September 16 is National Guacamole Day but avocados can be used as part of a healthy diet for your family throughout the year in a number of ways. There are actually entire restaurants based on building a menu around avocados such as the Avocaderia in New York City.
While I love guacamole, I also like to eat avocados in other dishes. Diced avocado can be a delicious addition to a tossed salad or an omelette. If you are cooking with the firmer Florida avocado, dicing it to add to a colorful pico de gallo is a tasty option. Oven baked or fried avocado can be served as an alternative to a potato side dish.
Avocado is a nutrient-packed fruit that boasts higher potassium content than a banana. The green fruit is also a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, and magnesium.
Avocados Around the World
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to learn about many ways to enjoy avocado from international exchange students I have hosted in my home. My Japanese exchange daughter told me about avocado ice cream and avocado Kit Kat candy bars. I haven’t had the chance to try either one yet. My Taiwanese exchange daughter Ching-Han became very excited when she saw I had purchased avocados from the grocery store. Her eyes lit up and she said “avocado milk!” Avocado milk? She had my attention. I was familiar with adding avocados to smoothies, but I had never heard of just blending avocado and milk. We made avocado milk together. It was tasty! Think of green milk instead of chocolate or strawberry milk! There are a number of variations available in Taiwan. Some include thickening ingredients and sweeteners. It is even possible to purchase avocado powder to add to milk when the fruit is not available.
Another avocado dish I have to mention is avocado mousse. I attended a lunch event one day and the dessert options included a beautiful chocolate mousse. The menu said it was a vegan mousse. Our lunch hostess asked us if we could guess the main ingredients. I tasted it. The chocolate flavor hit my tongue first. The texture was velvety and smooth. There was a faint but familiar note of fruitiness. I was convinced it was avocado. Our hostess finally shared the secret. It was definitely avocado!
Introducing Avocados to Youth Palates
In 4-H, faculty and volunteer leaders are often seeking kid-friendly recipes to help introduce more fruits and vegetables into youth diets. One way to have fun with avocado is to use a basic guacamole recipe to make avocado toast using fun shapes and colorful vegetable toppings.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy guacamole with family is to serve a guacamole bar. I like to offer all the ingredients for each person to tailor their own guacamole creation to suit their individual tastes!
Finally, one fun way to eat your avocado and keep enjoying it long after the guacamole and chips are a memory is to try to grow one from the seed!
Activity Plan for Teaching Youth About Avocados
California and Florida avocados
A clear glass
Limes or lime juice
2 medium-sized plastic bowls
fresh vegetables for dipping (red or green bell peppers, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, carrot sticks, jicama)
knife (for adult use)
small paper plates
cutting board or mat
To begin your lesson, give youth the opportunity to hold the different types of avocados. Lead a discussion about the differences between the two fruit varieties.
Next, you will cut the avocado and show youth how to peel away the skin and remove the seed. Be careful not to cut into the seed. Reserve the seed for the last part of the activity!
For my avocado lesson, I have adapted a plan from Scholastic called “Adventures with Avocados”. This plan offers a step-by-step process to lead youth through a hands-on discovery learning experience.
The Extension program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln details how to teach youth to grow an avocado from a seed in a glass jar with toothpicks. Once your seed has sprouted, you will want to plant it. UF/IFAS has resources to guide you in the process from taking your avocado from seed to tree.
In my 4-H program, I offer cooking and gardening clubs. The avocado lesson can be used in both clubs or for a joint club meeting to bring youth together.
13 Surprising Facts About Avocados
Adventures with Avocados
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Avocado Growing in the Home Landscape
Cooking with Kids
Differences Between Types of Avocados
Easy Guacamole for Kids
Healthy Baked Avocado Fries
Kid Friendly Avocado Toast
Start An Avocado from Seed