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  1. Tuesday, May 6

    Pitting and Cutting Avocados the Awesome Way and More Avocado Fun

    I just learned a tip for pitting and cutting avocados that will change your life. Seriously. It’s amazing and yet so simple, I really can’t believe I never figured it out before now!

    pitting and cutting avocados from @janemaynard

    Last Saturday I had the chance to learn all about avocados and see the entire growing and packing process. The California Avocado Commission invited me for a day of touring a nursery, a grove and a packing facility as well as a delicious, avocado-packed lunch. It was such a fun day and I met all kinds of interesting people, from other bloggers to food service and restaurant professionals to registered dietitians for grocery stores. During the lunch, Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD from Fiber is the Future did a recipe demo for the group and shared this marvelous tip for cutting avocados.

    visiting an avocado tree nursery with the california avocado commission by @janemaynard

    Here’s how I’ve always cut and pitted avocados: I would cut the avocado in half, whack the pit with a sharp knife, twist and pull the pit out, then scoop the fruit out with a spoon. I think, quite honestly, the most dangerous part of this process was getting the pit off the the knife once it was out of the avocado. Scary stuff. Despite the high level of danger, I was pretty good at it and thought it was the best way…until now!

    Katie shared the following technique. I used it last night when making guacamole and I can’t even tell you how awesome it is. The avocado pieces come out beautifully and no dangerous knife throwing is involved. Also, the pits are a cinch to remove. Are you ready? Here we go! I even made a VIDEO for you. Yes, video. I’ve been resisting forever, but decided to finally bite the bullet. Here goes nothin’!

    Here’s a quick recap, with photos and the steps written out:

    pitting and cutting avocados by @janemaynard

    • Cut the avocado into QUARTERS. Slice the knife through to the pit lengthwise, then rotate 90º and slice through again, so that the avocado is cut into four pieces but still remains attached to the pit.
    • Hold the avocado in your hand and twist. The pieces should start falling away from the pit quite easily. The last piece will hang onto the pit for dear life, but just twist the pit a little with your hands and it should pop off pretty easily.
    • Peel away the skin – no spoon or scooping required!

    Voilà! Perfectly pitted avocados, ready for you to slice and cut to your heart’s content!

    I thought I would also share some photos from the big avocado day because it was really cool.

    Our first stop was at the Persea Tree Nursery in Fallbrook, CA, where we saw the growing process from pit to tree! First, the pits are planted in a greenhouse where they sprout and grow and grow and GROW.

    growing avocado trees at persea tree nursery in california by @janemaynard

    Then those sprouts are cut down and the type of avocado you want is grafted on, up to four grafts per sprout. This is the point in the process where the variety of tree is determined. We had the chance to watch two women actually graft the trees, which was fascinating.

    grafting avocado trees at persea tree nursery in california by @janemaynard

    As the root systems grow and mature, the grafted “trees” are then cut off from the original sprout and planted, giving you a little avocado tree! It’s amazing how fast the trees grow (the tree in the second photo below is only a few months old). The trees will start to fruit in a year and you’ll have your first harvest in two years.

    brand new avocado trees at persea tree nursery by @janemaynard

    At this point the growers buy and plant the trees in their groves. The visit to Sierra Pacific Farms target=”blank” was equally as interesting and the groves were beautiful. A few things we learned: avocados must be harvested by hand, the trees are pruned to about 12-14 feet tall but will grow forever if you let them, a good grove has a thick ground cover of leaves, avocados do not ripen on the tree and can be stored there for quite some time until the farmers are ready to harvest, and the irrigation at a farm like this one is incredibly high tech and sophisticated. We also ate lunch in a beautiful spot among the groves, with food created by the chef from Sorrel Restaurant/Bistro in Temecula.

    sierra pacific farms avocado grove by @janemaynard

    As avocados are harvested they are placed in these bins which then travel to to a facility to be packed and shipped.

    avocado grove by @janemaynard

    We visited West Pak Avocado in Murrieta, CA. A few key takeaways: the process is very efficient, fast and high tech, the people who work at West Pak are equally as efficient and fast, and I can’t believe how many avocados they can pack in one day! The woman pictured below was adorable. She was all smiles until she got back to work, and then it was all business. The way she tossed the avocados from one hand to the other for packing in the box was lightning fast.

    west pak avocado packing by @janemaynard

    It was a great day and I learned soooooo much. I am also now bound and determined to grow an avocado tree in our own yard!


  2. Tuesday, July 2

    Call for Recipes: Avocados!

    I love the folks at the California Avocado Commission. And not just because they sent me a case of avocados today! They really are a great group of people representing a great product: California-grown avocados. In fact, a lot of those avocados are grown right here in San Diego!

    collection of great avocado recipes | thisweekfordinner.com

    The commission shared a fun fact with me last week: the Fourth of July is the highest consumption day for avocados in the US. I guess we all love guacamole on the Fourth! The great thing is avocados are actually in season right now, so our demand matches the time when they taste best!

    collection of great avocado recipes | thisweekfordinner.com

    To get us ready to eat our 96.4 million avocados this Thursday, I think an avocado Call for Recipes is in order!

    hummus guacamole bean dip | thisweekfordinner.com

    I’ll kick us off with one of my most favorite dip recipes: Hummus Guacamole Dip with Black Beans. If you haven’t tried it yet, I’m sure you’re thinking it sounds weird. It is actually really delicious. Like, I can eat the whole bowl myself. It’s also very healthy!

    Your turn! What are your favorite recipes using avocados? Please type up the recipe or share links to recipes in the comments. Anything goes as long as there are avocados involved!