It’s not often that one gets to visit an avocado ranch, and just a few weeks ago I did, along with my friends in the Inland Empire Food Bloggers! I would say that the majority of the population, at least in California, are avocado lovers. Perhaps “lover” is not a strong enough word – maybe fanatics? I’ve got to admit, that I am definitely one of them. They’re one of the perfect foods on the planet! Technically a fruit, it contains the most fat of all vegetables and fruits, and it’s fat purity is un-rivaled. The plant fat is digested very efficiently, and the combination of good fats and fibers can help control blood sugar levels and can also help curb cravings for foods that contain lots of refined sugar. Winning!
This gorgeous avocado ranch belongs to one of my good friends (and fellow blogger) Mimi Avocado and her husband “The Farmer.” A truly delightful couple, with a house to match, the ranch: absolutely enchanting in it’s multi-generational avocado tree splendor! There are newborn, two-leaf baby avocado trees on the “forest” floor that are surrounded by towering giants that are more than 20 years of age. There are toddlers and teenagers too, all happy as can be, with bees bustling from bloom to bloom.
We arrived at a time of year when the avocado trees were blossoming, and super tiny baby avocados were peeking out in their first days of seeing sunlight! What a miracle! The flowers are tiny and pale yellow, and change their sex night after night. Yes, you heard that right! One day the flower will be female, the next day, the flower will open back up as a male! This means that you don’t necessarily have to have a “male” tree AND a “female” tree to be able to make avocado babies. One tree + two sexes = efficient pollination!
Since it’s spring, you can see the new growth on the trees also. The new leaves are a gorgeous combination of young grassy green and burgundy, and shimmer in the sunlight.
When the farmer thinks it’s time for harvest, a few samples get sent off to a lab that determines the oil content of the avocado. If the avocado doesn’t hit the optimal oil levels, then you don’t get the beautiful buttery flavor and consistency that everyone loves so much. Sadly you can’t tell this by looking at or feeling the avocado.
Further, avocados don’t start to ripen until you pick them off the tree! Once picked, it can take anywhere from 4 to 7 days to ripen, and please, please don’t put them in the refrigerator if you can help it! Let your avocados ripen in room-temperature conditions. To speed up the process, you can place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple. These two fruits give off ethylene gas which is a ripening agent. Once you feel a little give when you gently squeeze, the avocado is ready for eating! If you have too many ripe avocados, only then put them in the refrigerator. It will extend their life a little bit, but try to avoid that if you can help it.
Mimi and her husband were gracious hosts, and sent us home with more avocados that we would have ever imagined! She taught us how to make avocado toast. I spread the love myself, and gave a few out to friends and neighbors.
But first, we got an avocado toast/art demonstration from the queen of avocado toast herself! Here are the steps: First, you cut the avocado in half, and then carefully peel it. You don’t want to damage the naked flesh that sits against the skin. The natural-ness (and the greenest part of the avocado flesh) is what you want!
Then you sit the avocado on your cutting board, and cut it in half so that you have two planks of avocado flesh.
Get your bread toasted – we had sourdough this day, but really any bread is delightful! Then the fun begins – get out your teeny-tiny cookie cutters, and go to town!
I did a “Halloween In The Spring” theme, complete with flowers, sun, crescent moons, bats and cats! Before you put your shapes on the toast, mash up the scraps, and spread a thin layer of the avocado mash. Then, season with your favorite seasoning. Lately, mine is truffle salt. That stuff is the crack of the food world and SO GOOD. Once you’re seasoned up, it’s time to decorate with your shapes. Arrange them as you see fit! If you don’t have cookie cutters, don’t fret. Mashed avocado on a nice piece of toast is delicious – shapes or no shapes. I also like to add a nice thick slice of room temperature heirloom tomato. It’s the perfect breakfast!
As if the avocado toast wasn’t enough to get your glands salivating for some buttery goodness, we’re also making guacamole! Guacamole is much like salsa in my house – every batch will be different according to my mood, the amount of time I can spend on it, and finally, what I want to taste! This time, I got a little fancy, and added some liquid smoke for a nice subtle smokey flavor, and truffle salt, for an added touch of exquisite elegance. The normal add-ins like onions, cilantro, tomatoes and lemon juice were added too, to increase flavor and decrease oxidation.
When the cut side of an avocado is exposed to air, it starts to oxidize immediately. An old trick I learned at T.G.I.Friday’s was to top your guacamole with tomatoes before covering with plastic wrap. The tomatoes contain enough acid to slow down the oxidation process, AND you get a nice pop of flavor to boot! Alternately, you could sprinkle lemon juice over the top before covering. Another trick is to cover the actual guacamole with the plastic wrap, allowing no air to touch the surface. All these tricks work wonders! Any way to prolong the life of the avocado, right? It’s SO GOOD!
Even if you don’t live in California, where most of the avocados in the United States are grown, you can get these very avocados delivered right to your doorstep. California Avocados Direct will ship avocados from Mimi’s Avocado Ranch right to you! You can buy a box at a time, OR you can sign up for a subscription. Isn’t that neat?! These aren’t the puny avocados from the grocery store either. These are the real deal – the size of your palm, and delicious amazingness! You’ll love them, I promise. Make this guacamole, make avocado toast, put in salads, tacos, burgers. They’re great on everything – you can’t go wrong!
- 4 Cups Cubed Avocado
- 1/2 Cup Diced Yellow Onion
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 Fresh Serrano Pepper, finely diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 Teaspoon Truffle Salt
- 4 Teaspoons (1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon) Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup Diced Tomatoes for topping
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. The diced avocado will mash as you mix – I’m a fan of chunky guacamole!
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips, as a taco topping, or on a salad.
- If you want to save some for later, put in a container, and top with diced tomatoes. Take a piece of plastic wrap, and push it onto the tomatoes, trying to get out as much air as possible to prevent oxidation. Cover with container lid.
Plant Fat Love,