Avocados are grown in warm climates throughout the world. There are many varieties, with some differences in taste and texture. Avocados are fairly high in fat, but the fats in avocados are mono-unsaturated. Like the oils in olives, they are beneficial in the diet, although they do add calories.
Avocados can be sliced with tomatoes and onions to make a great salad. We use balsamic vinegar and olive oil as a dressing. It's so good you won't miss the fact that decent lettuce is rarely available in the tropics. Avocados can be a pleasant addition to almost any salad, including many pasta salads.
And, of course, guacamole!! Mixed with onion, hot peppers, tomato, lime, and cilantro, avocados are really wonderful. We haven't always been able to find all of these ingredients at the same time, but they are generally available in the markets.
Market and storage tips -- A ripe avocado will be firm but soft to the touch. The skin should be uniformly dark, not splotchy. Choose an unblemished fruit that is heavy for its size. Avocados are sold unripe, and can be ripened in a dark place at room temperature. Refrigeration slows the ripening process.
Cooking -- Do not cook avocado -- it will become bitter. If adding avocado to cooked dishes, do so just before serving. Avocado flesh darkens quickly when in contact with air. Acidify cut surfaces with citrus juice or mix citrus juice into mashed avocado. (Leaving the pit in a cut avocado prevents air from reaching the part covered by the pit. Unprotected surfaces will still darken.) Do not cook avocado it will become bitter. If adding avocado to cooked dishes, do so just before serving.