Friday, August 24, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Do you ever find yourself with too many ripe avocados on your hands? Or perhaps you see them for sale at the store or a road side stand and wish you could take advantage of that opportunity?
If you do -- here's something to try -- you might find yourself a way to enjoy some avocados in mid-winter by preserving them with an old fashioned method - pickling! Let us know if you try it and how it works out for you.
|Cut up summer avocados - pre pickled|
PICKLED AVOCADOS - RECIPE
Pickling a fruit is a time honored way to preserve it for future enjoyment. I've experimented with pickling avocados in the 'fridge and they turn out salty and vinegary with a garlic hit as well as a small kick from the chili. It's an excellent way to take advantage of those opportunities when a neighbor gives you extra avocados OR you find them on sale in the market.
2 or 3 ripe (but not too ripe) avocados
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly
1. In a saucepan over medium heat combine all ingredients EXCEPT for the avocados and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes, stirring to make sure sugar and salt is dissolved.
2. Cool mixture to room temperature (in fridge or on counter).
3. When the pickling liquid is cool, peel and pit your avocados. You can leave in large chunks, or in whole slices - your choice.
4. Put the avocado into a shallow dish and pour the pickling liquid over it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
5. The avocados are ready to eat the next day -- and can last a long time in the refrigerator, in a covered jar, plastic bowl with lid, etc.
1. The pickled avocados are delicious on their own!
2. You can also serve them like you would pickled cucumbers or olives - on an appetizer plate with other fresh and pickled veggies.
|Post pickle - after being in 'fridge overnight|
3. They are delicious served on top of toasted sour dough bread or French bread.
4. Pickled avocados are excellent on top of a lettuce salad. Mix some of the pickling liquid with avocado oil or olive oil for a dressing.
Posted by Avocado Diva at 11:26 PM
Monday, June 18, 2012
I adapted this recipe from a “Mediterranean Diet” recipe so that it uses California avocado 3 ways in order to take advantage of the healthy properties in avocados – the “New World’s” answer for olives. I also use California olives, California wine and California lemon too.
In this one pot meal, we will use avocado oil, avocado leaves and finish with chopped avocado (instead of sour cream).
Avocado oil has a very high smoke point – so the benefits of the oil are not lost when cooking with it as easily (like can happen with olive oil or other oils that have lower smoke points). Avocado oil is known to help block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. It also is full of antioxidants, such as vitamin E (also good for coronary health and skin softness). Additionally, avocado oil has a host of other vitamins and minerals that work together – such as glutathione –which helps regulate other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E. (Source: California Avocado Commission).
2 tablespoons avocado oil
8 chicken thighs or drumsticks
1 or 2 brown onions, sliced
1 jar of mixed olives (Californian – with pits)
1 can diced, roasted tomatoes
1 cup whole, small tomatoes
10 garlic gloves, peeled
2 large, dried Mexicola Avocado leaves
½ cup California red wine (merlot is great)
salt, pepper, and paprika
1 ripe avocado, cubed
1. In a Dutch oven, heat the avocado oil to about 350. While it’s heating, sprinkle the chicken parts with salt, pepper and paprika. (I personally like to use my Diva Salts – with 5 kinds of sea salts and paprika already in it.) Fry the chicken to get the skin crisp – then remove to a plate with paper towels to drain.
2. In the oil – cook the sliced onions until browned and wilted. Remove and pour off the remaining oil. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping off any delicious brown bits of chicken and onions. Squeeze the lemon into the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the alcohol is diminished.
3. Add to the wine/lemon mixture: drained olives, can of tomatoes, cup of whole tomatoes, garlic cloves and the 2 avocado leaves. Return the onions and toss to mix. Snuggle the chicken pieces down into this mixture and return to a hot simmer (bubbles are coming up).
4. Reduce to a simmer and put on the back burner for anywhere from 2 – 5 hours.
Dish up vegetables and discard the avocado leaves. Top with cubes of avocado. Add one or two pieces of chicken - it will be falling off the bone!
Serve with a glass of the wine you cooked with and a crusty loaf of bread. The cooked garlic cloves are highly prized to spread on the bread.
