EOWTTA*: A is for Avocado

Monday, September 7, 2009

(*Eating our way through the alphabet)

The alphabet gets a good workout at our place. Sometimes it gets re-arranged, sometimes it’s sung out loud, and sometimes single letters get exhausted from overuse (eg: the letter Why?).

Which led me to the thought of eating our way through the alphabet. What sort of interesting foodstuff might we encounter along the way?

eating our way from a to z
So let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). Today’s food is brought to you by the letter A and the mini-critics - who picked avocado.

A is for Avocado

avocado half

While I knew that the avocado was technically a fruit, I did not know that it is actually classified as a single seeded berry.

And I definitely did not know that (warning: parental guidance recommended) the word Avocado comes from an Aztec word ahuacatl which means “testicle”. Makes me look at the humble avocado in a whole new light! See what happens when you do research?

Other less interesting names for the avocado include butter pear and alligator pear, and it is related to cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel plants.

Apparently there are over 70 different varieties of avocado, but the most common (in Australia) are Hass, Shepard, Reed, Sharwil and Wurtz. To find out more about each variety, and everything else you really wanted to know about avocados visit this site : http://www.avocado.org.au.

I first encountered an avo (proper Aussie pronounciation) in my student days. I went to an agricultural university and there were all sorts of interesting plants and trees dotted around the campus. A friend came back from a jog one day with some avocados. At the time, none of us had ever encountered this “exotic” fruit. So spoons at the ready, we greedily sampled the proffered halves. You could have cut the anticlimax with a knife!

My tastebuds have grown used to the creamy delights of the avocado and I no longer consider it bland. It makes an appearance regularly at breakfast or in salads, and in dips of course.

Interestingly enough, while we treat the avocado as a vegetable in Australia, a friend who hails from Brasil refuses to eat avocado in salads because she eats avocados as dessert back home (avocado ice-cream is a regular treat). And anyone who has travelled through Indonesia will have heard of “Es Alpokat” or Avocado smoothie. I must admit I’ve never been game to sample this treat…but that day may soon come.

Other interesting bits of avocado trivia I unearthed:
•100g of avocado contains 10mg of vitamin C which is 42% of your RDI (source: http://www.avocado.org.au/nutrition/nutritional_information.aspx)
• Need a moisturiser? You can rub the inside of an avocado peel on your face (source: http://www.avocado.org.au/recipes/beauty_recipes.aspx)
• The seeds, skin of the fruit, leaves and bark of the avocado tree are poisonous to cattle, horses, goats, rabbits and other animals. (source: http://wonderwise.unl.edu/14africa/a-plant.htm)

And the best way to peel and deseed an avocado? I was going to do a step-by-step guide but found that this site had already got it covered.

My favourite way to eat avocado?

On toast, with a squeeze of lemon juice, with freshly ground pepper and a sprinkling of salt.

avocado on toast

Not fancy enough? Add some tomato

avocado on toast with tomato
Still not fancy enough? Add some parmesan cheese shavings. A healthy meal in a flash!

avocado on toast with tomato and cheese
What about you my fellow food loving friends? Do you have a special way to enjoy avos? Let me in on it!

(And do come back next week for the letter B. I’m having fun! But be forewarned that there will definitely be cheating involved when I get to the tricky letters (here’s looking at you Q, X, Y and Z)…if you know of any interesting edible things beginning with tricky letters, do share please?:))


Hungry Dog said...

Avocados on toast, delicious! My favorite though is guacamole--just simply made with salt and lemon. Love the A to Z idea!

cassidini said...

I recently bought an avocado to be one of my baby boy's first foods. He didn't care for it too much; but we'll try reintroducing it later. We found you on foodgawker.com while looking for something to do with the uneaten avocado half. Thank you for the inspiration.

shaz said...

Thanks Hungry Dog - I love guacamole too, especially with corn chips ..mmmmm

Hi Cassidini - thank you for visiting and taking time to leave a comment. I remember when my girls were younger, the avocado was a very handy portable food, I would carry half an avo and a spoon in a container. But they got tired of it after awhile! :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe you know I had no idea about the name (haha!) and that it was classed as a berry!

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

Oh I am going to like this feature! Avocado fun facts before breakfast = a great way to start my day!!!

That looks like the perfect lunch. I am going to have to pick up a few on my way home from work.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great post! I love avocados!



Grace said...

of all the ingredients that begin with a, avocado is tops. great pick, and great trivia! now i really wish i had some of the buttery, creamy, cool goodness to devour for lunch. :)

shaz said...

Thanks everyone!

shez said...

Great idea Shaz! (I keep accidentally typing my name instead of yours!) I'd love to see a quinoa in there somewhere ;)