Avocado, (Persea Americana) is native to South America. Mexican excavations have revealed evidence of it as far back  as 7000 BC. Once considered as luxury fruit, it is now planted in sub-tropical and tropical in many countries.

The fruit is the size of a pear, the skin is smooth or pebbly, green or black.  This versatile fruit is used as a vegetable or a fruit. One of the advantages of avocado is that it can be spread like butter. Puree the flesh for guacamole dips, soups or drinks. The flesh will discolor quickly so prepare it just before eating.  Lemons or lime juice can delay discoloration for a short time only.  

Nutritional Value
Nutritionally avocados gain high marks as they are well balanced and easily digested. They contain more polyunsaturated fat and less water and sugar than any other fresh fruit and very high in energy. Avocados are very rich in the B group vitamins, folic acid and iron.

Buying and Storage
Avocados do not ripen on the tree and only begin to soften after picking. Buy avocado while they are firm and without blemishes and ripen them at home. Refrigerate when ripe, they will feel slightly soft.

Avocados store very well and are often sold hard and green for customers to ripen at home in heir own convenience.  At room temperature at about 16 t 18 degree C avocados will ripen well, but above this temperature they are likely to discolor and rot easily.  Ripening can be speeded by placing the green fruit in a plastic bag with a ripe apple or banana for a day or two.   

Prepare, Use and Serve
Split the fruit open to eat and scoop out the creamy smooth flesh. A cut avocado half can be stored in a refrigerator by brushing the exposed flesh with lemon juice, keeping the seed in place and wrapping securely with plastic wrap to reduce browning.

Avocados combine well with fruits such as strawberries, pineapple, orange or grapefruit segments for elegant and colorful presentation.

Combine very well with seafood and salads and can be used in pureed form as baby food, in deeps, soups and flavor mayonnaise. Because they mash very easily, avocados are also useful for canapes, open sandwiches or cracker biscuits where the green flesh makes a contrast with other ingredients.



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