I love avocados. It amazes me how versatile the fruit can be in regards to delicious recipes and health benefits. You could use it as a spread for burgers or sandwiches rather than the usual condiments, such as mayonnaise. For example, CC Angus Beef, LLC has some wonderful ground chuck patties that would go nicely with a few slices of avocado. Or you could make a delicious turkey or chicken sandwich with pasture-raised meat from Naturally Naked and spread some creamy avocado on whole wheat bread from Breadsmith. For a flavorful salad, try heading over to Trogg’s Hollow and purchase your favorite leafy greens, such as arugula or spinach, and add sliced avocado into the mix.
Some also enjoy their avocados in smoothie or milkshake form. A simple smoothie recipe that I would suggest for you to try is to blend one avocado with a cup of milk, half a cup of vanilla yogurt, three tablespoons of Reader’s Apiaries’ locally produced honey, and about two cups of ice cubes. Another trick is to try adjusting your favorite fruit smoothie or milkshake with the use of an avocado. Say you have a soft spot for raspberry smoothies. I would suggest on heading over to Grace Farm Studios and purchasing their organically grown raspberries. Take about half a cup of the raspberries and freeze them by following a certain procedure, which is easily searchable online. Just look up “how to freeze raspberries whole” and you will receive several similar results. When the raspberries are completely frozen, take one whole peeled and pitted avocado and puree it with ¾ of a cup of orange juice, ¾ of a cup of raspberry juice, the frozen raspberries, and voilà! You have yourself a delicious, mouthwatering raspberry-avocado smoothie!
Then there is the typical use of avocados that I am sure many of you are familiar with, guacamole. To get the best ingredients for your guacamole recipe, I would suggest purchasing your spices, such as cayenne pepper and cumin, from our vendors Let’s Spice it Up! Not only will you be getting a good deal on a greater quantity, but you will be receiving a product that has not been sitting on aisle shelves for quite as long. As for Windy Acres Farm and Stojan’s Vegetables, tomatoes seem be one their top-sellers, so definitely look to one them for that ingredient in your guacamole recipe.
Now, let’s switch gears and talk about the health benefits that avocados have to offer. There are over 20 nutritional benefits that have been researched and proven. For instance, avocados provide several nutrients such as fiber, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, and riboflavin. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is extremely beneficial in that it assists in breaking down carbohydrates. Furthermore, consuming avocados with other foods will enhance the absorption of nutrients such as carotenoids alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which are precursors for vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial in the maintenance of vision, the immune system, bones, and skin.
Avocados also allow for better absorption of an antioxidant called lutein, which plays an essential role in skin and eye health. Most importantly, avocados are one of the very few foods that are a natural, healthy source of fats. This source of “good” fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels. As a result, by consuming avocados regularly, one could lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There has been research done to prove that monounsaturated fat in avocados are beneficial in reducing the chance of cancer on the basis of its assistance in absorbing carotenoids. Its anti-inflammatory properties may even suggest that it has the ability to fight liver damage, as proposed by a study conducted in Japan.
It may come as no surprise that avocados can indeed be referred to as a “super fruit”. Just to clarify, avocados are in season for several months from spring through fall. When selecting an avocado, it is important to understand that this fruit ripens quickly, in a matter of a few days. So, if you are purchasing avocados and are not planning to make use of them immediately, I would suggest that you select the hard, unripe avocados. However, a trick that I like to do after purchasing more avocados than I can use in a few days is to stick them in the refrigerator. This helps to preserve the avocado from becoming overripe. When I plan on having one for the day, I take it out of the fridge a few hours prior to eating it.
As of now, none of the vendors of Downtown Elgin Harvest Market sell avocados. As a matter of fact, most of the avocados sold in the U.S. come from California. Actually, many articles that I have read state that because of the avocado’s tough exterior, it is not necessary to purchase organic avocados. Despite it not being sold at the market, I believe it is crucial to enlighten my readers on how avocados enhance the absorption of nutrients when consumed in addition to the healthful products that you are purchasing at the market. So, now that I’ve shared my little burst of enthusiasm over my favorite fruit, I want you to head over to the market this Thursday and purchase a couple ingredients that you could use to put together a delicious and nutritious avocado recipe!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
-Sarah De Ocampo, Food & Nutrition Associate