Lately, there has been a lot of fuss about Avocados. Social media pages are filled with images of flawless slices of the fruit and heartfelt sentiments of how wonderful it is to come across one that is well ripened, spotless on the inside and tantalizing on the taste buds. The entire hullabaloo is almost hilarious until I remember that I am also one of the hopelessly smitten.
This fruity love affair is not only a local phenomenon but is also breaking hearts across borders. In New Zealand for instance, the demand for Avocado is so high that a shortage due to poor harvests in the last season, has fuelled a crime wave. Local farms are being continuously robbed of this precious fruit by blanket wielding thieves deep in the night. The stolen crops are then sold in the local black market to unsuspecting buyers who are most likely hooked Avocado addicts as well. Owners of these Avocado Orchards are now investing in high tech security systems and technology to improve yields of this precious crop so as to meet inexplicably soaring demand.
History has it that the Avocado originated in Central America. Among the ancient Aztec society, it was considered as an aphrodisiac, perhaps due to its shape similar to male testicles. No wonder the popularity.
However, unlike other well-established aphrodisiacs such as Oysters and Dark Chocolate, there isn’t quite any research to classify the Avocado as an Aphrodisiac. Nonetheless, Food and Nutrition experts believe that Avocados maintain youthful vigour and vitality due to their high content in Potassium, Vitamin A and E, and this definitely contributes to keeping the spark alive.
In Kenya, Avocados thrive all year round due to the equatorial climate, although peak seasons, especially for those perfect varieties we adore (better known as Fuerte) are between May and September. The mama mbogas call them ‘zile za export’ because the Fuerte and Hass varieties are often packaged for export although they are still sold massively in the local market. Aren’t we lucky!
Well, despite the chilly and dull weather, we can dig into some wonderful Avocado and feel the cheery warmth oozing from its utter sweetness. Here are some ways of consuming the amazing Avocado;
- Foodie fun: Experiment with different avocado recipes, some of my favourites include; mixing in some Avocado slices with Kachumbari or other salads, mash it up into sandwich spread or a guacamole dip, or blend into a healthy smoothie. I like to add some Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to keep the avocado from changing colour and black pepper to enhance its flavour.
- Beauty: Cold pressed Avocado oil can also be used for chemical free skin care to moisturise and hydrate.
- Hair: Natural hair lovers can use homemade Avocado paste or pressed oil as a conditioner and treatment for healthy, soft and shiny manes.
- Cooking: Extra virgin Avocado oil doesn’t burn fast or have a bad smell when used for cooking. Thus it’s great for preparing various dishes like frying vegetables, sautéing fish and as a salad dressing.
Health and fitness: Avocado oil has a high content of oleic acid which can help one lose weight when combined with exercise and healthy diet, it’s great for the heart owing to its low cholesterol content, has anti-inflammatory agents and Chlorophyll which helps detox the body.
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