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The Truth about Avocados

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What’s this Vegetable’s… Err Fruits Deal?

The Truth about Avocados

Let’s get this sorted out once and for all, shall we? Avocado is a FRUIT! Yes, ladies and gentlemen… that green smooth texture that you dip your nachos in, apply on toast in the morning and evening and basically try to cram everywhere you want. Let me remind you of the Tortilla Chip Sombrero that Guru’s daughter wore in Despicable Me 2, which was filled with “guacamole”… because I would love to have one just like that.

It’s very hard to distinguish between fruits and vegetables since there are several other debatable items such as a tomato. Let’s get back to avocado – it may come as a surprise but people all over the world eat avocados in different ways. Avocado’s creamy and soft flesh is what makes it such a popular ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes.

In some countries, it’s a necessary food staple, whereas in other countries, it is only used in exotic dishes. Some common dishes include soups, salads and sandwiches. You might have just tasted guacamole in these three food items but there are several other dishes that you need to try. Here’s a brief overview of how people eat avocados in different countries:

  • Avocados in Ethiopia

    Avocado in ethiopia

    Ethiopian Spri

In Ethiopia, you will find avocado purée layered in a fruity drink called “Spri”. A glass of Spri usually contains layers of mango, papaya and avocado purée. It is easily made at home and is available in different flavors in most of the restaurants.

  • Avocados in Brazil

Brazil uses avocado in both sweet and savory dishes. As a sweet, avocado purée is popular due to a dish called “Creme de Abacate”. It’s a thick desert that has a smooth and rich texture.

Avocado purée

Avocado purée

  • Avocados in Mexico

In Mexico, avocado purée is used as a condiment alongside chilies. It is used to garnish tacos, tortilla soup, panuchos and flautas.

  • Avocados in the Philippines

Sweet, sweet ice cream is what Philippines make of avocado. It is a popular flavor alongside vanilla and chocolate.

  • Avocados in Colombia

    Colombian avocado soup

    Avocado soup

Columbia’s avocado specialties are warm dishes and one of their most popular is “Crema de Aguacate” (avocado soup).

  • Avocados in Indonesia

In Indonesia, avocado is used as a sweet for smoothies. They call it “Jus Alpukat”, which is a creamy shake topped with chocolate sauce. 

  • Avocados in Peru

    Tequeños

    Tequeños

The Peruvians use avocado as mayonnaise. Avocado is mashed and served with “Tequeños”, which are fired cheese sticks.

  • Avocados in Haiti

Haitians eat avocado at breakfast. They make a thick sauce, which they spread on “Cassava Bread”.

  • Avocados in Australia and New Zealand

In both these countries, avocado is used in sweet and savory dishes such as salads, ice cream, sandwiches, etc.

Super food insight ; Flax seeds

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Flax seed should be considered as a Superfood for health and nutrition.

Flax seeds are a healthy substitute for eggs in any recipe and can also replace all of the fat called for in a recipe due to its high oil content. The substitution for fat is that each 1/3 cup (75 mL) of oil or butter is replaced by 1 cup (250 mL) of ground flax seed. The basic substitution is a 3:1 ratio.

When using ground flax seed in place of other fats, baked goods are usually denser and brown quicker. Similarly, a flax seed mixture can also be used as an egg substitute for baking and in pancakes.

Every egg called for can be replaced with 1 teaspoon of milled flaxseed and 3 tablespoon of water.
The milled flaxseed and water must be mixed in a small bowl and allowed to sit for 1 to 2 minutes before adding to the recipe.

Using Flax seeds as a substitute will, most likely, yield a slightly gummier and chewier baked good. It may also show a slight decrease in volume. While whole and ground flaxseed have the same nutritional content our bodies receive more benefits from the ground flaxseed. The reason for that is that flaxseed is wrapped up in a hard, shiny seed coat that is difficult to break, even with careful chewing. Grinding or roasting the flaxseeds will break the hard shell, which makes all the nutrients much easier to digest.

Flax seeds can be easily ground at home in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender.  It is best to store them in the freezer, if possible, or an airtight container, as the oils and nutrients are highly perishable if not stored correctly. They are a great way to boost the nutritional content of any food. Flax seeds are considered one of the top sources for Omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to heart and cardiovascular health. They also provide antioxidants, vitamin B1, manganese, dietary fiber, and a host of other nutrients.

Ground or roasted Flax seeds can also be sprinkled on cereal, or salads for extra nutritional benefits and to add a slightly nutty taste. They are well worth the effort if you are trying to include a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and increase the health benefits of any recipe.

The Benefits of Using Avocado Oil in Cooking

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This edible oil makes an excellent cooking oil because of its high smoke point (up to 520 degrees F, 270 C, in fact). Avocado oil is pressed from the fleshy pulp around the avocado pit.

It is high in vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, and most of the fatty acids in this oil are monounsaturated oleic acid, the same omega-9 essential fatty acid found in olive oil which is believed to speed wound healing and cell regeneration, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, help with autoimmune diseases, and reduce inflammation in the body.

The vitamins, minerals and monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado oil help the digestive tract to process food efficiently, which is why some people like to cook with it to help prevent gas, bloating or heartburn. Oleic acid is resistant to oxidation so this type of oil can be stored for long periods of time without turning rancid.

Both unrefined and refined avocado oil can be used in baking, deep-frying, stir-frying, barbecuing, roasting, sautéing, searing, and almost any cooking method you can think of. It doesn’t break down when you are cooking at high temperatures, so it won’t lose its health benefits when heated, like some other oils do.

