Exploring Avocado: It's Not Just for Guacamole


Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

Avocados have many uses. Read on to learn about them.

Avocados have many uses. Read on to learn about them.

They Got This Part Right

In 2015, the California Avocado Commission paid for an advertisement on Super Bowl Sunday. The premise was this—God was featuring the first ever team draft, with areas of the globe vying for claim to various flora and fauna. Australia chose the kangaroo. Madagascar selected the lemur. And Mexico received the avocado.

I don't know where the Creator placed the Persea americana, but the oldest evidence of them in history was found in a cave in Puebla, Mexico which, according to scientists, dates back to the year 10,000 B.C.

Hass avocados

Hass avocados

In 2015, a total of 2.14 billion pounds of avocados were sold in the United States—a 16 percent increase over the 1.85 billion pounds sold in 2014.

“That means 293 million more pounds were sold in 2015 vs. 2014,” Escobedo said.



But They Got This Part Wrong

The Super Bowl ad worked its magic and 2015 avocado sales went through the roof. Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, says that “Ten million more pounds of were sold in February 2015 vs. February 2014.”

But what was displayed as the herald of the avocado? A simple bowl of guacamole.

Although guacamole might be the primary use of avocados on Super Bowl Sunday, they are capable of so very much more.

How to Tell When An Avocado Is Ripe

Did you know that avocados do not begin to ripen until they are removed from the tree? That’s good news for those of us who love fresh avocado but do not have an avocado tree in our back yard.

But how do you know if the little green fruit in your store is ready? Yes, they should “give” slightly when squeezed, but how many times have you cut open an avocado to find that it is way too ripe—that instead of a soft pale yellow green the flesh is brown and discolored?

I have an app for that! The next time you select an avocado find the stem end—the place where it attaches to the tree. You should be able to pop off that little belly button with your fingernail. If it doesn’t budge, the avocado is under ripe. If it comes off and the flesh underneath is brown, it is over ripe. But, if you find that the color underneath is green, that avocado is, in the words of Goldilocks “just right!”

Fun Facts about Avocados

  • 43 percent of U.S. households buy them each year
  • It's a fruit, not a vegetable
  • Nicknamed “alligator pear” because of its bumpy skin
  • One tree can produce up to 500 fruits annually

The Good Stuff

List of Recipes in this Article

  • egg salad
  • chicken avocado burger
  • avocado hummus
  • avocado lime salad dressing
  • chocolate avocado frosting
  • cucumber, lime, and avocado soup
  • Carb Diva's cobb salad
  • guacamole
Egg Salad

Egg Salad

Egg Salad

Julia Mueller is a photographer, cookbook author, recipe developer, and the genius behind the blog "Roasted Root." She replaces the traditional mayonnaise in an egg salad with mashed avocado. Before you hit the "fat alert" panic button, keep in mind that

  • Recent studies show that the cholesterol in eggs does not contribute to heart disease, and
  • Avocados contain the "good" fat that lowers bad cholesterol
Chicken Avocado Burger

Chicken Avocado Burger

Chicken Avocado Burger

Julie of Julieseatsandtreats works in the telecommunications industry, is a wife, mother, and (somehow) finds time to take amazing photos and write a blog.

In this recipe, she replaces yummy fatty beef with yummy and less fatty avocado and ground chicken to make chicken avocado burgers for her family.

Avocado Hummus

Avocado Hummus

Avocado Hummus

Jaclyn of Cooking Classy created an avocado hummus that I think you will love, even if you are an avowed hummus-hater. The avocado in this recipe gives the dip a creamier consistency and a pale green color.

Avocado Lime Salad Dressing

Avocado Lime Salad Dressing

Avocado Lime Salad Dressing

Jocelyn of InsideBruCrewLife (...it is a requirement that all bloggers first names begin with the letter "J"?) had a craving for salad dressing that could not be denied. She explains how she drove to Wal-Mart sans makeup, wearing sweat pants, a knit hat covering her messy hair...just so she could buy the ingredients needed. I'm glad that she did. This avocado lime salad dressing is really good

Chocolate avocado frosting—doesn't this look amazing!

Chocolate avocado frosting—doesn't this look amazing!

Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Margaret is a photographer (obviously), graphic design educator, and creator of the blog veggieprimer. She is an advocate for a plant-based diet and has developed a creative way to replace the dairy (milk, cream, butter) in chocolate frosting without sacrificing taste or texture. Yes, she uses avocado.