Makes 4 servings
Posted by Avocado Diva at 2:04 PM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
|A normal (yet large) winter avocado next to a normal sized Hass|
In short, the answer is NO... not yet (as of June 2012).
Here's the longer answer....
A. GMO means: "A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes. Transgenic organisms, a subset of GMOs, are organisms that have inserted DNA from a different species. GMOs are the constituents of genetically modified foods."
B. Avocados - like most agriculture - has been hybrid throughout generations to make the fruit more and more desirable for consumption and for marketing. The "original" avocados found in South America were tiny, had huge pits and not too much flesh. They sometimes had edible skins and often the leaves and bark were edible too - or at least useful as medicines or as a spice/flavoring. You can see a descendant of an original avocado, with a thin edible skin, and it's fresh & dried leaves below.
|A "Mexicola" avocado with it's leaves (used like bay leaves)|
D. An example - to make the pit smaller, to make the skin tougher, to make the fruit sweeter or nuttier, etc. As of today, there are over 1,500 varieties of avocados throughout the world. In California - we have over 500 varieties! The most "common" or well known is the avocado called the "Hass". (So - just because an avocado is small or HUGE does NOT mean its a GMO... just FYI). Please visit my website www.AvocadoDiva.com to see and order many of these varities.
E. The Hass was also the first avocado with a patent. 85% of the fruit sold in the USA is a Hass. The Hass is a great avocado for the packing houses and the grocery stores - as it has several characteristics that make it ideal for picking, packing, shipping and display - most notibably that is has a thick (but not too thick), rough skin that turns black as it ripens. Thus the consumer knows its ready to eat AND it can handle the rough conditions of packing, shipping, handling and display. It is also very tasty. But is it THE best avocado? Not in my opinion ;-) I do love Hass at the height of it's season (June, July, August) -- but other varieties are more delicious at the height of THEIR seasons (you can visit www.AvocadoDiva.com for more info on that).
F. Finally -- there HAVE been attempts to create a GMO avocado - that would better resist the funguses that cause the most damage to the trees. Those attempts have not worked out (yet). At the present time, there are NO GMO avocados or avocado trees being sold or marketed. There are FALSE reports on the internet (usually about the Florida variety of avocado - marketed as a "Slim-cado"). The Slim-cado is simply a different variety - huge, bright green and very watery - that has grown in Florida for decades. These types of "watery" avocados are known the world over - and often used in desserts, shakes, and such (e.g. - in the Philippines and Brazil these types are more common).
G. If and when a GMO avocado comes out -- it may be in India (first) -- they seem to be the most interested in the attempts. The scientist who WAS working on it in the USA (in Florida) gave up in 2008. I have personally talked with 2 of the world's experts on this matter (in May, 2012) - who run the world's largest avocado tree nursery (for commercial - e.g. farms) in the world. They both said there are no GMO trees in production. They said they had hopes in the early 2000s - but have only seen failures -- and went back to the "old fashioned" grafting and hybrid methods and are now happy about that - given all the mixed results and bad publicity and news about GMOs.
I'd love your input and comments! I am personally SO happy that my beloved fruit is (so far) GMO free. The Avocado Diva (you can follow me on Facebook if you like!).
Posted by Avocado Diva at 10:46 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2012
|Reed, Hass and Lamb varieties|
|Various heirloom tomatoes at the local farm|
a. Which avocado is the BEST?
b. What is a "heritage" avocado?
c. What is your favorite avocado?
d. Which one should I buy?
So here's some answers for ya.....
a. The BEST avocado is the one that is in season.
b. A "heritage" avocado is like an "heirloom" tomato.
c. My favorite avocado is the ripe one.
d. You should buy the Avocado Diva's in-season heritage avocado.
To get them - join my Diva club and I'll get them shipped out to you each month!
Love- The Avocado Diva
Posted by Avocado Diva at 11:46 PM
Friday, May 11, 2012
I think that this graphic just about says it all.
But if this heritage avocado DID have a label - here are some of the wonderful things it might say:
KIND OF AVOCADO: A rare "Matthew Davis" (click on link for more info about how the Avocado Diva and fans are saving these rare trees!).
SIZE OF AVOCADO: 1 lb
ORIGIN: Ventura, California
NUTRITION: (from the California Avocado Commission)
Ever MORE amazing is how low in fat an avocado serving can be when compared to things like butter, sour cream mayonnaise or cheese!
