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The Alligator Pear

When I was younger there was always a row of recycled glass jars sitting on the windowsill in our kitchen. Each jar contained 3 or 4 toothpicks holding a pit and lots of roots sprouting in the water. At times, my mother’s green thumb even produced a few 3 foot plants. But what I remember most was being told it takes 60 years for these plants to bear fruit. As a young child, this freaked me out; I was always doing the math, thinking if I was going to be too old to ever see it flourish. Needless to say, in my young adulthood I researched the facts; homegrown avocado plants usually don’t produce fruit , one needs to graft the seedling for fruit to grow and that takes 5-13 years. My mother’s plants usually died, but she was determined, and those recycled glass bowls, whether dried out or filled with roots, remained on the windowsill year after year.

The avocado, the alligator pear, the rough green textured fruit; it contains 20 vitamins and minerals, heart-healthy unsaturated fat and has a relatively high fiber content. And it tastes delicious!

When I was first introduced to the Haas avocado, I only knew that it was the main source for scrumptious guacamole, and that was good enough for me. I remember when one of my sons was younger, he loved homemade guacamole. He would eat it with pita chips, corn chips, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, you name it, he ate it. Although when it came to salad, I would always see little green cubed pieces on the side of his plate. One day I asked him about it and he said he didn’t think he liked the green chunks; I then proceeded to inform him that those green chunks are what guacamole is made from. He has licked his plate clean since!

The more available avocado has become I have realized that this yummy green fruit can enhance almost any meal. Breakfast can be a toasted bagel with cream cheese, avocado and a dash of salt. Perhaps avocado sushi for lunch. And for dinner, no matter what the main course, a salad with cut up avocado makes my meal complete. Avocado is a relatively easy fruit to use. The only challenge is sometimes you must think ahead and purchase the rough green alligator pear a few days before you intend to use it. Occasionally it is too hard to cut, and leaving it on the windowsill or in a brown bag allows for it to soften.

I know everyone has their own magical way to cut up an avocado. For me, I think cutting the fruit in half with a knife and then piercing the sharp knife into the pit and twisting the knife to remove the pit is ingenious. Scoring the inside with a knife (but not going through the skin) in a checker board fashion and then scooping out the cubed pieces with a soup spoon is brilliant. No messy hands, no sticky green fingers. Those soft avocados can be a doozy on your digits.

I have learned a lot from my mother’s home and copied a lot of her ways, yet I have chosen to replace decorating my windowsill with ripening avocados as opposed to recycled glass jars. I would rather have the actual fruit than the dream of the fruit.

Avocado and Mushroom Salad
2 pounds sliced mushrooms
2 avocado diced
3 kirby cucumbers cut in half and sliced
1 box grape tomatoes, halved

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil for 10-15 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Place mushrooms in bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Whisk together 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried basil, salt to taste. Pour on vegetables.

Linda lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Linda was a stay at home mom when her kids were little, about 5 years ago when her youngest was in 8th grade Linda started her own business, SWIRL. Linda handcrafts and designs beautiful and top quality serving utensils, glassware and giftware.


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