The Amazing Avocado Fruit

healthlife2

This is potentially the most random post on my website but a friend of mine who translated the Japanese variety show, Tetsuwan Dash episode on 16 June 2020 (Guest: Inohara Yoshihiko) for her family, decided to share a whole host of fun facts gathered from the show with me. So I thought it a waste not to reproduce them here:

Avocadoes have twice the Potassium of bananas, 7 times the Vitamin B2 (aids in breakdown of fats) of kiwis, twice the vitamin E (an antioxidant) of lemons, and twice the dietary fiber of 1 great burdock (a kind of root).

Types of Avocados

The most common type of avocado exported around the world is the Hass variant of avocado. This is because its thick and hard skin makes it ideal for long distance travel i.e. export. It seems to be the only one available in Singapore as well. In Japan and other places, they have started growing Pinkerton avocadoes (picture to be added soon – notice shape is different from regular Hass avocados)

The price of these Pinkerton avocadoes grown in Miyazaki (called “Hinata Princess” = sunny place princess). A 500g avocado (big) costs 5000 yen (USD50)! Unfortunately you can only buy these reportedly amazing avocados in Japan, either via their online shop (mail order) or at Miyazaki airport.

Another species is called the Monroe avocado (named for Marilyn Monroe), this same farmer in Miyazaki also grows them. They grow so huge that one avocado can sell for as much as 12,000 yen (USD120) if it tops 1kg. The one they showed on the show was 24cm long!

Similar to bananas, avocados can’t be eaten as soon as they are harvested because it takes time for the starch in the fruit to be converted to glucose (making it sweet and yummy). However in the case of avocadoes, instead of being converted to glucose, starch is converted to fat (unsaturated fat). This unsaturated fat is good for lowering bad cholesterol, and is the key ingredient giving avocadoes their deliciousness – the longer they are left on the tree before harvesting, the yummier they are because they have a higher fat content.

In the show, the Japanese farmer leaves his Pinkerton avocados on the tree (to slowly gain more fat content) for a year before harvesting! On the other hand, the normal avocados we eat from the supermarket have usually only been left on the tree for about 7 months before being harvested, because it takes about 200 days before they are big enough to be harvested and they then harvest it as soon as they are ‘big enough’. For this particular farmer, after leaving the Pinkerton avocados on the tree for a year, he stores them at 20’C for 20 days to allow them to continue to ripen (starch => fat conversion).

Unlike Hass avocados which turn black when they are ripe and good to eat, Pinkerton avocadoes do not change colour (stay green) so the way to tell the best time to eat is when you press the avocados with your finger and it is soft enough to leave a mark. The taste of Pinkerton avocadoes is also different (especially after staying on the tree for a whole year) – the hosts of the show described the taste as being similar to chestnut, and much richer than the normal Hass avocados.

The show featured this avocado farm in Miyazaki (on Kyushu island), and the good thing about the location of this farm is that the soil is actually stratified rock formed of alternating layers of sandy soil and clayey soil. The sandy soil allows water to penetrate easily as well as oxygen, while clayey soil retains nutrients. Furthermore, as this stratified rock was formed undersea (before being pushed above sea level by tectonic movements), it also contains the remnants of shells and coral – this means lots of sodium, calcium, and magnesium in the soil!

How to prepare avocados for consumption

The Japanese avocado farmer’s recommended way of eating avocados is to drizzle sesame oil and a dash of pink rock salt! The hosts tasted and said this was super good.

Other gourmet means of enjoying avocado were featured on the show as well:

Avocado foods

1)  Avocado gyoza – avocado will add to the richness of the gyoza

  • Mix minced meat with garlic, ginger, oyster sauce (like normal dumpling filling), place in the gyoza skin
  • Place a piece of avocado in the center
  • Fold the gyoza and fry it over medium fire for 2 mins
  • Pour hot water over the gyoza until they are 70% covered and cover with the lid and leave for 10 mins
  • Drizzle sesame oil and leave over medium heat for another 5 mins to get nice grill marks

2) Avocado Kimchi Cheese Nabe (hot pot)

  • The usual hot pot stuff like cabbage, pork, shimeji mushrooms in a soup base of katsuo/kombu
  • Add 300g kimchi and bring to boil
  • Add camembert cheese right in the center and surround with pieces of avocado, leaving it on low flame for 15 min [host commented avocado oil is good for the heart]
  • Tip: add guacamole to the hotpot for added taste and texture (of the spring onions)

3) Avocado wrapped in meat

  • Slice avocado longitudinally
  • Marinate boneless pork rib with salt and pepper, and potato starch
  • Wrap the avocado in the meat!
  • Fry in olive oil over medium fire for about 7 mins
  • Turn off the fire and drizzle shoyu (soya sauce) [avo fat + pork fat = umami!]

How to store avocados if you’re not finishing the whole thing

If you remove the seed, the meat will start to oxidise and turn brown. You can put the seed back after removing to slow down the oxidisation. But a better way suggested by the farmer was that after you open the avocado, you just don’t remove the seed and eat the half without the seed, then put the half with the seed still attached into the fridge (with cling wrap). This way it will not oxidise.

How to store avocados so they will be yummy: allow them to ripen at room temperature (counterintuitive since avocados are usually sold at the refrigerated section!). Letting avocados ripen in low temperature will cause brown lines to appear (I’ve personally experienced it). But it’s okay if the avocado is already ripe then you put it in the fridge so it’s cold when you eat it.

Thank you all for indulging us!

 

This is a Coffee Cup

This is not Coffee
This is not Coffee

Too often, we underestimate ourselves and overestimate others; and in so doing we end up looking stupid despite the contrary. We’ve a colleague who loves to carry his cup around so that he can make coffee conveniently in the office. Because his cup is issued by the company, it looks like the ones on many of our desk. This is the same cup we use as a pen holder at many desks.

Once, we saw an extra cup on our main desk with words written, “This is a Coffee Cup”. We figured out that it must be this colleague’s cup and he wrote that with his marker because he knew most of us used the cup as penholders and he didn’t want people to put their stationery into his cup when he leaves it empty on a desk unattended.

Everyone was praising the creativity of the statement and the interesting intention behind the writing when he came along and so I asked him about it. He replied that he was just trying to decorate his cup and act creative by imitating some “Stating the Obvious” series where you have tote bag that says “This is a Tote Bag” and T-Shirts that says “This is a Tee”.