All about avocados | Vancouver Sun


Plus, tips to avoid food waste.

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Avocados are readily available these days, but I well remember when they were a luxury purchase. Now as then, however, it’s a shame to waste a spoonful of their rich creaminess. That’s why I was drawn to avocado recipes as I researched today’s column on food waste.

My go-to source was “The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money, and Save the Planet” (Touchwood 2015) by Cinda Chavich, a food journalist with a scientific bent.

“Canada lags behind the U.S., U.K. and EU in addressing the issue of food waste,” Chavich writes. “Canadian food waste amount to about 269 pounds (122 kg) per person annually, with 51 per cent of the total wasted at home.”

Home cooks who are able to compost food scraps and discards are doing their part, but Chavich maintains that reducing food waste in the first place is more important. She provides this handy how-long-will-it keep information to guide your purchases:


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Milk: 7 days after best-before date

Eggs, in shell: 4 weeks

Hard-cooked eggs: 1 week

Fresh meat: 2 to 4 days (1 to 2 days if ground)

Cooked chicken: 3 to 4 days

Fresh fish: 2 to 3 days

Fresh shellfish: 12 to 24 hours

Leftover soups, stews, casseroles: 3 to 4 days

Opened mayonnaise: 2 to 3 months

Opened mustard: 1 year

Opened salsa (bottled): 4 weeks

When stored properly, some everyday items will last for years — sometimes decades — even after they’ve been opened. They include honey, white rice, sugar (white, brown or powdered), maple syrup (store in freezer), cornstarch and salt.

Returning to avocados, the first step to avoiding waste is to choose firm specimens that yield only slightly, not soft fruits. Keep them at room temperature until they just begin yielding to pressure, then refrigerate. If you get a bargain on a bag of avocados at the big-box store, here are ways to use them up:

• For a creamy salad dressing or dip, combine an avocado with a little mayonnaise, plain yogurt or sour cream as well as some lime juice, cilantro and garlic and puree.

• Add avocado to toasted BLT sandwiches (or use to replace bacon for a vegetarian version).

• Stuff avocado halves with baby shrimp salad for a lovely luncheon dish.

• Puree avocado with spinach, apples and lime for a rich and healthy green drink.

• For crispy avocado fries, dip avocado pieces in seasoned flour, then beaten egg and panko bread crumbs, then bake on a rack at 425 degrees F.

Egg and Avocado Salad


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A scoop of this rich and tasty salad on a bed of salad greens makes a healthy lunch. (Adapted from “Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook: Save Food, Save Money, and Save the Planet” by Cinda Chavich, Touchwood, 2015.)

Serves 2

3 hard-cooked eggs

1 green onion, minced

2 tbsp (25 mL) low-fat mayonnaise

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

A few grindings pepper

Pinch cayenne

1 ripe avocado

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lime or lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped cilantro

Mixed salad greens

In a bowl, mash the eggs and stir in green onion, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and cayenne.

Halve the avocado, remove the pit and score the flesh into cubes. Scoop the cubes out of the skin and place them in a bowl. Toss with lime or lemon juice.

Fold the avocado into the egg mixture and top with cilantro. Serves on a bed of greens.

Avocado-Almond Chocolate Mousse

You won’t miss the dairy in this mousse. It tastes deliciously chocolatey and rich, but without the eggs and heavy cream. You can also use coconut, hemp or rice milk. (Adapted from “Gather: A Dirty Apron Cookbook” by David Robertson, 2019.)

Serves 4


1 cup (250 mL) toasted almonds

1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar


1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1/4 cup (50 mL) cocoa

1/4 cup (50 mL) maple syrup

1/4 cup (50 mL) almond milk

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

For the praline, pulse almonds in a food processor until coarse and mealy. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine sugar and 2 teaspoons water and allow mixture to caramelize until golden brown; do not stir. Remove from heat and carefully


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fold in almonds until evenly distributed. Spread mixture on prepared pan and set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the mousse: Combine avocado flesh, cocoa, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down processor bowl once or twice to thoroughly incorporate ingredients.

Divide mousse among 4 ramekins. Break cooled praline into bite-size bits with your hands and sprinkle on mousse.

Kitchen Hack: To preserve cut avocado, keep the uneaten part intact, with skin on and pit in place. Rub the cut surface with lemon or lime juice, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. It will keep for several days.


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