The Super Bowl Fruit

February 7, 2017 in Cooking & Baking Hints, Foodland, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

Whether you watched the Super Bowl or not you’ve probably heard some of the firsts that happened yesterday: first quarterback to win five times; first head coach to win five trophies; first time Super Bowl ever went to overtime; first team to come back by such a huge deficit and on and on. Football is just loaded with statistics so I could keep writing about football’s big game, but you probably guessed it; I decided to write about food. Yes, I believe the avocado should be named to the football hall of fame, because of its popularity at Super Bowl gatherings. Moreover, my pitch fits right in with the humorous Mexican Avocado commercial that aired during the game.

If you’ve been reading these articles for years, you know that I’ve written many articles about avocados; you may remember Far More than Guacamole that I wrote in 2015; where I explained that avocados added to a salad can help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in the salad. I hardly ever write about avocados and not mention my childhood experience of hearing “Yuck, What’s that?” while eating an avocado sandwich. Of course, hearing those words could not deter me from enjoying the wonderful flavor of avocado. In those days, many people moving to my native California had never seen an avocado. Those days are certainly gone.

I was just noticing how inexpensive the Super Bowl avocados were in the market last week. That’s a boon to our food budget; as avocados are a regular part of salads and various other recipes in our home.

There’s an absolutely wonderful article about avocados called 16 Things You Didn’t Know About Avocados by Joanna Sciarrino. She starts out by telling us that ancient peoples were eating them as long as twenty-five hundred years ago; then the Europeans discovered their “buttery appeal” in the sixteenth century; and finally the Americans grew them commercially in the 1900s. I think my favorite fact is that there are more than a thousand varieties.

Not all avocados are created equally. Once when we were in South American, we tasted ‘giant avocado.’ I don’t really know the variety, but the fruit was approximately a foot long. They would be a boon to a large Super Bowl party, except for one problem; it was very watery – not creamy and smooth.

If you read Sciarrino’s article, don’t miss number fourteen. “An average Hass avocado is about 82 percent fat, “making it one of the fattiest fruits in the world; it’s up there with olives, which have about 80 to 90 percent calories from fat.”

Since we should consume between 20 and 35 percent of our calories from fat, avocados can fit into our meals, enabling us to replace saturated fats frequently from animal protein. At our home we commonly replace other ingredients with avocado. For example, replace mayonnaise in egg salad with non-fat Greek yogurt and smashed avocado. Green egg salad, may not look traditional, but it actually tastes delicious. Avocados can be used in muffins instead of other fat. We commonly use avocado instead of salad dressing. Avocado use is only limited by your imagination. When you replace saturated fat with avocado fat, you’re moving in the right direction.

I’m surely glad that when I moved to the Mountain west that I did not have to abandon avocados; as they’ve been part of my life since my first year of life. I am grateful for the great shelf life of an unripe avocado; which means that they ship well.

There is a new addition to my pantry during this past year – avocado oil. The majority of the fatty acids in avocado oil are monounsaturated like olive oil, but the nice attribute of avocado oil is that it has a high smoke point; 480 degrees F to 520 F, depending upon the processing method. I like to mix it with oatmeal, sweetener, cinnamon and nuts to top my whole grain breakfast cakes and muffins. It’s nice to use any time I need something to cook a little hotter than my extra virgin olive oil can stand without smoking (about 400 degrees F). If I bake muffins at 425 they smoke with olive oil, but not with avocado oil.

Although we can’t eat unlimited amounts of avocado without gaining weight; avocado is an amazingly nutritious fruit. It’s pretty easy to include avocados in meal planning without gaining weigh; especially if you’re replacing a saturated fat. I nominate avocado for the MVP award of Super Bowl fruits.