Thursday, September 6, 2012


The avocado has been around a long long time.  The oldest evidence was found in a Mexican cave and dates back to 10,000 BC.  Since then it has shown up in many places including the pre-Inca city of Chan Chan and in a European book written in 1518 or 1519.

Avocados were known by the Aztecs as fertility fruit, and in many spanish countries they are known as the "alligator pear" because of it's shape and rough skin.

Another interesting fact is that the avocado is a climacteric fruit, which means it matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree.  This is useful if you own an avocado tree.  It means you can just pick them when you need them and they can stay on the tree sometimes for up to several months.  The banana is the same by the way.
Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados are considered one of the healthiest foods that grown on the planet because they contain more than 25 essential nutrients.  These include vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium and potassium.  they also contain fibre, protein and several beneficial phytochemicals which protect against many diseases.

Here are just some of the many benefits of eating avocados :

  • slows the aging process
  • reduces inflammation
  • protects against cancer
  • helps preserve healthy youthful skin

How to grow Avocados

Growing avocado trees from seeds has long been an easy project for school children, and is something to consider doing with your own kids.  Here is a video that shows you how.

If you are serious about growing an avocado tree, and you live in a climate where the temperature is conducive (or you have a greenhouse) here is a more detailed video that shows you how to start your own plant in a pot of earth.


 Uses for Avocados

The avocado is not only very good to eat, it also has many other uses as well.  Here are just a few :
  • A powder made from avocado seeds is used to control dandruff
  • Some people chew the seeds to reduce toothache pain
  • The skin is sometimes used as an antibiotic for intestinal parasites and dysentry
  • The flesh has long been used to condition dry hair and to promote hair growth
  • Avocado flesh is also sometimes used as a soothing shaving cream

People have used avocado as a natural facial treatment for many years.  An avocado facial is especially good for dry skin. Here are the steps :
  • Remove your makeup and wash your face with your favourite cleanser.
  • Mash half an avocado with a little water to make it creamy, then apply it to your face.
  • Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse off completely with lots of water.

You don't always have some fresh avocado around when you want it, or the time to deal with preparation, but there are some products that promise the same benefits.  Look for those that contain avocado as a main ingredient.

Lastly, you can get some of the best benefits from eating avocadoes, and there are many ways to enjoy them.  Here are just a couple for you to try.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This is a very easy and delicious dish.  It also looks very impressive for a lunch party.

For each serving :

Ingredients :

-  1/2 a large avocado
-  3 to 4 ounces of chopped cooked shrimp
-  chopped fresh dill
-  chopped red pepper (optional)
-  mayonnaise

Directions :
  • Hollow out the avocado halves, chopping the extra avocado. Put this into a bowl.
  • Add some chopped red pepper for colour, a bit of chopped fresh dill, about 3 ounces of cooked shrimp per serving, and enough mayonnaise to bind it all together.
  • Divide the mixture among the avocado halves

This is a very nice looking dish, but unless you get really large avocados it can be a bit tricky to fill each half with enough filling so your guests aren't starving.  I prefer to serve it as pictured above on  avocado quarters.  In stead of chopping the avocado I just mix the shrimp, dill and mayonnaise and then divide it up amongst the quarters, serving two per person.  I put this on a bed of lettuce (Boston has lovely large leaves perfect for this) and then if there is extra it can just be put by the side.

Mexican Chicken casserole

This is another way I serve my cilantro lime chicken recipe  once it's cooked.

Put about half a cup of the cooked chicken per person into a greased casserole dish, then top it with lots of grated cheddar, chopped green onion and chopped black olives.  Heat it in a 305'F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Since the chicken is already cooked you just need to heat it until the cheese has melted.

I serve this the way they do at, topped with sliced avocado and garnished with a bit of chopped tomato and cilantro.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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