You might have already noticed that avocado trees in Casa de Campo are filling up quickly with fruit (yes; avocados are fruit, although by their color some may argue they’re a vegetable!). Though not sweet, avocados fall under the general definition of fruit: “the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seeds and can be eaten as food.” Healthy by design, avocados are one of the only fruits that provide a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and are a naturally nutrient-dense food, containing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals!
In some cool facts, we learned that the Dominican Republic has around 21,934 hectares of avocado production… the country grows 19 different varieties! For example, Hass avocado (occurring all year) and Popenoe (harvested from May to July). The main export variety is Semil 34 (harvested from October to February) and accounts for 64% of the country’s production. Here, there are 14 provinces and municipalities where avocados are produced: Elias Piña, Moca, Altamira, San Cristóbal, San José de Ocoa, Mao, Montecristi, Dajabón, Barahona, San Juan, La Romana, El Seibo, Baní, and Duvergé. Our main export destinations include the USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, France, and Germany.
In past articles, Casa de Campo Living provides 10 creative ways to use avocados and 10 out-of-the-ordinary uses for avocados, while today our curiosity was peaked for their health benefits. Here’s some background info on avocados you may not know and why you should continue eating them!
Avocados are Incredibly Nutritious
Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients; everything from Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium (interesting side note: avocados offer more potassium than bananas!), Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, as well as small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, B1, B2, and B3! Plus, they’re very low in carbs.
Healthy for your skin, eyes, hair and heart!
Since this fruit is packed with nutrients, they are also beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair, eyes, and even heart. Avocados contain Lutein, a type of carotenoid that protects the eyes and preserves youthful looking skin and hair. Who doesn’t want more of that?! Since they are an excellent source of monounsaturated oleic acid, which help reduce cholesterol levels, they aid in your heart’s health. Many people use avocados to prepare skin and hair masks in combination with other super foods. We’re big fans of deep conditioning hair by mashing together 1 avocado, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon olive oil, and ½ teaspoon coconut oil. Apply the mixture to dry hair, massaging into the scalp, and concentrating on the ends. Allow it to set for about 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water!
Want avocados to ripen more quickly… Try this tip:
This totally surprised us— bananas as well as apples release ethylene gas, a naturally-occurring plant hormone. If you store your unripened avocados in a brown bag with an apple or a banana, the gases trapped in the bag will help those green guys ripen more speedily, according to The Haas Avocado Board.
Do you know how to pick and buy good avocados?
Avocados normally ripen after they are harvested, which is how we normally buy them in the supermarket. In the Dominican Republic, we can also find them sold outside, at local fruit markets, and even while stopped at a traffic light! But how do you know when they’re ready to be eaten and if you should buy them? Color might not be a good indicator since there are different types of avocados; the majority that are grown here keep their green skin for a while, while the Hass avocado turns brown to indicate its maturity. From an early age, I’ve been taught to check them by shaking them to hear if the seed has loosened and squeeze the top and bottom slightly— if you feel that they’re soft then you’re good to go!!
Enjoy using this miracle fruit; tasty and overall healthy, it’s a no-brainer to add more to your shopping lists!