, in refrigerated containers, left you with the choice of eating them a bit too firm or else by the time they felt soft to the touch they had already turned black inside. Now we’re lucky enough to live in a country where they grow and can wait to eat them until the perfect creaminess has been reached.

I’m watching my first bag of the season carefully, gleaming darkly green in their bowl, like a clutch of eggs in a nest, for the first signs of ripeness…then we feast!

Copyright 2006 Kit Heathcock

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