To our amazement, we have discovered there are over 500 varieties of avocados in the world! Avocados are considered a fruit, though most North Americans think of them as a vegetable. From the Nahuatl (Aztec) word ahuacatl, avocado means testicle and is therefore considered an aphrodisiac, since fertility foods often resemble reproductive parts of the body. Run around that word a little bit and add molli, (the Nahautl word for sauce or soup) and you have guacamole!
Considered one of baby’s first foods in Latin America countries, they are easy to digest and full of fiber, with ten whole grams to each medium sized avocado. Avocadoes have 60% more potassium than bananas, are high in vitamin B and C, and have the good kind of cholesterol that increases HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which has the added benefit of keeping us regular.
At one point in time, avacadoes were known as alligator pears, due to their inedible exterior, which is not unlike the reptile skin, and their similar shape to the Bartlett or Bosc. Avocadoes are one of our favorite picnic and snack items, since they travel so well and are easy to eat with a spoon. Cut in half, we sprinkle a little salt or squirt Salsa Huichol (found in any store in Puerto Vallarta) into its like bowlike center and voila…lunch!
Surprisingly, avocadoes are dairy free, cholesterol free and gluten free, as well as vegetarian and vegan. They are ready to eat when they turn dark in color; bright green is pretty but it’s not ripe and will be hard on the exterior as well as inside. If they are slightly soft to the touch, they’re edible. We put them in a drawer or a brown paper bag to hasten the maturation and add a banana or apple to speed up the process.
Some cooks like to add sour cream; prepared salsa; chopped tomatoes, cucumber, or zucchini; mayonnaise or yogurt; and other ingredients to their guacamole recipes but our favorite is simple and easy to make.
Depending on the size of the crowd, we figure half an avocado per diner. Scoop the insides out and mash with a fork (using a blender makes it too creamy and possibly watery)… chunks are good. Lightly salt, squeeze lime juice generously and mix together. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or plop on the top of a pile of nachos. To customize and add some zing, we sometimes toss in chopped sweet onion, especially when in season. Buen provecho.
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