“Supercado” secrets

Avocado-2-Copy-300x223It’s a fruit shaped like an egg, with vibrant green flesh and is nicknamed the “alligator pear”. What is it?

You guessed it! The avocado, native to Mexico and Central America, is one of the most useful salad ingredients out there. Not only for its versatility in cooking, but also for the nutritional content it provides us both on the inside and out.

The “supercado” (another nickname) not only has significant fibre content, it also has more potassium than a banana. Avocados are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian and cholesterol-free and are one of the only fruits that contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (the good-for-you fat) that helps boost good (HDL) cholesterol and lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol. The antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils inside an avocado can help repair damaged hair, moisturise dry skin, treat sunburns and maybe even minimise wrinkles.

Avocados are also unique in that they will only ripen once they have been picked from the tree. Not ripe? Put in a brown paper bag for a couple of days. Add a banana or apple to speed up the ripening process.

This is the sort of information I picked up from spending a fascinating day with avocado growers in the South West region of Western Australia. I went to one orchard of 45,000 avocado trees and another where the growers were hurriedly picking their exposed avocados to prevent any getting sunburnt.

Ironically, this grower didn’t eat avocadoes and I remember him saying, ‘The dogs eat my share. The only time they ever really fight is when they find an avocado.’ We watched on as a dog aptly named ‘Pig’ noisily devoured an “alligator pear” that had fallen on the ground.

It’s not just ‘Pig’ who has a fetish for this salad ingredient. People are eating it anytime, anywhere, with any dish, in so many different ways. Hands up who enjoys eating avocado with chicken, prawns, salmon or marron. Perhaps you like avocado ice cream in summer (very popular in Brazil) and avocado soup in winter. Being an Aussie I love avocado and Vegemite on toast, as well as mango and avocado salad. Also check out the ‘Kale, carrot and avocado salad’ on the Love My Salad website.

Enjoy the freshness of flavours found in seasonal and local produce!


Read more of Louise’s Love My Salad blogs at www.lovemysalad.com/en/salad-lover/louise-fitzroy 


TODAY’S HARVEST: Peanuts Do you know where peanuts come from? From a vine, from a bush, from a tree or from the ground? Perhaps the photo below will give you a hint. Unlike other nuts that grow on trees like almonds and cashews, peanuts are legumes. The peanut plant is unusual because it flowers above ground but the peanut grows below the ground. Peanuts need full sun. If you have heavy soil, ensure good drainage by working in enough organic matter to make it loose and friable. Peanut seeds come in their shells and can be planted hulled or unhulled. If you do shell them, don’t remove the thin, pinkish brown seed coverings, or the seed won’t germinate. One inch of water a week is plenty a peanut plant. Being legumes, peanuts supply their own nitrogen, so avoid nitrogen-rich fertilisers, which encourage foliage rather than fruits. The crop is ready to harvest when leaves turn yellow and the peanuts’ inner shells have gold-marked veins, which you can check periodically by pulling out..

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