While olive oil offers a pungent, slightly bitter flavor that puts some people off, switching to avocado oil means you can enjoy a mild aroma, rich flavor and creamy texture. Avocado oil can be described as slightly nutty and buttery. It doesn’t taste like avocados but offers a light, smooth flavor.

It is perfect for pairing with mixed grilled vegetables. You can also use it in cooking marinades because it is fine when heated. Avocado oil is the healthiest oil you can choose for high heat cooking, and this versatile oil is also perfect for drizzling over salads.

The magical world of Mushrooms

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There are many mysteries surrounding the world of mushrooms, we eat them and love it, we integrate them in our kitchen but really we do not know a lot about them. One common mistake in our perception is that mushrooms are vegetables.

Mushrooms are not vegetables; they belong to a different and exciting world. Mushrooms are considered as eukaryotic organisms and by less complicated words –they are actually living organisms. Most mushrooms are multi-cellular organisms but there are also mushrooms that consist of only one cell, such as yeast. The mushrooms world is very diverse, and there are evidences of the existence of a hundred thousand species of mushrooms, that can be found in water, air and soil. The range of mushrooms is so large that there is even a separate area in biology dedicated to studying mushrooms called mycology.

Another mistake commonly made about mushrooms, is that they do not contain any nutritional value. This is a huge mistake because the mushroom is one of the healthiest foods we can use in our kitchen. In all kinds of mushrooms we can find capabilities for its healing diseases and various physical conditions. All mushrooms are fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium and loaded with antibody-oxidants, vitamins, iron, zinc, minerals and all the best.

We all know the Portobello mushroom champignon, and like all other mushrooms they are also loaded with nutritional values and great taste. But you should also know a few other kinds of mushrooms that taste great and your body will be glad to know.

Mai-Taki mushroom

The Mai -Taki Mushroom comes from the East, where thousands of years ago the Japanese were unable to appreciate the virtues and the special taste. This mushroom is known for its ability to restore energy and vitality to the body and therefore called “dancing mushroom”. The Mai-Taki mushroom is known for its ability to prevent the development of cancer cells, maintaining the immune system and maintaining a balanced blood sugar. May-Taki mushroom can be used in sauces for pasta, soups, stews, and more.

Porcini mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms come from Italy, especially from Central Italy, Florence and its surroundings. Porcini mushroom has a strong and intense taste called umami. This mushroom usually comes to us dried form, but soaking them for  about 20 minutes in boiling water they return to its fleshy form. Combine porcini mushrooms in a variety of foods, steaming mushroom soup, pizza, meat dishes, sautéed mushrooms with garlic and herb bruschetta and more. Each dish will taste unique and addictive and enrich in antioxidants, antibodies against tumor cells, anti-inflammatory substances, zinc and B vitamins, especially B9 (folic acid).

Wonderful pomegranate

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When the pomegranate tree introduced its fruits to the world, somewhere in ancient Iran, it was immediately crowned as the king of fruits. With a Crown on its head, red color, and of course the unique shape and amazing sour sweet taste, there’s no room for doubts about the greatness of the pomegranate. In ancient times the pomegranate became a symbol of fertility and beauty in many cultures, in Judaism the number of grains represent the number of mitzvot that a person should do, and therefore is an important symbol of the Jewish holidays. Following the symbolism and its multiple meanings, it is used to adorn buildings, clothing, coins, ritual objects, and more. Since ancient times the pomegranate was used as a source of medicinal properties and used it to prevent diseases. Nowadays many studies show that pomegranate has multiple health benefits, as its number of grains.

The pomegranate was found 4000 years ago in the mountains of the Caspian Sea where it was domesticated and sent to the Mediterranean coast. The pomegranate is an integral part of the nature of the region and is used by local residents for preparing dishes, drinks and natural remedies.

One of the greatest benefits of the pomegranate fruit is its durability. The hard shell wrapped around its grains protects them from pests, weather and other damage that may impair its core. Because of its durability the pomegranate is traded in the Mediterranean area for many years. At our homes the pomegranate can be used up to half a year, plus you can peel it, separate the granules, freeze and use as needed.

Many studies conducted around the world emphasize the health benefits of this fruit. It was found that eating pomegranate or drinking half a glass of pomegranate juice on a daily basis reduces the risk of heart attacks, stroke and atherosclerosis. Pomegranate helps lower blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol and helps as an antioxidant and raising iron levels in the blood making it essential for pregnant women who suffer low hemoglobin.

The pomegranate is the king of the kitchen as well…

Due to its sour sweet taste the pomegranate blends greatly in Mediterranean cuisine. You can find it in all its glory, Persian and Turkish kitchen where he fits in with salads and many cooked dishes. Pomegranate juice can be also found on the shelves on many different products, like pomegranate wine, pomegranate syrup, grenadine and more.

You can use a pomegranate for making stews and desserts, due to its unique taste it integrates with almost any dish. You can put the seeds into white rice that giving it a festive touch. You can combine them into a salad, meat dishes and vegetables. One of my favorite recipes that incorporate this great fruit is fried eggplant with fresh pomegranate seeds and lemon sauce, hot pepper, a little sugar, soy, garlic and bazil.

This is the power of pomegranate- the ability to adapt itself to any dish, refresh and upgrade any dish. The pomegranate will turn any dish into a dish of kings.