It is avocado season and the Persea Americana is in great supply. You can have it in every variety, shape and size, at every corner of the market streets and definitely, at a take away price of as low as Shs3,000 for a heap of four avocadoes in main markets.
Though this is good news to the consumers of the oval product, it is no good news for farmers.
However, whether consumer, seller or farmer, adding value to the avocado can help you earn more from it, especially, if you have the techniques.
Below are the products you can make from avocados and how to go about it.
One of the best ways to enjoy the health benefits of avocado is making juice. It is an easy thing to do and the juice can be enhanced by adding as many different ingredients as one wishes.
Mixing the avocado juice with almond, soy milk, or full fat cow’s milk will make it creamy. Fruits and vegetables can also be added to the juice to increase its nutritional value.
To make the juice, cut the avocado in half, deseed, scoop out the flesh and put it in a blender. Add sugar and any other fruits or vegetables for blending.
Pulse the mixture by adding in milk slowly until the desired thickness is achieved. Then blend until everything is completely combined, creating a uniform look throughout. Serve cold.
Ripe avocado fruits are first sorted and graded into categories based on their physical properties such as size, shape, weight and colour to ensure one ends up with uniform quality.
The fruits are then washed in clean chlorinated water, and cut in half with a knife. The chlorine in the water helps to lower microbial load on the surface of the fruits.
Remove seeds and the skin and pulp the avocados to make a homogeneous paste using a blending machine.
Ascorbic or citric acid is then added to the paste during blending to aid in inactivating enzymes.
Spices such as onion, garlic, pepper, coriander and salt can be added during blending to make a product called guacamole. When the blend is ready, package in clean disinfected glass jars or plastic cans.
To make the paste, mature ripe fruits are selected and washed in clean, chlorinated water. The skin and seed are removed, and then the fruit is cut in half.
The pulp is then separated from the peel manually. Spices, herbs, lemon juice and salt can be added at this stage.
The next stage consists of high shear blending of pulp with water, gums, thickeners and spices.
The thickeners will increase the viscosity, making a thick paste, which is filled into clean polythene jars and frozen at -18 °C.
Avocado frozen halves
For a market that is readily available, avocado halves can be a good idea. After washing in clean water, cut the fruit into two halves, and deseed. For a longer shelf life, store in a freezer at a temperature range of -25 °C and -30 °C.
Arnold Mulonde, a local restaurateur shares that he sells every half at Shs500, depending on the size of the avocado.
Under these temperatures, the product can have a shelf-life of 18—20 months and a day or two when refrigerated after removal from cold storage. However, the method is suitable for products that will be consumed sooner than later.
Annet Musiime has also been drying avocado to get avocado powder which she uses when the fruit is not in season.
“Get ripe avocado fruit and wash it in clean water. Peel and cut into pieces. Lay these pieces on clean trays and use a solar drier to try them, or sundry in a clean and safe place until the pieces are thoroughly dry,” she says.
If you have a nut blender, use it to grind the dry pieces into powder. To have the finest of the flour, sieve using a metallic sieve, and store powder in airtight containers.
Avocado powder can be used in smoothies, ice creams and desserts, soups, spreads, sauces, dips and dressings.
Avocado hair treatment
Avocado is among the popular fruits used in hair products and using fresh avocado treatment as a steaming hair treatment will give you the benefits your hair needs. Cut fresh avocado into small pieces and blend into a paste, Musiime shares.
After getting a fine paste, add aloe vera juice from a fresh aloe leaf or egg white and blend once more to mix.
“Get a clean thin cloth and pour the paste and squeeze it into a clean container to get a fine paste. Store in a freezer for future use for about three days. But for immediate use, finely apply the paste into the hair after shampooing it,” Musiime explains.
To get your own homemade avocado oil, Sharon Musiime a naturalist shares how you can do it. Get ripe avocado, wash it, peel and cut it into small pieces and blend into a paste.
Get the paste and put it in a cooking pan and cook under a little fire as you stir.
As the paste starts to boil, the oil will also start getting on top, just like it does with groundnuts paste.
Stir and cook until the paste turns to a dark green and then brown as the oil continues to come on top.
Get a clean, thin cloth and pour the cooked paste and squeeze out the oil into a clean container. Avocado oil can be used for cooking, hair and the skin.