Foodie news: The essential aaaaaaaaah-vocado | SierraSun.com

Foodie news: The essential aaaaaaaaah-vocado

Chef Heather Hunsaker
Special to the Sun

FoodontheTable.comSpice up the grill with a turkey avocado burger.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Often given such descriptions as the worldand#8217;s healthiest food, the perfect food, and essential to oneand#8217;s diet; avocados are haled as an almighty super fruit.–

Avocados, also known as Alligator pear for their leather-like appearance, are a fruit from the Persea Americana tree. There are approximately seven varieties of avocados grown for consumption; with the Hass variety being the most popular, due to its year-round availability, excellent shelf life and rich, creamy flavor.

Often given a bad rap for their high fat content, avocados are actually full of the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat shown to help reduce cholesterol. Avocados are low in calories and high in Vitamins C, E, K, B6, magnesium, folate, and potassium. Studies have shown that eating this nutrient dense food, can help prevent cancer and heart disease, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote healthy skin.

When selecting avocados for immediate consumption, gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. A ripe, ready to eat avocado will be firm but slightly soft, with no dark spots or cracks; and can be refrigerated for two to three days. A firm, unripened avocado should be stored at room temperature for several days. To freeze avocados, puree the flesh with 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice and store in air tight packaging for 3 to 6 months.

Since the avocado begins to turn brown when exposed to air it is important to work quickly when handling avocados. To prepare an avocado, use a sharp knife and cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Gently twist the two avocado halves in opposite directions and pull apart. Remove the pit by piercing it with the tip of a knife, then using a spoon scoop out the tender flesh and serve.

The benefits of avocados make them the perfect addition to sandwiches, salads, or soups. They can be smashed into guacamole, spun into ice cream or even transformed into a face mask.

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When youand#8217;and#8217;re meal planning this week, try adding a little avocado to the mix with these Turkey Guacamole Burgers. They are the perfect meal to enjoy during the last few days of warm grilling weather, but also can be prepared in the dead of winter with an indoor grill pan.

Turkey Guacamole Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves four

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

1 egg

1 tablespoon beef fajita seasoning

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

4 hamburger buns, for serving

Toppings:

Guacamole (recipe below)

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Preheat grill pan for medium high heat.

Combine the first seven burger ingredients in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly together. Form meat mixture into four patties.

Place prepared burgers on grill pan and cook 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve burger patties on buns topped with guacamole, lettuce, and tomato.

Classic Guacamole

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Makes approximately 2 cups

2 large ripe avocados

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1/3 cup diced onion

1 Roma tomato, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon water

1/2 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Cut the avocados in half. Twist the halves in opposite directions and pull apart. Remove the pits and then scoop out the avocado flesh into a medium bowl. Mash the avocado with a large fork. Stir in the remaining ingredients. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap pressing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate.

and#8211; Chef Heather attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was nine years old in her motherand#8217;s kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site http://www.foodonthetable.com.