Chef Tim Says...

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Chef Tim Says....


I love avocados. I have loved them since I was a kid when my mom would serve them garnished simply with her fantastic French Dressing. There was a time, though, when avocados had gotten a very bad rap. That was in the day when we had less information about fat in the diet and it was felt that ALL fat was bad (not so).

OK, we know better now. The best part of knowing better about avocados is that you can eat them without feeling like you're committing some low-fat, healthy diet sin. Just the opposite. They're really good for you.

Avocados grow in tropic and subtropic climates. They are actually a fruit and not a vegetable and are one of my favorite healthy foods. For a long time the only avocados available in the grocery were from Florida and California. Even though Florida was the first state in the U.S. to cultivate them, about 80% of domestic avocados in the grocery today are from California and the most common you will see is the Haas avocado. (There is now a huge import market from Central and South America.)

The Haas avocado is the one with the pebbly skin and is a little smaller in size. The other common variety is the slightly larger, more teardrop shaped = Fuerte. Look for evenly colored green or dark green skin with no cuts or blemishes.

Because of today's produce market, avocados are available pretty much year 'round. Like most fruits they are very fragile and are now picked very much unripe. The best way to ripen them is as you would with peaches, by placing them in a paper bag for about two days. You can find ripened ones in the market because they ripen fairly quickly but it's a bit of a treasure hunt. A ripe avocado will give slightly to very gentle pressure. Don't refrigerate them unless they have been cut. I prefer to eat them fairly quickly after they ripen, but they will keep up to about a week in the fridge.

Avocados are essentially a fat. While a cup of slices is only about 120 calories, it's mostly fat. But... they are really low in saturated fat and have tons of good monounsaturated fat (read that GOOD fat). They also have a lot of fiber, as well as being high in Vitamin C.

1/2 cup sliced avocado = 117 calories, 10 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 7 g mono fat, 1.5 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 5 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, Vitamin K 15 mcg

For more about Florida Avocados visit:

For more about California Avocados visit:

I always loved growing avocados and here's a good site for just that:

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Dr. Gourmet
July 16, 2007