Did you know avocados are technically berries? There are quite a few types of avocado that vary in shape and color. The ones you most commonly find in your grocery store are Hass avocados. Hass avocados are the most popular avocados around the world.
Because avocados are naturally dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and cholesterol-free, they are widely popular and are used in many cuisines and diet plans. They are also anti-inflammatory, which makes the avocado a key player in diets for such conditions as multiple sclerosis.
With a high fiber, potassium, and fat count, and a low sodium and cholesterol count, avocados are a filling and nutritious choice for a quick snack or meal. The avocado is considered one of the world's healthiest foods.
Tips to remember when buying and eating avocados
Got an unripe avocado and just can't wait? To ripen an avocado, put it in a closed brown paper bag overnight in a cool, dry place. Otherwise, an avocado will take up to a week to fully ripen if purchased unripe. When it is ready to eat, the skin will be darker and will have lost some of its shine. However, you cannot indicate ripeness by color alone. It will feel soft, but not mushy. As well as any fruit, a perfectly ripe avocado is only perfect for that day. When it becomes ripe, storing it in the refrigerator will extend its ripeness for another day or two.
If you want to buy avocados 5-7 days before you need to use them, look for firm, bright, unripe avocados when shopping.
Bigger isn't always better! A bigger avocado can mean a bigger seed, which means less flesh.
Remember, when you cut an avocado, make sure you get as close to the peel as possible. The greener the flesh, the richer in nutrients.
How to peel an avocado
There are a couple of ways to do this.
If you don't want to miss out on any of the avocado's health benefits, you should get as much green as possible. Peel the avocado skin off, and if ripe, it should completely separate from the flesh, leaving none behind. This can get messy!
The cleaner and quicker way to do this is to start by halving the avocado. Be careful of the seed! Cut a line down the middle through to the seed, then gently twist and pull it apart. You can pick the seed out with a sharp knife, or you can scoop it out with a spoon. This way is best if you are looking for neat avocado cuts. Scoop each half of the avocado out of the peel, and use as desired.
Should you eat the avocado seed?
You may have seen a few online resources that teach readers how to eat avocado seeds, but currently there is no evidence of any health benefits associated with it. You are better off sticking with the fruit, the part that's meant to be eaten. The California Avocado Commission even recommends to avoid consuming the seed, saying that it "contains elements that are not meant for human consumption".
Avocado nutrition facts (1 avocado, sliced):
- Calories: 234
- Total fat: 21g
- Saturated fat: 3.1 g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.7g
- Monounsaturated fat: 14g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 10 mg
- Potassium: 708 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 12 g
- Dietary fiber: 10 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Protein: 2.9 g
An avocado contains the following vitamins:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B-6
To healthfully utilize avocados, watch this video to learn how to make Greek yogurt guacamole.
What's the point of avocado toast?
Avocado toast is a convenient, fun, and popular way to get all of the great health benefits of avocado in just a few bites while being able to put your own tasty spin on the recipe. Top avocado toast with chili flakes, a fried egg, grilled vegetables, cheese, or all of the above — the options are endless!
Choosing the correct base for your avocado toast is important, too. A toast that's too flimsy won't support the avocado and toppings, and something too hefty might settle like a brick in your stomach. Experiment with different breads, or even your favorite crackers, to see what works for you.
Watch the video and read the recipe below to learn how to make one of our favorite versions of avocado toast. We put a Greek spin on it, and included fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh feta cheese, and olive oil. You could add olives and/or thinly sliced red onion if you'd like.
Greek avocado toast video
Greek avocado toast recipe
This recipe makes enough for 4 toasts.
- Your bread of choice (we used a local whole grain bread)
- 2 ripe avocados
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cucumber, skin on
- 2 ripe tomatoes (we used Roma)
- 1/2 cup fresh block feta
- Olive oil
To make the toasts:
- Slice bread and toast to your liking. Remember a toastier bread will hold up to the avocado and toppings.
- Scoop avocado into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle sea salt over the top and mash the avocado. You can leave it chunkier if you'd like.
- Slice cucumber and tomato, each 1/2" thick.
- Spoon the avocado mixture onto the toasts.
- Place cucumber and tomato on top, pushing slightly so they stick.
- Crumble the fresh feta atop the toasts.
- Top with a light drizzle of olive oil.
This recipe is also a great use for Greek leftovers! If you have leftover Horiatiki salad, you can put it right on top of the avocado.
Since avocado is a relatively low source of protein, try to add high sources of protein to your toasts to make a hearty and complete meal.
High sources of protein that you can add include:
- Fresh cheeses, especially cottage cheese
- Two eggs
- Lean meats
Incorporating healthful foods into your diet is all about keeping things exciting. The great thing about avocado toast is that there are unlimited ways to customize it to make it your own. You can also utilize leftover guacamole or other avocado spreads that you're not sure what to do with.