I love slicing into a fresh and perfectly ripened avocado. My favorite variety has bumpy dark green skin and lets me know it is ready when it turns a shade of almost black. Inside the signature green-toned flesh near the skin of the fruit turns to a festive shade of bright yellow-green closer to the large slippery brown seed held in the avocado’s center.
I first discovered avocados when I wanted to learn to grow one as a houseplant at the age of seven. I had read in a magazine that this could be done in a glass of water and as a junior scientist I had to give it a try. My mother agreed and took me to the store to search for the perfect subject for my experiment. With advice from the fruit-seller, we chose a ripe and exquisite specimen.
I followed the directions carefully opening the pear-shaped piece of produce so as to not damage the gift of its seed inside. After gently piercing three toothpicks placed strategically in tripod fashion into the seed, I submerged the bulbous form halfway into its new watery home. In the weeks and months to come I was amazed watching it grow into a luscious plant.
Not wanting to be wasteful the day of the experiment, my mother and I decided to be adventurous and tried the buttery flesh of the delightful fruit.
My mother had not grown up with an expanded pallet for various cuisines. It was not until I came along that she began to dive in deeply to Gourmet Magazine and taste outside of her comfort zone. This was a monumentous turning-point. We began trying avocados at restaurants — discovering new ways to enjoy them. We both agreed that smeared on toasted rustic bread along with a perfect slice of tomato was a delicious way to eat avocados.
Later as a young adult, I discovered dishes south of the border and my new favorite application of the avocado became guacamole. The best I experienced was crafted table side and instantly devoured with crisp, warm, tortilla chips. When I created this at home, I was always frustrated that I could not keep any in reserve in the fridge. In just one night my gorgeous green guacamole would begin to turn a slimy brown and loose its pizzazz.
Years zoomed by and a chef named Miguel from México came into my life. We were invited to a potluck party and he decided we would make a huge bowl of his famous guacamole. I had enjoyed this many times and always polished it off immediately. I salivated as we shopped for the perfect ingredients and was sad to see that the only avocados available were very hard and bright green.
“No problem,” he said, responding to my disappointed expression as he began filling our basket with a dozen of the green fruits.
“The party is in three days Miguel, these are going to take a week to ripen,” I moaned.
His glare told me I was heinously wrong. I wondered what this kitchen wizard had up his sleeve and followed him dutifully to the tomato display. Trusting his skill and know-how I began scheming how I could hijack a large quantity of the guacamole once we arrived to our friend’s house for the soiree.
When we returned home, Miguel placed the avocados and the tomatoes into a large brown paper shopping bag and folded the opening tightly shut. He instructed me to leave it alone and not to peak in. Reluctantly I agreed.
Two days later to my surprise, Miguel opened the bag and pulled out a perfectly ripe avocado. My culinary companion then announced we would now begin to prepare the guacamole.
“That’s impossible. The party is tomorrow!” I burst out, “It will turn all brown and icky.”
His lips curled into a smirk and he retorted matter-of-factly, “No it won’t!”
I knew this guy was a magician in the kitchen but what he shared with me that day continues to mystify me. He had asked me to help him cut and prep the avocados. Dutifully, I set to work slicing the first one I grabbed from the pile and twisted it open. I then scooped the flesh out of the first half and placed it into the large mixing bowl on the counter. Next, I removed the seed by determinedly tapping the blade of my knife into it and gently twisting to release it, as I had seen Miguel do many times. I was about to chuck the seed into the trash when he reached out and grabbed my wrist to stop me.
“Don’t!” he cried out.
“What?” I puzzled.
Miguel snatched the seed from my hand and admired it like a precious gemstone. Wagging it in front of my nose he schooled me and said smugly, “The seeds will keep the avocados happy!” He then proceeded to squish the shiny seed into the clean flesh of the first avocados that we had placed into the giant bowl.
“Really?” I questioned.
“Sí,” he responded like a professor and the chemist that he had been before taking up cooking.
Each time I cut into an avocado, I can hear Miguel’s voice in my memory, reminding me to keep the avocados happy with their seeds. Over the years I have been amazed at how long my guacamole can last in the fridge using this trick, though I usually gobble it up rather quickly.
My favorite way to enjoy an avocado is closer to naked. I slice it open, squeeze the juice of a lime into the concavities left by the sacred seed, and then coat the surface with a generous dusting of sea salt and a little chopped cilantro.
It wasn’t until two days ago that I discovered my most recent trick for the silken seed of this delicious fruit.
Over the last few years I have begun to create green smoothies from scratch. These help to keep a beneficial level of alkalinity in the body for gut health and digestion. The basic recipe for my Alkagizer smoothie is to place the following washed and loosely chopped organic ingredients into my Vitamix® blender:
A huge handful of spinach
Two large stalks of celery
One large cucumber
The flesh of a ripe avocado
32 oz of pure Coconut water
Juice of a Lemon
I then cover and wiz the ingredients on high for a minute until everything is smooth and enjoy it. This is great when I am serving a friend half of this amount, but it is a lot for one person to consume. Sometimes I cut this recipe in half and store half of the used avocado with its seed in place to become a part of the next day’s drink. This keeps the leftover half of the avocado nice and fresh. You can of course add herbs, sprouts, or any other green vegetable to the mix. I urge you to be creative.
Occasionally I create a large batch of this smoothie later in the day and get away with stashing half in the fridge for the next morning. This never seems to taste as good as the fresh batch but sometimes you just need to have some pre-prepped food on hand.
A couple of days ago I had an idea and thought, what if I plop an avocado seed into the smoothie and see what happens?
I made a large batch and placed the avocado seed into the quart jar along with half of the batch of smoothie. The next day when I peaked in the fridge — to my surprise — my leftover smoothie looked bright green and delicious! When I tasted it, I was delighted to find it perfect and fresh!
I shared the idea with a few green smoothie loving friends this morning and they were so grateful that I felt I had to share it with you. Enjoy saving yourself some time and keeping your avocado dishes and drinks as happy and healthy as possible!