Avocado Week featuring four varieties of SoCal Avocados  begins! Virtual Potluck  has teamed up with the terrific folks at SoCal Avocados to provide you with a bunch of recipes today. I’ve made so many yummy dishes with the fruits I received that I’ll be featuring avocado recipes all week. Visit Miss in the Kitchen  to see links to today’s recipes and keep reading for a chance to win your very own box of SoCal Avocados.
Did you know that avocados don’t ripen while they are on the tree? Picking them releases a natural gas called ethylene which begins the ripening process. When the avocados first arrived, they were a bit hard, but it didn’t taken them long to ripen. At one point, I had so many ripe avocados that we were eating them three meals a day! (The recipe below was breakfast one day.) I finally ended up freezing some of them (according to SoCal’s handy directions included in the package) – just let them ripen, take out the pits and mash them in a freezer bag with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
SoCal Avocados shipped me 12 avocados which included the varieties listed below.
Photos courtesy of SoCal Avocados
- Bacon – a large avocado with a yellowish color and thin, smooth green skin. The flavor is slightly sweet and milder than some of the others. I used Bacon mashed up and mixed with pineapple as a topping for chicken tacos (recipe will be posted soon).
- Fuerte – similar in appearance to Bacon, but much smaller. These ripened the quickest and I used them first. Fuertes are very creamy and the flesh is pale green. The flavor was richer than the bacon and a little bit spicy. I used my Fuertes in salads and to top a spicy tortilla soup with shrimp (recipes will be posted soon).
- Hass – a medium sized avocado with thick, rough skin. When the Hass avocados arrived, they were green, but they turned a purplish black color when ripe. This avocado was my favorite; it was buttery, creamy and nutty. I used Hass in the Avocado Toasties with Kiwifruit Salsa and Bacon recipe below and I also used it in an amazing avocado cheesecake recipe that I will share later this week.
- Pinkerton – a large avocado that looks like a dark green pear with nubby skin. Its flesh is a creamy pale green color. Pinkerton is great in guacamole and avocado-based dips.
If you’re on the East Coast like I am, you may be hesitant to purchase avocados from California over the Internet. I generally prefer to buy local from people I know as much as I can, but my options are limited. This is the next best thing to buying local – you are directly helping a small ranch in the U.S., the produce is picked and shipped the same day by really friendly people and the quality is better than anything you’ll ever find in your neighborhood grocery store. I’m seriously considering joining SoCal’s Avocado of the Month  program.
Are avocados good for you?
Yes! It’s true that avocados are high in calories and fat, but they are low in cholesterol and sodium and are an excellent source of dietary fiber, Vitamin K and Folate. They also provide a healthy dose of vitamin C. One large avocado (flesh only) contains about 322 calories and 29g of fat. However, only 4g is saturated fat, 4g is polyunsaturated fat and 20g is monounsaturated fat. In other words, it’s full of fat, but it’s good fat. One fruit contains 17g of carbohydrate, 13g of which is fiber, 975mg of potassium and 4g of protein.
Giveaway Are you ready to win a box of 12 SoCal Avocados? All you need to do is visit their website  and come back here and let me know which variety of avocado you would most like to try. I’m sure they would also appreciate it if you liked them on Facebook , followed them on Twitter  and subscribed to their email list . The contest will run through Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. The winner, to be chosen at random, will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. You must be at least 18 years of age with a U.S. mailing address to win.
And now on to the first of many avocado recipes you’ll be seeing in the next week (or two)!
Disclosure: I received 12 free avocados from SoCal Avocados. I also received an additional 12 avocados to give away on my blog.
- ½ tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 kiwifruits, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 green onion (white & green parts), finely chopped
- 4 slices turkey bacon
- ⅓ of a 14 oz ciabatta loaf, sliced in half horizontally, then cut crosswise to make 4 pieces
- 1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ tablespoon lime juice, agave and hot sauce. Stir in kiwifruit and green onions.
- Cook bacon on griddle over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble.
- Heat same griddle over medium-high heat. Grill bread pieces, cut side down, until surfaces are toasted. You’ll need to press the bread down with a spatula as it browns since it has a tendency to curl up. Remove from heat.
- Mash avocado with remaining 1 teaspoon lime juice. Season with salt & freshly ground pepper.
- Spread each piece of bread with ¼ of the avocado mixture. Top with ¼ of the kiwifruit salsa and ¼ of the bacon. Serve immediately.