Cooking with Avocados
The Tropical Garden, Fall 2015
By Noris Ledesma, Ph.D.
Our Florida avocados have a different background than those you see in supermarkets originating from California or Central America: they are from lowland tropical America—west Indian and West Indian/Guatemalan hybrids that are dominant due to their superior adaptation to our climatic and edaphic (soil-related) conditions. In 2004, Fairchild was awarded a grant to conserve West Indian avocados and plant a living clonal garden for South Florida and the global agricultural community. The grant allowed us to collect West Indian avocados in lowland Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama. Two years later, the expedition expanded to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Ghana. Today we have 150 new and different selections of West Indian avocado at The Fairchild Farm.
Our Floridian avocados are lower in fat than the California and Central American avocados. They are very rich in vitamin E and can be eaten fresh with a little bit of salt, diced into salads, in Guacamole, sliced in sandwiches, or made into milkshakes and ice cream.
Avocado Mango Chicken Salad
1 large head lettuce, washed, dried, and broken into large leaves
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 pounds)
2 large fresh mangos, peeled and sliced into strips
2 Florida avocados, sliced Coarse salt to taste Freshly ground black pepper to taste Chile pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Good-quality aged balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20-30 minutes to let all those yummy flavors blend together. Serve on your favorite bread, crackers, pita pocket or on a bed of lettuce.