Although avocados are native to Mexico and Central America, Australians have fallen in love with this fruit 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. They marry beautifully with a wide range of ingredients, the traditional ones from their home lands but also more modern combinations. From Guacamole to 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 the imports from close neighbours.
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, 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 juice. Or spread it on wholemeal toast with real butter and 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 (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 Flavour Combinations and Recipes
Guacamale 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 was baked, fried and turned into icecream. Although it is still unusual to see many of these today, the interest in retro recipes has highlighted these dishes once more.
Some long ago flavour suggestions for Avocado that are making a come-back.
Avocado and Chocolate
Adherents of the raw-food movement make a silky chocolate mousse from these two, using cocoa powder for the chocolate flavour, sometimes supplemented by banana or date. Avocado takes care of 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 Philippines. 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.
Avocado and Lime – Guacamale
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 discoloration. My view is that if the guacamole’s around long enough to find out, you’re not making it right.