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Amazing Avocados!

Amazing Avocados!

Avocados. These savory pear-shaped fruits are creamy, delicious, and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, National Avocado Day, celebrated on July 31st every year, is a day to explore all the benefits of this miraculous fruit.

Native to central Mexico, avocados were a staple food of the ancient Aztecs, eventually spreading throughout central and South America. First discovered by Europeans during the 17th Century, they are now grown throughout the tropics and Mediterranean, including the southern United States.

Fun Fact: The avocado is sometimes called an alligator pear!

Avocado Varieties

In the U.S., there are two primary cultivars. The most popular is the Hass avocado, grown mostly in California. It features a bumpy dark brown to black skin and is proportionally higher in fat.

Hass avocados have a dark rough skin. You can see why they’re sometimes called “alligator pears”!

The other variety, which is grown in Florida, are aptly named Florida avocados. They are generally larger in size a feature a smooth, bright green skin.

Florida avocados

Avocados – So Good For You!

Not only do they taste good, but avocados are also one of the most nutrient-rich foods around. They are a great source of folate, vitamin E, lutein, and magnesium. And they’ve got bananas beat when it comes to potassium: one half an avocado contains 487 mg. while one medium banana offers 422 mg.

Avocados are also high in fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. In addition, they contain antioxidants, which fight damaging free radicals in your body. This combination of factors means eating avocados regularly can help to protect your body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases, and more.

Most-often associated with guacamole, avocados taste great on their own and make a fresh, healthy addition to almost any meal, from salads to sandwiches and more. Spread one on a cracker, spoon one out and eat it plain, or toss a few slices on top of your favorite soup or chili. Here are a few other ways to enjoy this versatile superfood!

Holy Guacamole!

guacamole

Ingredients:
3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Directions:

Scoop the avocado pulp into a large bowl, add the lime juice, and salt and mash with a potato masher. Fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Chill before serving with your favorite tortilla chips.

4-Minute Avocado Toast

Simple, nutritious, delicious. A great breakfast packed with nutrients to help you start your day on the right foot!

Ingredients:

2 slices whole-grain bread, toasted
1 ripe avocado
Salt & Pepper to taste
Toppings of your choice: chopped hard-boiled egg, sliced tomatoes, red onion, sunflower seeds, greens, crumbled feta — whatever you’d like!

Directions:

Toast bread. Remove seed and scoop flesh from avocado into a small bowl. Mash with a fork. Divide onto toast slices and add toppings, and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Avocado Reuben

Ingredients:
2 slices rye bread
Mustard
Thousand Island dressing
1 slice Swiss cheese
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
1/4 cup sauerkraut

Directions:
Spread one slice of bread with some mustard and the other slice with Thousand Island dressing. Place the bread slices, dry side down, in a lightly oiled skillet. Top one slice with cheese and the other with sauerkraut. Over medium heat, grill the sandwich until lightly browned and hot, about 5 minutes. Lay the avocado slices over the sauerkraut, place the cheese half of the sandwich on top of it and enjoy!

Shrimp Avocado Tacos

Ingredients:
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 avocado, diced and peeled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bottled salsa verde
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 6” flour tortillas
1 1/4 cups red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 pepper)
Lime wedges

Directions:
Combine shrimp, beans, scallions, and avocado. Season with pepper. In a separate bowl, stir together the salsa, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss shrimp mixture with 1/4-cup salsa mixture. Place two tortilla each on four plates. Lay 3-4 pepper strips in the center of each tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup of the shrimp and bean mixture. Drizzle one tablespoon of the salsa mixture over each taco. Fold tortillas in half and serve with lime wedges.

Avocado Tips

Ripen avocados faster with a banana!

Easy tip to remove avocado pits

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  • Mizvix says:

    I use and taught mykids to make guacamole this way four large avocados favorite salsa lemon juice sour cream and dash of worstshire sauce, salt ,pepper, cayenne pepper, I like diced mild green Chili’s instead of jalapenos all spices to taste, onion powder, garlic smidge it’s healthy no taste should over whelm any other color is medium light green with the sour cream mash with fork not too much salsa or sour cream to thin splash of worst shire or substitute a little dill for balancing taste as you go keep color , thickness and balance as your guide. Thanks

  • Sharon says:

    Growing up in Southern California we always heard that Avocados have to be grown on a slope within some distance to the sea. For some reason they require a sea breeze and are grown on a slope that faces the sea. Is this true?

    Also there were over 20 varieties of Avocados grown in California in the 50’s and 60’s but the Haas became the most popular, so gradually now the Haas is the main variety you see in the markets these days.

  • Marty says:

    Well I just like them .peel and eat

  • varaha says:

    My neighbor in Escondido CA, Mr. Good, explained to me, the oil content of any variety of avo depends on it’s maturity on the tree before picking. I now live in Miami and the tree
    in my backyard produces the large Florida avo’s which are as oily as the CA Haas
    variety. Great article. Thanks, varaha
    Miami, FL

  • John says:

    I prefer to say, pears are avocado-shaped…

  • Pam K. says:

    I can’t wait to try these recipes. Jaime McLeod you are a great writer. You should be an investigative reporter. You always research a subject and bring out very interesting facts. Keep up the great work!

  • Ali says:

    I love avocados! I try to eat a half of one every day. I just sprinkle a little himalayan salt on it. Unless I’m making an avocado dip, I don’t bother adding anything to it. So good for u!!!

  • Raul Infante says:

    Hi………I appreciate all the good information that you’re providing concerning avocados, allow me to tell you that within our Mexican or Hispanic Heritage avocados are consummed on a daily basis I also would like to tell you that the main ingredients in our guacamole, we don’t use cummin or garlic since thhese two types of spacies are irritant to some people. I have seen and taste these two spicies in what we call TEX_MEX restaurants but if you visit Mexico and tdon’t think you will see or taste that kind of guacalome.

    • Sandi Duncan says:

      Raul please do share your recipe for guacamole — sounds delicious. I don’t use cumin but love garlic and use lots of that. Thanks

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