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Thursday, October 28, 2010


Avocados are the fruit of the Persea americana tree which is native to the subtropical regions of the American continent. They are in the same botanical family as bay leaves.The name, avocado comes from the Aztec for testicle, ahuacatl, so called because of its shape and the fact that the Aztecs believed it was an aphrodisiac. It is actually a fruit with a large seed, which can be grown at home, if you persevere. You probably won’t get any avocados if you grow it indoors but it has attractive foliage and it’s fun for kids to watch it grow. You have to pierce the seed and put it over a bottle filled with water and wait for it to grow roots before potting it.
  It has been cultivated in South America and Mexico for at least 8,000 years and from there it was taken to the West Indies and the Philippines by Spanish explorers of the 16th century. They also found that the seed produces a red fluid which could be used as ink, and some manuscripts written with avocado ink are still in existence.
   It later found its way to Mauritius, Singapore, the Indian subcontinent and Hawaii. Today it is cultivated in New Zealand, Australia, parts of the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Africa. Now there are more than 500 varieties, but they all originate from the Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian fruit.
   They are sometimes called Alligator pears because the skin of the fruit is knobbly like a crocodile’s skin, and these are either dark green or a brownish colour. If you buy an unripe pear they will ripen if kept in a paper bag with a banana. If you can, gently squeeze the top of the pear before buying to see if it is ripe. It should be a little soft.
  The avocado has the highest fibre content of any fruit and is packed full of Vitamin E which may encourage fertility in humans. The fruit juice has a higher potassium content than banana juice too. Avocado oil, obtained from the tree, the fruit and the seed, can reduce cholesterol levels and the avocado pear contains 30% of the good monounsaturated fats which may lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
   Avocados contain lecithin which is necessary to combat cholesterol and can prevent arteriosclerosis. Avocado and soybean unsaponifiables are one of the current most promising arthritis remedies, although it is recommended that you take the oil in capsule form for this rather than just eat the fruit. In France these have been approved as a prescription drug and can be bought in health shops and online. However if you include avocados in your diet, you could be lowering the risk of getting arthritis in later years.
  Avocados in your diet can also help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and are thought to cure depression.
   If you pulp a fresh avocado and put it on your face for ½ hour before going to sleep, you will be helping to prevent wrinkles and smooth your skin, as the vitamins D and E stimulate the formation of collagen and saponins. If you have skin problems such as pimples or eczema you will find this a good treatment too.
  Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant, so an avocado is good for your heart.
  They are good to eat in salads with pomelo or grapefruit and other citrus fruit, although you should brush them with lemon juice as they turn brown when exposed to the air. The traditional use for them in Mexico is for guacamole sauce, which is really delicious, but below is an easy recipe, which makes a good starter.

Ingredients   serves 4
2 avocado pears, sliced in half and seeds removed
Ruby port

Pour the port into the cavities left from removing the seeds.
Serve immediately.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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