The benefits of eating the delicious green flesh of an avocado are well documented – a healthy ‘good fat’ packed with vitamins and antioxidants to support the skin, heart, blood, tissue and other organs. Also, avocados are one of our favourite foods here in Australia – a serving on toast eaten at a café has recently been blamed for young people not being able to buy a house, with indulging in the luxury being seen as too difficult to give up in order to save some pennies.
However, did you know that the avocado seed itself, which most would normally throw away, has more than 70% of the avocado’s nutritional benefits? These include: More soluble fiber than even top tier fibre providers, such as oats; Antioxidants that help regulate intestinal function and have even been shown to help prevent tumours; The oil within ups the amount of collagen in our skin and hair keeping us looking young; and A great source of polyphenols associated with green tea. Great source of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
So, if we know the benefits, how do we go about using the seed? Well, it is easier than it might first seem. Simply cut the seed into quarters and process into a powder (more details below). If you dry out the seed, this gives the resulting powder a longer shelf life. This powder can then be added to your morning smoothie, lunchtime soup or evening stew. It is a strong flavour and so best served with other strong flavours. You can also use it as a condiment and grate onto your meals just like salt or pepper.
Avocado Seed Powder Recipe:
Remove seed and rinse Place in the oven to dehydrate for 1.5-2hrs at 120 deg
Once cool, discard the outer skin and gently press seed into two halves and dice the halves again
Blitz the seed into a fine powder using a high powered blender Store in the fridge in an airtight container and use a tablespoon at a time.
So, I tried the above process and it worked really well. I went on to make a smoothie – banana, coconut water, avocado seed, ginger and matcha. Attempt one was without the ginger and matcha. The flavour of the avocado seed is definitely strong and adding these made a great taste. Highly recommended – the triplets liked it too!
In addition, you can also put chunks of the seed inside a tea infuser, put the infuser in a mug and pour boiling water over it. It can taste bitter so you may want to add a little bit of honey or other sweetener! This tea is said to be great for stomach aches.
You can also smash the seed and infuse it in olive oil for a week. Once filtered, this oil can be applied to itchy, sore skin. Perfect for the skin over winter!
Pumpkin is one of the most versatile of vegetables. It can be used in soups, stews, cakes, biscuits, as a spread for toast, a salad ingredient, seeds to top your cereal and skin to use for vegetable stock. The list goes on. However, sadly in terms of waste, it is much more common for people to buy pumpkin pre-cut or in quarters, using a lot more plastic wrap, than buying it whole. Buying and eating the whole pumpkin from skin to seed has so many health benefits, reduces waste and is a lot cheaper. These beauties shouldn’t be reserved for carving at Halloween. So, what can you do with a whole pumpkin?
Firstly, roast it whole. Anyone who has cooked with pumpkin before knows how difficult it is to cut. So, bypass the cutting and bake the pumpkin in the oven whole. There is very little prep work involved and the pumpkin is much easier to cut into after its been cooked. Simply stab the outer shell a few times with a knife to allow for ventilation and place the pumpkin on a baking dish to roast in the oven at 180 degrees for 45-60 minutes, depending on size. The pumpkin is ready when the flesh is darker, and the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.
Now for what to do with all that pumpkin:
We have partnered with About Life to help combat food waste and as part of this, we are co authoring a series of blog posts designed to help use any fruit and vegetables which you might normally discard or not know what to do with.
Second up - Celeriac
We have been trying to incorporate one meat free night a week into our family meal plan. With a 6ft+ husband, hungry three year old triplets, and being a protein loving gym goer myself, this is not an easy feast. However, welcome the humble celeriac. Filling and nutritious, it is definitely worth getting the whole family on board as a celeriac lover sooner rather than later.
Celeriac has so many benefits. These include:
With similarities to celery and turnip, uses range from salads to soups to even peeling like a potato and turning into mash. To be more creative, a favourite recipe I tried this week is in a hearty take on Shepherd’s Pie. We could even freeze the leftovers to reheat when we next wanted to avoid buying more takeaway. A win-win.
So here goes… add some onions and garlic to a pan and fry with some leek, celery and thyme. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and any beans or grains of your choosing (black beans and lentils work well), with some vegetable stock and simmer until the beans are cooked and the sauce reduced. Meanwhile, peel the celeriac like a potato and boil in a pan of water until tender. Add a can of butter beans and some yoghurt and mash to a smooth consistency. Spoon the tomato and bean mixture into individual ramekins and top with the mash. Bake for half an hour or so in a hot oven until crunchy on the top. Serve with a green side salad or some green veg or the below recipe – time to use more celeriac. Freeze any leftovers once cool in the ramekins to make easy to reheat. Enjoy!
Here is another recipe favoured by the nutritionists at About Life. You can find the recipe here.