Yes, July 31st is National Avocado Day, and it’s another one of those unusual holidays.

Who would have thought that when David Fairchild, a 20th century adventurer and U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist, introduced the creamy rich fruit to the U.S. how it would improve so many people’s lives? It is truly another one of God’s gifts that we can all enjoy in so many ways.

Avocados have been with us for a long time, dating back to 8,000 BC in middle Mexico, where evidence of gathering and eating avocados was found. It is also believed the Inca and Mayans cultivated avocado trees.

So, what’ so wonderful about avocados? Well someone must like them, because 53.5 million pounds are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s a lot of guacamole!

But there is so much more about avocados than just guacamole. They contain the most protein and fiber of any fruit. They are full of potassium, which helps to keep your blood pressure lower. Avocados also have oleic acid that helps reduce inflammation, and lots of fiber and antioxidants.

Here is the biggie – fresh avocados have been thought to have some ancient anti-aging secrets. The creamy flesh as well as the mineral-packed pit of the avocado can be used to condition your hair, moisturize your skin and treat your wrinkles. OK, OK, enough about health and cosmetology. Let’s talk FOOD! Try some of these great tasking recipes. Enjoy.

Simple Great Dressing

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Blend all ingredients well.

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

2 large avocados - peeled, pitted, and cubed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup canned coconut milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 peeled banana

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend all ingredients until smooth then refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

One of My Favorites

1 avocado peeled and pitted and sliced ¼ inch

1 whole medium tomato sliced ¼ inch

1/2 pound buffalo mozzarella cheese sliced ¼ inch

Layer all ingredients out on a plate in the order of tomato, avocado, cheese; tomato, avocado, cheese.

Sprinkle with lemon juice, leaf oregano and extra virgin olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper.

Great as an appetizer or salad.

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or magoulc@daytonastate.edu.

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