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Awesome Avos

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— February 15, 2018

Awesome Avos

  • More than just guac and toast: Avocados provide hardcore nutrition with a rich, creamy flavor.
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What’s green, pebbly and an Internet star? It’s the avocado (specifically the Hass variety, but more on that in a moment).

Avocados had their moment in the pop-culture spotlight last year, when an Australian gazillionaire named Tim Gurner sneered at people who blew all their cash on avo toast—which is really good, by the way, try it if you haven’t yet—instead of saving money and becoming a gazillionaire like him. Millennials ran with it and a meme was born, along the lines of “I’ll take 2 avo toasts and no house, please.” Even if the meme is running out of steam, you shouldn’t give up your avocados. Not only are they good for you, but they’re also more versatile, in the kitchen and elsewhere, than you might think.

Green Gems

The avocado comes from Central America; in fact, the ancient Aztecs in what is now Mexico were the first ones to pound avos into guacamole. They called it ahuacatl, or “testicle,” from its shape. While the origin of the word “avocado” is in some dispute, one story says it came from a group of California farmers who needed something more acceptable (and pronounceable) from a marketing standpoint. The most popular avocado is the dark, rough-skinned Hass; others grown primarily in California include the light-skinned Bacon and the longish Pinkerton. The larger, shiny green West Indian avocados, grown mainly in Florida and which contain more water and less oil, include the Booth and the Lula. Finding an avocado just ripe enough to have some give without being

TIP: To avoid damaging the avocado’s delicate fats, always use it raw or add it after a dish has been cooked

mushy is a thing of joy. If all you can find are the really hard ones, though, don’t despair. Just place them in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature so they’ll be ready to eat in two to five days (throw in an apple or a kiwifruit to speed the process). On the other hand, dead-ripe ones can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. To store a cut avo, sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and wrap tightly with plastic before refrigeration.

AVOS FOR KETO
It’s almost as popular as an avocado toast: On the keto (short for “ketogenic”) diet, you eat few carbs, some protein and a lot of high-quality fat. And one of the stars on the keto red carpet is the homely looking avocado. You get 22 grams of fat per cup—more than half of them the healthy monounsaturated kind—along with substances called phytosterols, which have been shown to help quell inflammation. Going to keto? Go avo!
Avocado Nutrition, by the Numbers
In one cup of cubed raw avocado, you get:
728 mg Potassium
122 mcg Folate
32 mcg Vitamin K
Vitamin K 15 mg Vitamin C
10 mg Fiber
In addition, the avocado’s fat content promotes better absorption of such fat-based nutrients like vitamin A.

Avo Prep

Guacamole, in which ripe avocados are mashed with lemon juice, salt and some combination of tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, etc., is the best-known culinary use of avocados, but it’s far from the only one. Here are other ways to get your avo fix: > Chop it as a garnish for soup and other dishes; to learn how to turn an avocado into a rose-shaped garnish, go to YouTube > Use it in salad dressing > Mash it and slather on bread (instead of mayo) in sandwiches > Use it as a vegan substitute for butter in mashed potatoes Avocados also come in handy for your personal care routine. For example, you can use them to:

Can’t see the avocados in this recipe? Look again: The avo’s high-fat content make it a perfect replacement for the butter and milk in standard frosting. As the people at popsugar.com put it, “Each cupcake offers almost five grams of fiber and is just 230 calories. A real-deal chocolate cupcake is 459 calories! That’s a crime when you can make these chocolate gems.”

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes With Avocado “Buttercream” Frosting

Cupcakes
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Frosting
2 completely ripe avocados
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 paper or silicone cups. Whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar, and set aside for a few minutes so the milk curdles. Beat in the sugar, oil, and vanilla until foamy.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cupcake ingredients. Then slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet until smooth.
3. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cups. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven; after a few minutes, move cupcakes to a cooling rack.
4. While the cupcakes bake, scoop out the avocado flesh and place in a food processor. Add remaining frosting ingredients and puree until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes
Reprinted with permission from popsugar.com (posted 10/14/17)

> Condition your hair—mash with a banana in a bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and stir; apply to damp hair, massage in and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly

> Brighten your face—combined with ingredients such as honey or yogurt for a moisturizing

facial mask

> Remove makeup—put some avo oil on a cotton ball to get rid of eyeliner and mascara

> Scrub your feet—let an avocado pit dry for a few days, then grind it and mix with half a ripe avocado, some cornmeal, and a little sea salt; massage into your feet over a foot basin and rinse with warm water

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