The "Alligator Pear"

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avocadoHere in California we enjoy a long avocado season, thanks to the  Mediterranean climate of the southern coast. However, we also have a  region susceptible to the ravages of our California weather. Each year  it seems the avocado crop can be in peril of damage from drought,  freezes or fire. The avocados tough hide gives credence to its moniker  as "the alligator pear." And, as crucial as water is to the survival  of the reptilian gator so it is for this succulent fruit. The politics  of water is of significant concern for the forthcoming 2009 as many  farmers saw a 30% cutback in water in 2008.

To ripen, simply place the avos in a paper bag with an apple for  company. Apples give off a gas ethylene, a natural ripening agent for  most fruits. Leave at room temperature for a few days. When the  avocado yields just slightly to pressure - it is ripe. Ripe avocados  may be refrigerated for a few days, however, opened avos should be  sprinkled with lemon juice or vinegar before refrigerating to delay  oxidation.

You might think that something so rich and creamy might be bad for you  – but not to worry. The wise folks at Berkeley Wellness Letter  assure us that "Their oils are mostly monounsaturated—the kind  that lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol but maintains HDL ("good")  cholesterol." Moreover, due to its mono and polyunsaturated fat  content, avocados are a healthy substitution for foods rich in  saturated fat. For a health conscious take on deviled eggs try  “angel eggs." Use the cooked egg whites as usual but  substitute mashed avocado and seasonings as the filler instead of egg  yolk and mayo. Angel eggs have approximately half the calories, carbs,  and cholesterol of the traditional version but still 3.5 g protein per  serving.


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