Check out these stats - and then substitute a couple slices of avocado INSTEAD of butter or cheese and save HUNDREDS of calories!
If you'd like to have delicious, right off the tree, in season heritage avocados shipped to you each month - please visit our site and join our "Diva Club"! Thanks.
Posted by Avocado Diva at 10:33 AM
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The Sounds of an Orchard
Have you had the sheer joy of walking through a fruit orchard? Walking in a straight line – with towering trees on either side – clear blue skies seen in bright, glorious stripes overhead? It’s an amazing sight – but even MORE so – it’s an amazing SOUND.
Walk with the Avocado Diva – and HEAR with I hear…
First you notice the wind – sometimes whispering through leaves. Then it might rattle a few boney limbs of trees that need to be pruned. Every once in a while – a gust of wind will burst through – and the trees will make a chorus of sounds – raspy gasps of leaves and branches straining to hang onto their trunks – a grunt here and there with squeaks of protest from the larger limbs.
Once you get used to the almost spooky nature of the wind – you notice the sound of bees. There are ALWAYS bees in fruit orchards. Avocado orchards have something blooming almost year ‘round. The “alternate” pollinator trees may be in full bloom – while the dominant trees are not. Or if you are very lucky – its full bloom time for the Hass – and the bees are making a MASSIVE sound. A hum that can almost overwhelm you with it’s sensory overload. Your primal brain fears the threat of that hum. On those days, I don’t dare to part the leaves and peak inside the trees – looking for the green pears that drip from the branches deep inside the trees. Best to leave it alone – and leave the busy bees to their work.
Next – if you pay attention – you’ll notice the crackling of leaves under your feet. Most avocado orchards are carpeted in dry, brown leaves scattered in thick layers along the rows and encircling the trees. The dry, crunchy leaves blanket the ground, keeping in the expensive, precious water so hard to find in the desert of southern California – but so critical to growing these subtropical fruit. Crunch. Crunch, Crunch – your boots help pulverize them into smaller, more decomposable pieces. Like a child – once you are aware of the leaves, you want to stomp on them and hear the crunch. Taking joy in the fun of mashing them and hearing them snap and pop!
Again – if you are very, very quiet and stand quite still – you will hear wildlife. The screech of a red-tailed hawk or two – high overhead…. circling on the thermals – fighting over mates and territory. The raucous crows will caw-caw and make that horrible crow “gurgling noise” that sounds like African drums - cawing in a staccato that makes you grow goose flesh and shutter.
Quieter and quieter now – if you stand really still – you’ll soon hear the scurrying feet of small rodents and reptiles in the dry, crackling brown carpet of leaves. Quick – hurried feet most likely mean a squirrel or a rat! Tiny sounds could be a lizard or a mouse. The sound I most dread – the steady, constant rattle of the leaves – is a snake. Their long, lithe bodies make a long, constant “hiss” of moving, dried avocado leaves. It makes me shutter – and quake. It’s because of them that I always wear boots in an orchard. Finally – coming out of my fear… I can move again as the hiss fades away from me.
Crouching down now, to try and stay absolutely still: I hear another very low but constant sound. The sound of water – squeaking and shushing out of hundreds of tiny, constant drip feeders. Avocado trees love water – but they don’t like swampy roots. So water is given like an “IV” – in a constant, slow drip – hour after hour.
Now – with patience and a keen ear and a bit of luck you’ll hear the clip-clip-clip of another thirsty creature – the coyote. Again – the light, steady “crunch, crunch, crunch” sound of a critter coming through the bone brittle leaves – this time a four footed fellow. Greedily – he is too impatient to lick from the slow dripping black water valve, he uses his canines – and rips open a gash in the black tubing that snakes through the orchard bringing water to each tree. The precious life blood of water pours our uselessly in the middle of a open area – he drinks his fill – then lopes away – head down – aware I’m there – but not caring. Almost smiling at how he steals the water and makes the rancher angry with his greedy destruction.
I carefully ease up from my crouching position – adding a new noise – the creaking of my own knees ...and walk out of the orchard as quietly as I can.
Posted by Avocado Diva at 9:37 AM