For us raw food fans, spring is the season of the year. Everything is sprouting, blooming and growing, and after the cold months it feels like a long-awaited nutritious awakening for body and soul.
To me, the avocado is the superstar of the season. Being an all-rounder ingredient in dishes from sweet to savoury, warm to cold, and entree to dessert, there is hardly any other fruit I can think of that is so diverse in its use and so friendly to pair with others.
As well as its renowned health benefits (it helps with the maintenance of a healthy heart, blood-sugar regulation, and the repair of damaged skin cells, to mention just a few) it is also an amazing activator for fat-soluble vitamins such as carotenoid antioxidants and beta carotenes.
One fact about the avocado I can always surprise my customers with is that you find the highest concentration of good nutrients on the inside of the peel. This is why I always suggest that first you should scrape them out as best as you can, and, secondly, use the avocado peel as a face mask (literally rub the inside of the peel over your face and wash off after 10 minutes). Trust me, it’s pure heaven for your skin, and nothing goes to waste.
When it comes to avocados you should try to think outside the box; try a smoothie, dessert, gazpacho or even barbecue it. Ever tried a salad with chilli, cacao and avocado? Or maybe an avocado lime mousse?
Did you know?
The Guinness Book of Records lists the avocado as the most nutritious fruit in the world, and rightfully so. Your average avo is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, dietary fibre and healthy fats (to list a few), while naturally low in sugar and sodium.
The avocado is native to Mexico and Central America.
Western Australia predominately grows the Hass variety, with small numbers of other varieties including Reed, Fuerte, Sharwil, Lamb Hass, Llanos Hass and Bacon.
Thanks to our diverse climate, avocados are available in WA all year round. In spring, you’ll find an abundance of Hass, Lamb Hass, Reed and Sharwil grown in Perth.
Head to your local farmers markets or Canning Vale’s Market City for avocados direct from our West Australian growers.
When is it ripe?
For Hass avocados, wait for the skin to go from green to blackish. For green varieties, like Shepard and Reed, use gentle pressure on the stem: if it yields, it’s ready to eat.
Store whole, uncut avocados in the fridge for two to three days. Cut avocado should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice, or white vinegar, and placed in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Avocado and lime mousse with passionfruit and mango dressing
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 5-10 minutes
80g cacao butter, broken into small pieces
½ vanilla bean, scraped out (or 5ml of vanilla essence, or 10ml vanilla extract)
30g cold-pressed coconut oil**
3 medium-sized avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice and zest of 3 limes
Pulp from 4 passionfruits
1 mango, peeled and diced (or 110g
of frozen mango, defrosted)
1 passionfruit, cut into wedges, to serve
20g of shredded coconut, to garnish.
- Place cacao butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Leave for 5-10 minutes, or until cacao butter is completely melted. Remove bowl from heat.
- Add vanilla, xylitol and coconut oil to the bowl, and whisk until well combined.
- Place cacao mixture, avocado, lime juice and zest in a blender. Blend for 20 seconds or until the mousse is silky smooth. Do not over-blend.
- Transfer mousse into a mixing bowl and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
- To make the passionfruit and mango dressing, scrape the passionfruit pulp through a kitchen strainer, separating the pulp from the seeds.
- Combine strained passionfruit pulp and diced mango in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
- Using a spoon, spread the passionfruit and mango dressing across a plate.
- Remove mousse from the fridge.
- Take 2 tablespoons of mousse and place on top of dressing.
- Place a passionfruit wedge next to the mousse and garnish with shredded coconut.
*Xylitol is an alternative sweetener, from good health food stores, Kakulas Sister, Peaches and some IGAs. Substitute normal sugar or agave but beware: the syrup will add a brown tinge to the mousse.
**From any healthfood store. Refined coconut oil works, but isn’t as tasty or healthy as cold-pressed.