By Joanna Mannington
It is avocado season on the Coromandel. Road side stalls have had a spring clean and are back in action along the coastal road from Tairua to Whitianga, stocked with fruit from the orchards concentrated largely in Whenuakite.
It is fabulous to have access to this fresher, less handled, less travelled local resource. The fruit can ripen gently on your kitchen bench at room temperature and then be held at peak ripeness in the fridge until you are ready to use it in a huge variety of ways. Or you can hold the green fruit in the fridge and take a few out at a time to ripen as needed.
Avocado to You, provides online ordering or a subscription service where a box of aprox 22 avocados will be sent to you for $22 + postage. A 14 kg box can be ordered for $75. These would make fabulous Christmas presents for family and friends outside of our growing area. Partner them with a bag of Opito Bay Salt for a complimentary Coromandel experience.
The best, totally local dish, that should be seen on all South Mercury Café menus would be smashed avocado on a piece of one of The Bread Mobiles beautiful sourdoughs, topped with a squeeze of local lime and a sprinkling of the multi award winning Opito Bay Salt. Smoked chilli or black garlic work well but my favourite is the Japanese style furiyake, with its umami notes of kelp and bonito, toastie sesame seeds, chilli and salt hit.
Other winning combinations:
· Avocado pair beautifully with salmon/asparagus/egg/seafood.
· Smoothies and smoothie bowls – add a chunk to smoothies to make them animal free creamy. Avocado, fresh pineapple, 1T coconut cream and some greens from the garden make a long lasting, fresh start to the day.
· Smash – flavour with wasabi, citrus and salts and top with seeds for a superfood start on your toast
· Dips/spreads – combine with chickpeas or other pulses for a creamier, greener dip or spread.
· Salad and pizza toppings – top with chunks and fresh greens for a pop of colour and nutrition to a cooked pizza or textural contrast in salads.
· Mexican food features guacamole and chunks of avocado served alongside corn chips, tacos, burritos, beans
· Avocado boats fill the empty stone cavity on halved avocado, with chilli beans, seafood salad or baked eggs and toast soldiers
· Avocado oil makes a vibrant nutrient packed dressing or drizzle for salads and appetisers.
· Desserts – because of the high fat content of avocados – also called butter fruit, they are suitable for baking and make a good alternative for animal fats.
· Pastry made from equal parts flour and avocado work well. Swapping out some of the flour for cocoa makes the pastry look more appetising by disguising the green colour.
· Ice cream, cheesecake, mousse and brownies use the avocados high fat content to make creamy vegan versions and will bind bliss balls of dried fruit and chocolate.
For specific recipes I recommend New Zealand Avocado or Avocado to You websites.
Beware though, that too much of a good thing will become an unhealthy thing. Avocados have a lot of calories. The recommended serving size is smaller than you’d expect at 1/3 of an avocado or 50 gm. Each portion packs a powerhouse of superfood benefits.
1. Nutrient dense. They are packed with 19 nutrients essential for health.
2. Good for the heart. They are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, are cholesterol-free and have naturally low levels of sugar and sodium.
3. A good source of fiber, which helps you feel full longer. They’re especially high in insoluble fiber, which is the kind that helps move waste through your body. Fiber keeps you regular and can prevent constipation.
4. Packed with antioxidants Vitamins C and E for normal immune, brain and nervous function. Avocados have a strong antioxidant capacity to help prevent the healthy fats in avocados going rancid too quickly. The antioxidants in avocados include vitamins C and E which are well understood to contribute to the reduction of tiredness, normal immune, brain and nervous system function, and give protection from free radical damage and more. Avocados also contain other natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called phenolics.
5. Great for eye health. The antioxidants in avocados include vitamins C and E which are well understood to contribute to the reduction of tiredness, normal immune, brain and nervous system function, and give protection from free radical damage and more. Avocados also contain other natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called phenolics.
6. Fight fatigue. Avocados are a good source of vitamin B6 and folate and are a source of niacin and vitamin C, all of which help to fight tiredness and fatigue.
7. Full of folate essential during pregnancy and for mums-to-be. Evidence indicates that avocados may be a unique nutritional food for pregnant and lactating women as they are a good source of folate and contain fibre, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants.
8. Perfect for babies first food – what is good for mum is good for baby. Avocado’s smooth, creamy consistency, neutral flavour and excellent nutritional content makes it perfect.
9. Support weight and type 2 diabetes management. Many studies show the benefits of regular avocado consumption on weight and Type 2 Diabetes including a lower likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome, weight loss including shedding extra kilos around the waist, and better appetite and blood glucose control.
On a final note, the Maori kupu for avocado is Rahopuru
Puru is a bull and raho are testicles! Originating from the Aztec word, it is believed that the reference is due to the shape of an avocado or the fact that it was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities.
Bryce Matuschka avocado stall in Hahei.