Cucumber, Avocado, and Lime Salad

Cucumber, Avocado, and Lime Salad

Cucumber, Avocado, and Lime Salad

Several months ago I introduced you to Marjorie Druker, executive chef and owner of the New England Soup Factory, and Clara Silverstein, author and former food writer/editor at the Boston Herald. Together they wrote New England Soup Factory Cookbook, an amazing collection of stories, photographs, and recipes from the famed restaurant which has been in business since 1995. Here is their idea for creating a creamy cold soup for those hot summer days:


  • 10 ripe avocados, peeled and quartered, pits removed
  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled and diced, divided
  • 1 bunch scallions, diced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 3 limes
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place avocados in a 6 to 8-quart stockpot. Add half the cucumbers and half the scallions.
  2. Add the olive oil, lime juice, zest, stock, cream, cilantro, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. puree the soup in the pot using a hand blender or working in batches with a regular blender until smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the remaining cucumbers and scallions. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Carb Diva Cobb Salad

Carb Diva Cobb Salad

Carb Diva Cobb Salad

Last week my friend Bill Holland challenged me to come up with some easy and creative ways to use quail eggs. Those cute little orbs were fried and placed atop sweet potato hash; they were baked; they were skewered with grape tomatoes, cheese, and olives; and lastly, they were hard cooked and used in a Carb Diva cobb salad:

Carb Diva Cobb Salad (makes 4 servings)


For the dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

For the salad:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 10-oz pkg. arugula or spinach leaves
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 quail eggs or 2 chicken eggs, hard cooked
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 16 slices
  • 4 slices bacon or turkey bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 4 green onions, tops and white part, finely sliced


Make the dressing:

  • Combine lemon juice, oil, and mustard in a bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Set aside.

Make the salad:

  • Season chicken with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Add arugula or spinach leaves to a bowl containing salad dressing. Toss to coat.
  • Divide mixture among 4 salad plates. Top each serving with chicken, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, halved quail eggs (or diced chicken eggs), bacon, avocado, Gorgonzola cheese, and green onions.

And Because You Asked...

Basic Guacamole Recipe


  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 1 jalepeno, finely minced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium tomato, seeds removed, diced

© 2016 Linda Lum


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 26, 2016:

Lawrence - Avocados are so healthy--try the hummus recipe or the egg salad and see if you don't change your mind.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 26, 2016:


I'll admit that I don't like Avocados! Sorry, but they just don't do anything for me, Hummus on the other hand I can't get enough of!

The reason I don't like them much is the texture (and lack of taste) but we've been known to use them as a filling with something tasty, and I tend to agree with Bill's comment.


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 12, 2016:

Bravewarrior - that is an EXCELLENT question, and one for which I do not have an answer. I am spoiled rotten by having a produce stand just a couple of miles from my home, so I typically buy my avocado(s) on the same day that I use them. They never sit around long enough to find out if the color changes. I'll make a point of checking that out and get back to you.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 12, 2016:

I love avocados and will try many of these recipes. I have a question regarding removing the belly button (I'd be more apt to do it in the store before I buy it): once you remove the bellybutton, will the hole change colors as the fruit ages?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on August 09, 2016:

Audrey - I'm so glad that you stopped by. You MUST try the avocado chocolate frosting. My favorite is the salad with feta and the balsamic drizzle. It's so pretty.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 09, 2016:

I'm drooling! These scrumptious recipes and photos are driving my taste buds crazy! What do I like better than avocados? Nothing! (Except for a little chocolate on the side.)

Thanks ever so much for making my day!


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on July 31, 2016:

Bill, I knew that you were at the Puyallup (let's see if our out-of-State friends can pronounce that one?) Farmers Market. I knew you'd be late, and I knew you'd be exhausted. It's a HUGE market, and so much fun. My daughter loves to go there, but unfortunately she now works the 9am to 6pm shift on Saturdays.

If you ever see avocado at one of the markets I suggest that you throw caution to the wind, buy one (or two) and try one of these recipes. Heck, do the quail egg bake, top with some of your goat cheese feta, and you've got a party in your mouth.

Have a great Sunday and see you next week at the Steilacoom Market.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 30, 2016:

Finally got back from the Puyallup Market. Dead tired, but I'm so late reading this I started feeling guilty about it. Great read as always. I'm not a big avocado fan but then I've never had you cooking for me, and I suspect that would make all the difference in the world. :)

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on July 30, 2016:

Eric - I knew this would catch your attention. Don't discredit smearing avocado on toast--I have no problem with plain and simple. I like simply eating them with a spoon. Yum!

So good to hear from you my friend.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 30, 2016:

We can get the Avocado at roadside stands just about in every community here. Many times there are adjacent to huge Avo farms. Friend share the Avo grown organically in backyards. Some friends swear by them as a healthy supplement for dog food.

Sad to say but my favorite is just smearing the Avo on a bread with garlic salt for a sandwich.

I will be trying your recipes as any thing with our main crop around here hits the spot with me.

Thanks for giving us a wonderful article on a wonderful food.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on July 29, 2016:

Dear Flourish - I can't imagine never tasting an avocado. Although I know that my mom never did, and I didn't while growing up. I'm not sure when I first tasted the alligator pear, but obviously it grabbed me and never let go. I love avocados.

Yes, it you are 'hesitant' start with the chocolate and then branch out. You won't be disappointed.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 29, 2016:

I have lived an unadventurous life, having never tasted an avacado. I'd love to try cooking that chocolate cake with them! Creative and wow does it look delish.

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