Go Green for Spring: Avocados

GreenforSpringThis week starts week with St. Patrick’s Day, and ends with the First Day of Spring. I thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight some of my favorite green vegetables.

The first highlight of our “Go Green for Spring” series is the Avocado. Avocados are not vegetables. I am aware of the irony.

Avocados are super good for you. They contain a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been shown to reduce symptoms of arthritis.

Adding avocados to your salads will actually help your body to absorb all the good nutrients that would normally not be absorbed. They are also high in fiber and show a lot of promise in reducing cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar.

So pick up some of these super fruits next time you’re at the grocery store.

Choosing Avocados
The best way to choose any fruit or vegetable is to use your senses. How does it feel? How does it smell? How does it look?
(If you can get away with tasting it, that’s good too. But I doubt your local grocery will look kindly on your taking a bite out of a tomato.)

When selecting avocados, pick them up and give them a slight squeeze. It should be firm, but give way to moderate pressure. Think of way the way an orange feels versus how an apple feels. If the avocado is mushy, or squeezes easily, it’s too ripe.

Another way to test the ripeness of an avocado is to pop the little brown stem off the end. If it comes off easily and is green underneath, the avocado is ripe. If it does not come off easily and is yellow or brown underneath, the avocado is not yet ripe (yellow) or too ripe (brown.)

You can purchase an avocado that is not yet ripe and let it ripen on your counter for a few days. When it is ripe, put it in the refrigerator where it will keep for about a week.

Using Avocados
To open an avocado, slice it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Then turn the two halves in opposite directions. It will pop apart and leave the stone in one half.

If you are only using half the avocado, keep the stone in the unused portion, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. The stone will keep the refrigerated avocado from turning brown. (You can also put the avocado stone in a bowl of guacamole with the same result.)

To remove the stone, whack it with a sharp knife and twist. The stone will pop out easily.

Cut the halves in half again and, holding the avocado in your hand, peel the skin back from the flesh like a banana. The most vitamin-rich portion of the avocado is the dark green layer under the skin. This peeling method keeps as much of that layer as possible.

Need an idea for an avocado recipe that’s not guacamole? Try this:
avochknsaldAvocado Chicken Salad
1 12.5 oz can chicken (about 1 1/2 cups shredded)
1/2 avocado
2 Tbs diced onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup greek yogurt
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste
choice of bread (I used pita)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
The longer it sits, the better it is. I mean, really. This tastes amazing the next day…if it lasts that long.

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