Things To Do With Avocados

I don't even really like eating all that much, but I love me some avocados. I like eating them and I like smearing them on me. In, like, a socially acceptable way. On my face.

Dear Avocados,I love you. There, I said it, stated it as plain as the slices on my plate, topped with a little bit of lime juice and salt. Which is not actually all that plain, come to think of it, but neither is my exceptional affection for you.Love, Marianne

Oh, magical avocado of delish!

I don't even really like eating all that much, but I love me some avocados. I like eating them and I like smearing them on me. In, like, a socially acceptable way. On my face.There are three main types of avocado: West Indian, Mexican and Guatemalan. The Haas avocado (also called the California avocado here in the States) that you might be most familiar with is a variety of Guatemalan avocado that is ripe in the winter, generally December and January. But in Florida, under the ever-so-specific name of "Florida avocado" we grow West Indian avocados -- and they are in season right now.Florida avocados are usually big and fleshy. They have a smooth, green skin. They kind of look like something went terribly, terribly wrong with an unripe mango, actually. Haas avocados are higher in fat so they tend to be richer, but Florida avocados don't get slimy. While Haas avocados probably make the best guacamole, Florida avocados are perfect cut up in a variety of salads, sliced on sandwiches, and otherwise served up on a plate.Here's the general nutritional rundown, for the curious: Avocados are a good source of vitamins C, E, K, folate, and fiber. They contain monounsaturated fat, which is the same thing found in your olive oil and other heart-healthy oils. Dietary fat actually helps your body absorb vitamins, so avocados are both delicious AND useful.But enough of that. Let's talk about the good stuff. Let's talk about putting two tastes that taste great together: avocado plus potato salad.I'm not a vegan, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate some truly delicious vegan cuisine. Like this recipe for Creamy Avocado Potato Salad. I'm not super dedicated to following the recipe precisely, so I ignore the red onion and scorn garnishing with scallions. Can you sense my dislike for onions? Instead, I assemble potatoes, avocados, lime juice, salt, ground cayenne, and cucumber and put this stuff together on a really hot day. Boil your potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Drain them, and put them to the side so they can cool. Blend the hell out of two small avocados or one great big one (remove the pit, of course), and add a couple tablespoons of lime juice and a couple pinches of salt. Put your chunks of potato, chopped tomato, diced cucumber, and avocado blend into a bowl and stir it all up. Chill and serve. Serve and chill.Other days, when even the blender is just too much for me, I chop up avocado and throw it in a bowl with a bunch of grape tomatoes. Top it with balsamic, add in mozzarella or don't -- just enjoy it because this is better than ice cream when everything feels like sweat.

I found these avocado fries on Pinterest, so I can't say Pinterest hasn't done anything for me.

I come to praise avocados, not to bury them (can I bastardize anymore Shakespeare?) -- the deliciousness that they do lives after them; the moisturizing properties are oft absorbed by our skin. Hey, I said I liked to smear them on my face. You can mash a raw avocado and apply directly to your face (or any other of your 2000 parts) for a hit of moisturizing facial treatment. Or, and this is my personal favorite, you can make a profoundly ugly face mask that will make your skin feel awesome.We have one of those Magic Bullet blenders and I use it for these sorts of things all the time. My current favorite recipe, if these sorts of things can be said to have recipes consists of half a Florida avocado, one egg yolk, a half of a big cucumber or one entire small one (peeled first), and about a tablespoon of aloe vera gel.I've used the stuff in my fridge that I keep there for when Ed gets sunburned. The lidocaine feels weird, man. But I've also trimmed off some aloe from one of the plants we've got going, and scraped the gel out from the inside of the leaf. I really only do that when I'm feeling extra like a hippie though.And if that doesn't make me feel enough of the whole peace, love, and understanding vibe, I blend the other half of the avocado with some olive oil and then stick it on my head. My hair is dry. This helps. Don't judge. In fact, if your hair is dry, I highly recommend this as a cheap treatment you can throw together at home. Rinse with apple cider vinegar to really get that Greek salad smell working. Alternately, wash off with alternating warm and cool water.As is my habit, though, I have saved my absolute favorite thing to do with avocados for last. You're going to have to trust me on this -- well, unless you've ever had avocado ice cream, in which case you might already know just how amazing avocados are as a dessert.That's right, dessert. I've been obsessing over homemade popsicles lately, and Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas is my popsicle bible. My favorite recipe so far (because I haven't tried the sour cream, cherry, and vodka one yet) is the one for avocado popsicles.Listen, it isn't that I can't follow directions. It's that I like to be INSPIRED. And so my interpretation of avocado popsicles doesn't exactly follow the recipe either. Here is what I do:

  • Boil one cup of water with a half cup of sugar. Turn off the burner and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Plunk a giant avocado (flesh only) into the blender.
  • Throw in a few pinches of salt.
  • Squeeze in a very generous amount of lime juice. Don't skimp on this.
  • Add the sugar water.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Freeze in popsicle molds or shot glasses or whatever you are using to make popsicles.

The resulting popsicle is creamy without having any dairy in it. It tastes bright and vibrant -- it tastes green to me. Not in the way a shot of wheat grass tastes green (because that tastes like dirt) but in the way a really bright kelly green shirt looks cheerful and invites you to buy it even though you don't have anything to match it.

Florida avocados are smooth and green and shiny.

The sugar and the lime juice balance out to make it both sweet and a little tart. This isn't a simple flavor; rather it is perfect for those times when you cannot face another strawberry, no matter how delicious they are. This is a complete shift.Ripe Florida avocados are 3 for $2 at my local produce market right now. I've had a surplus that I've needed to use up very quickly -- which is why I've made all of the above since the weekend. Haas avocados at the supermarket always seem so freaking expensive to me -- but if you can find Florida avocados at any sort of local produce place, you might hit the jackpot.I don't know if avocados are actually magic, as they are fabled to be. But, you know? I don't know that they aren't. How else would they inspire things like these tattoos?