Katikati AVOCADO CAPITAL of NZ
Originally native to Central America, remains of avocado seeds have been found in that region dating back to 5000BC Avocados were already being cultivated in Central America when the Spanish invaded the Aztec empire. By the early 1600's avocados were growing in Spain, then the West Indies and by the early 1800's were in California, finally spreading around the world.
Variations in climate and soil mean that there are now many different varieties around the world. In the late 1920's a Californian postman, Rudolf Hass, bought a seedling tree which flourished and in 1935 he named it after himself and took out a patent, hence the most popular variety - Hass.
Hass in New Zealand stem from one plant brought in many years ago from California.
In 1939 the first avocados to be marketed in New Zealand were from trees probably plant ed in the 1920's in Gisborne.
Katikati has been home to avocados since Arthur Honeyfield planted his first trees at Kauri Point in1968. and there are now approximately 500 avocado orchards in Katikati.
Avocados are one of the finest foods we can eat.
They are high in dietary fibre and healthy fats which can help main tain good cholesterol levels and also contain:
Vitamin A, /u tein , zeaxanthin and carotinoids which are important for eye health and may reduce the risk of age related eye dis eases.
Vitamin 86, important for the red blood cells, the nervous and im mune systems.
Vitamin C, vital for immune func tion and skin health.
Vitamin E which helps to protect us from viral illnesses and from heavy metals.
Folic acid, critical during preg nancy.
Vitamin K, for blood clotting and healthy bones.
Zinc , for healing, during pregnan cy and for male fertility.
Iron, needed for red blood cell regeneration and prevention of anaemia.
Copper, for the brain and liver.
Potassium , can help with heart disease and high blood pressure.
When buying an avocado check that the stem button is still at tached as this prevents bacteria entering. Best to buy while they are still firm but always handle avocados gently as they bruise.
Avocados can be stored at room temperature for up to 12 days or longer if kept in the fridge. 7 - 10 degrees C is the best tem perature.
To test for ripeness check the colour. Bright or olive green means that the fruit is not ripe. Brown green, it is ripe enough for slicing or dicing and purple brown it is perfect. Do not try sqeezing as this will bruise the fruit.
The ripening can be speeded up by putting the avocado into a paper bag together with an ap ple or banana and closed tightly.
If, when cut open, the top layer of the avocado has gone brown just scape this off and the flesh underneath will be good. If the whole avocado is not needed then sprinkle the remainder with a little lemon juice before storing in the fridge.
Mashed avocado can be mixed with about 1 tbs of lemon juice and frozen.