Introducing Avocados

From a quick search, it's evident that some people are still new to what avocados are, judging by the frequent Google search bar items like “Can avocado be eaten raw?” or “What does avocado taste like?”

Avocados have been called alligator pears because of their fleshy skin or butter fruit in India due to their creaminess. Flavor-wise, the profile of an avocado is extremely creamy, mildly nutty due to its oil content, and slightly refreshing, with grassy undertones.

What do avocados go with?

Literally anything. I got a book with hundreds of avocado-based recipes, including smoothies, brownies, toast, tortilla soup, ice cream, sorbets, salads, and dressings. 

We’ve got the BLT with avocado and a chickpea sandwich with avocado. There's avocado ice cream and the ever-popular avocado toast. The possibilities are endless. It's down to your creativity and the flavor combinations you create.

How are they nutritionally?

Avocados are filled with healthy fats. Many people started to see them as a better-for-you fat in replacement of butter on their morning toast. The transition to healthier diets has put this fruit on the center stage for fad diets and recent trends, but more importantly, for balanced diets.

Avocados are considered a “superfood” because of their levels of Vitamin C, K, E, and B, potassium, and healthy fats like oleic acid. Because they have pits, avocados are fruits. High in monounsaturated fat, they can help lower your cholesterol as long as you eat them in balance.

Where do avocados come from?

Well, duh, trees, of course. But that’s not the answer you're looking for. Avocados eaten in the U.S. are a combination of locally grown and imported from a variety of countries, such as Peru in the summer, Chile in the winter, the Dominican Republic, and New Zealand.

The high demand for avocado-related products and hence for avocados as a primary product has created a need for a yearly supply of avocados. Because of this, we now see more imports of Mexican avocados, peaking in the winter and spring when Californian avocados are out of season.

How do you make avocado toast?

Toast a slice of sourdough (or don’t toast it if it’s really fresh). If you’re using a grill or pan, toast the bread on each side with a little bit of olive oil until it's golden brown.

Cut a ripe Haas avocado in half, take the pit out, and use a spoon to scoop out the fruit from the skin. 

Then, (the fun part), cut the avocado horizontally into thin slices, and place them over your toasted bread. You may choose to smash it if you prefer so that you get a more rounded mix of your avocado with your seasonings. Up to you! I just like to see how the thinly cut avocado slices line up neatly on the toast. Sprinkle some sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste on top and enjoy.

That’s your basic avocado toast. It also goes great with pink radishes and goat cheese, cracked black pepper, a squeeze of lemon on top, or a poached egg on the side. You can also try cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning, topped with scrambled eggs. One of my favorite topping combinations is baby spinach leaves and hemp seeds. If you’re in the mood for something fresh, try cherry tomatoes and basil paired with your avocado toast. Smoked salmon with dill or chives also complements avocado toast well.

What's the best avocado toast base?

The best bread for your avocado toast is sourdough, but you can play around with tortilla chips, rice cakes, rye crackers, or multigrain.

Now, who was the original creator of this dish that millennials have swooned over for over the past decade? Cafe Gitane has it this way on its menu: “New York's first! Avocado Toast” with the dish description of: “Lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, toasted seven grain with an egg (fried or hard-boiled) and/or tomato."

There we have it. We spread avocado on some toast. And that’s how things spread around. In Mexico, there are tostadas with avocado, and tortilla chips with guacamole. But perhaps the American tradition comes from the British with their English breakfast consisting of “something” on toast.

What's the non-aesthetic cost of consuming avocado toast?

(Just for readers who want to hear my trade-off rant). This is not to scare you off! Before you put down that avocado toast in disgust, you might as well eat it, instead of throwing hours of human labor into the trash.

Avocados are a food product that requires fast shipment. In order to ensure that creamy and perfect flavor we consumers prefer, they must be shipped in the stage of their maturation when their oil content is at its best.

Fruit and bread have become luxuries. Australian millionaire, Tim Gurner, advised millennials to put their toast’s worth towards a house deposit instead.

This is, of course, an exaggerated standpoint. I would crunch the numbers, but thankfully Elizabeth Renter has already done it: how many avocado toasts and lattes would it take to afford a down payment on a home? It ended up being an oversimplified calculation. Let’s say a slice of avocado toast costs $12, and a latte costs $4. If you had to put a 20% down payment on a house, you would need to forgo 5,220 avocado toasts or 15,660 lattes.

Sensationalism also creates demand for avocados…no wonder the popular Super Bowl guac appetizer creates such peaks in shipment. Prices for avocado toast can range anywhere between $3 to $20 USD, depending on the country. So here's my encouragement to get inspired and make it at home. Learn to pick your own avocados, and share your creations with me!