It’s hard to have a party without a heaping bowl of guacamole hogging the table. Everyone’s favorite green treat is tasty on chips and far too easy to gorge yourself on. However, thousands around the world are starting to embrace the other elements of the humble avocado and are exploring some different uses for it. 2016 was a particularly good year for this tropical delicacy, as ‘avocado toast’ swept through the Instagram accounts of millennial women everywhere.
This past year might have been a good time to explore alternative uses for avocados, but there is so much more you can do with this creamy fruit than what’s been blowing up on Instagram. Just like butter, avocado makes everything it touches so much better, and the benefits don’t end with your taste buds. Not only are avocados luxuriously rich in flavor, they also are full of body-boosting health benefits you’re sure to want to take advantage of. Even better, avocados can do as much for you externally as they can internally and are a great way to keep your hair and skin in top shape.
If you’re ready to delve into some of the less known tricks that bakers and beauty bloggers are utilizing their avocados for, read on.
Where Do Avocados Come From?
Contrary to what you might think, avocados are actually single seeded berries, and they grow in orchards just like other stone fruits like apples and peaches. The avocado tree is native to the Americas and comes in hundreds of different varieties. This special fruit only made it to Europe after Columbus’s encounter with it in the 15th century.
Today, there dozens of varieties of avocado commercially available, but most Americans are exposed to just a few main types.
- Hass: The classic year round avocado found in most stores, the Hass has distinctive skin that turns from green to purplish-black as it ripens. Because of its great shelf life, the Hass is now highly marketed and grown throughout the globe, where it is celebrated everywhere for its nutty flavor and good shipping abilities.
- Bacon: A medium sized fruit with a thin green skin, the Bacon is usually available in the winter time.
- Gwen: Similar in appearance and taste to the Hass, the Gwen is slightly larger.
- Fuerte: As a high quality California avocado, the Fuerte is available in the winter and renowned for its strong flavor and ability to survive freezing temperatures.
Health Benefits of Avocados
There’s a lot to like about the humble avocado. Not only are they filled with monounsaturated fats, they carry within their flesh a host of nutrients, including B vitamins, potassium, vitamin E and 11 different carotenoids. They also are full of fiber without any sugar or protein, meaning you can eat lots of them without feeling guilty. As an easy way to supplement your diet with the whole food-based nutrition it needs, avocados are hard to beat.
Ways To Use Avocados
There are plenty of ways to enjoy your avocado without using them as a dip for your tortilla chips. Below are some of the top ways to add some interest to your lifestyle the next time you get your hands on some avocados.
1. Make a Healthy Fat-filled Smoothie
Avocados add creaminess to chilled drinks that can’t be beat. To make this winning smoothie, combine one peeled apple with 1/3 ripe avocado. Add 1/2 each of frozen spinach, plain yogurt and pasteurized egg whites. Mix in 1/4 cup of raspberries and water, and blend in ice cubes until smooth and creamy.
2. Tuna-Stuffed Avocado
Combine the healthy fats in avocados with the omega 3 fatty acids in tuna by serving a hearty scoop of tuna fish in half an avocado. All you need to do is drizzle on some lemon juice and dinner is served.
3. Craving-Filling Chocolate Pudding
Utilize the natural texture of mushy avocados by combining a blend of overripe avocados and banana with your choice of ingredients like honey, cocoa, chia seeds and almond milk. Blend together and eat fresh for a healthy dessert.
4. Green Hummus
Guacamole isn’t the only avocado dip you can taste at your next gathering! Simply mix chickpeas, avocados, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini together to create a delicious appetizer.
5. Rich and Creamy Salad Dressing
Spice up your salad with an infusion of overripe avocado. All you need to do is combine equal parts mashed avocado and plain yogurt with a pinch of cumin and chili powder. It adds the perfect creamy kick to any combination of greens.
Avocado Body Treatments
You don’t need to eat your avocado to get some benefits for your body. An alternative is to incorporate them into your beauty routine for an extra boost of moisture.
6. Healthy Hair Care
If your hair is looking dull and stringy, an infusion of moisturizing fats and vitamin E from an avocado can get you back to looking great. Simply blend an avocado with a quarter cup olive oil and one tbsp. lemon juice and let the mixture soak into your hair for half an hour. Rinse it out with regular shampoo to get your hair to shine.
7. Body Soap
Cleanse your skin without relying on toxic chemicals by making your own avocado-based soap. The process couldn’t be simpler for those familiar with making lye-based soaps and have the patience to wait the four weeks for their soap to cure. For full instructions, check out this link.
8. Shaving Cream
No one likes getting painful razor burns after shaving. You can prevent them by moisturizing with a silky smooth homemade shaving cream. The steps are simple; just melt equal parts of shea butter and coconut oil in a small pan and transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Blend in olive oil and place it in the fridge until fully cooled. Next, whip the mixture until fluffy and add half an avocado to the mixture. Apply to your legs and shave away!
9. Brighten Up Your Skin
To keep your face looking bright and beautiful, you can make a honey avocado face mask to moisturize, tone and brighten your skin without any toxic ingredients. DIY face masks are an easy, inexpensive way to add moisture and necessary vitamins to your face, and the added honey works as a natural antioxidant boost. All you need to do is mash 1/4 avocado in a small bowl and stir in 2 teaspoons honey. Apply to your face and let set for ten minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Bonus: Uses For The Seed!
If you think you need to throw away your avocado seed, think again! These hefty seeds have plenty of uses, so long as you have the patience to try them out.
10. Homemade Ink
Avocados have long been used to make ink and food dyes. All you need to do is put the seed in a heavy plastic bag and crush it with something heavy. The liquid that comes out will turn a dark color when exposed to air, so you can dip your fountain pen right in and get to writing.
11. Traditional Enchilada Sauce
If you want to try a truly authentic dish, you can dry your avocado pit for up to a week and grate it into small pieces with a food processor. Add about 1 1/2 tsp to your sauce for a savory addition to classic Mexican food.
12. Ease Toothaches
If you find your teeth sensitive to the touch, you can ease your suffering by splitting open an avocado seed and putting the inside pieces right against your painful tooth.
13. At-Home Massage
There’s no reason to crack the seed open for this special use. Collect several seeds and place them in a large bowl. Next, rub your feet over it to work out some of the tension in your body. You can also use the pits to massage the back of someone you care about. For an alternative, you can crack the seeds open for an exfoliating foot scrub.
14. Exfoliate Dead Skin
You can use both the peel and the pit to get your skin looking great. Simply rub the skin over dry skin patches to slough away the excess. You can also dry the pit out for several days and grind it into a fine consistency that can be added to your favorite facial cleanser for an extra boost.
15. Dye Fabric
Avocado pits release minerals when boiled that make an ideal liquid dye that is surprisingly pink and vibrant. You can use this dye on cotton fabric for beautifully original hues. All you need to do is boil water in a stainless steel pot and let avocado seeds boil in it until the water reaches the color you like. Next, simply soak your fabric in the water until it achieves the color you want. For further instructions, check out this link.
16. Add It To Your Smoothie
It’s a pity they are often thrown away, because avocado pits are actually full of healthy micro nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Simply dry one out for several days before grinding it up, and add it to your smoothie for a boost in nutrition.
You’re not doing your body any favors if the only use you put your avocados to use is guacamole. This versatile fruit has plenty of uses beyond a dip, and your body will only benefit when you find new ways to put it to use- both inside and out. So take the time to experiment in some new directions with your avocado, and you might be surprised how well the results turn out.