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Produce Basics – Avocados

Holy guacamole! Did you know the avocado is not a vegetable, but a fruit? That’s right, that green, creamy, egg-shaped gem is, botanically, a berry.
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The avocado grows on a tree bearing the same name which is believed to have originated in Mexico, which remains the number one producer of avocados today. The good old USA is the world’s third largest producer with two main growing areas, southern California and southern Florida.

Here’s why you should make avocados a regular part of your diet:

  • This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is often referred to as a superfood.
  • Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat which makes them perfect for a heart-healthy diet.
  • They contain more potassium than bananas. Studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure.
  • Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids or the “good” fat.

So, to get started on your avocado adventure, you need to know how to select the best ones and how to store them. 

  • Choose avocados that feel slightly soft to the touch and don’t have cracks or dents on the surface.
  • Firmer avocados may be ripened at home by placing them on the counter in a paper bag, but avoid rock-hard ones.
  • If you’re not using them within a day or two, it’s fine to store them in the fridge, otherwise, they can stay on the counter.

We all know it as the star ingredient in guacamole, but avocado offers numerous options when it comes to delicious dishes. Use it like a pepper and stuff it with your choice of veggies and/or protein for a hearty entrée. Grill it, yes, we said, grill it and enjoy the smoky, buttery goodness on sandwiches or toast. You can even blend it into your favorite smoothie to make a thick and nutrient filled snack or quick breakfast. The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination to create your own avocado dream dish.

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