Spring is avocado season and although you may not have regarded the green fruit as a precursor to an afternoon delight, now is the perfect time to test out its reputed powers.
I remember my first avocado. One summer my parents took us to Lake Tahoe. One day at lunch, the braid and Birkenstock-wearing waitress/prep cook at the chalet-like burger joint smeared my turkey burger with a delicious green mash. No, it did not send my 11-year-old self into a state of lust but it certainly caused me to fall a little bit more in love with food (and with California - we didn't have things like this in Western Pennsylvania). It wasn't until I was an adult and had unlimited access to the soft, green fruit of gentler climates that I learned of avocados' sensual rep.
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We believe it was the Aztecs who first deemed avocados an aphrodisiac. In fact, the Aztecs called avocado trees ahuacuatl, (testicle trees)! The love for avocados has carried on in Latin cultures throughout the centuries and the popularity of the fruit among Latin lovers continues today. In fact, the Mexican avocado board recently held an "avodisiac" video contest. You can view the results at http://www.avocadosfrommexico.com/ - if you dare! (Actually, although the concept sounds like a new genre of porn waiting to happen, the resulting videos are quite tame.)
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The Aztecs may not have known it but modern science has given us insight into the fruit's reputation. We now know that avocados deliver a punch of nutrients essential to sexual health, including beta carotene, magnesium and vitamin E, (which is sometimes called the "sex vitamin"). An avocado also delivers more potassium than a raw banana. It even offers 2.4 grams of protein for every 1/2 cup of fruit, an essential ingredient for successful bedroom ballroom.
Avocados don't ripen until picked. When selecting an avocado at the store, feel for heavy fruits with unbroken skin. Allow the fruit to ripen at room temperature and then store ripe fruit in the refrigerator.
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I like to eat my avocados in the raw. (Not because I'm into nudity of every kind but because the flesh of an avocado contains tannins, which become more pronounced during cooking - ick!)
The trendy way to serve an avocado is in a dessert, used as a fatty base for dairy-free ice cream or mousse, folded into cakes for added moisture, etc. You can definitely go that route but I like to serve my avocados in a more traditional guise as a topping for salads, in guacamole or chopped up and added as a garnish to tangy soups.
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