Although avocados are native to Mexico and Central America, Australians fell in love with this fruit sometime in the last decade, and it is served in homes and cafes across the country. It is hard to imagine life in the kitchen without them. One would think that they were native to Australia.
Avocados marry beautifully with a wide range of ingredients — the traditional ones from their home lands but also more modern combinations. From Guacamole to Dips and Mashes, Avocado Salads, to Avocado Soups, they are a much loved ingredient.
Avocados are available all year round thanks to the different varieties grown in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, and the imports from close neighbours. The peak season here is from March to November.
The avocado is a pear shaped fruit with many varieties. It is a more recent addition to the cuisine of the Middle East, and is popular in Israel too, where it was introduced from the USA in the 20th century.
Sometimes, simplest things are the best. Avocados shine when perfectly ripe and drizzled with salt, black pepper and freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Or spread it on wholemeal toast spread with real butter and drizzle with sweet chilli sauce. They say it’s a good hangover cure!
Buying and Storing Avocados
Find avocados that feel heavy for its size and that have not been bumped or bruised (note that Peruvian Hass Avocados have rough skins and a dark green colour that is almost black when ripe). Hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze it gently. If it yields just a little, it’s ready to eat. If you’re still not sure, flick the stem with your finger and it should come off easily. Store avocados at room temperature or in a paper bag to help ripen, and check them daily. For quicker ripening, place in a paper bag of rice. Never refrigerate.
Retro and Modern Flavour Combinations and Recipes
Guacamole is a dip that has been around for many years and has stood the test of time. In the past, avocados have been turned into mousses, creams, cold soups, hot soups, different salads and mornays. It has been baked, fried and turned into icecream. Although it is still unusual to see some of these today, the interest in retro recipes is again highlighting them.
Avocado and Chocolate
Adherents of the raw-food movement make a silky chocolate mousse from these two, using cocoa powder, sometimes supplemented by banana or date. Avocado provides the texture.
Avocado and Coffee
An unlikely mix for western tastes, maybe, but avocado is a fruit, and is treated as such in Vietnam and the Phillipines. It’s pureed into a shake with milk and sugar (or condensed milk) and sometimes flavoured with a coffee or chocolate syrup. In Mexico, avocados are sprinkled with sugar or rum for a simple dessert.
The velvety note of avocado, with the high-pitched lime that cuts through the smoothness of the avocado just when you’re getting too comfortable with its texture. Then add the bite of garlic. At once beautiful together and yet all flavours distinctly separate. Some say that leaving the avocado stone in the puree will prevent discolouration. My view is that if the guacamole’s around long enough to find out, you’re not making it right.
Avocado soups are very cooling in Summer.
The darling of Australian cafes, the avocado mash is very easy to make. Here are some ways to use it:
- Mashed Avocado on wholemeal, rye or sourdough bread (or toast), topped with corn cakes and slivers of preserved lemon.
- Mashed Avocado flavoured with toasted cumin seeds, ground to a powder, and served with Indian roti or naan.
- Check out the link for more recipes, like the one below.
Avocado brightens any salad, especially green layered salads. They are wonderful sliced and layered with cos lettuce, feta, tomatoes and spring onions. This salad is perfect in a wrap or used to fill pita bread.
Or combine avocado with citrus – orange, grapefruit, pomelo, or a mix of citrus – chopped herbs and a citrus dressing.
To dress avocado salads, whizz lots of herbs into a vinaigrette with spring onion, olive oil and wine vinegar. Or use walnut or hazelnut oil.
To make avocado dressings, whizz half an avo with herbs, oil and vinegar for a wonderful creamy salad dressing.
Check out the link for more Avocado Salad recipes.
Or simply browse all of our Avocado recipes.