Avocados are probably best known for their green colored guacamole dip served with tortilla chips and lime juice. Sometimes they are sliced up in salads or added to sandwiches. They have lots of flavor, are very nutritious, as well as being easy to grow from the large pit inside them.
One-fifth of a medium avocado contains 50 calories, 8 percent of required daily fiber, and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), C, E, and K, folate, magnesium, lutein, beta-carotene, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and potassium.
Avocados are naturally sodium and cholesterol free and are virtually the only fruit that contain monounsaturated fats which helps lower blood cholesterol when replacing saturated and trans fats. They increase absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamins A, D, K and E. They are such a creamy food that they can be one of the first foods babies can eat.
Read on the California Avocado website Avocado as a Butter or Fat Substitute how to substitute healthy avocado as a delicious, nutrient-dense, calorie-reduced alternative for other foods like cream cheese, butter, cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and onion dip. It contains a comparison chart showing how the avocado competes with the not so healthy foods.
Remove and clean pit
Carefully remove the pit from the avocado without cutting it and wash all the green fruit off it. Be careful not to disturb the brown seed coating around it.
Determine the root end
Locate the flat bottom of the pit from which the roots will grow. The pointier end is the top of the pit from which the plant stem and leaves will grow.
Insert toothpicks into the pit
Stick 3 toothpicks into the pit forming a triangle around it. The toothpicks should be at an angle pointing upwards toward the top so the pit bottom will remain underwater.
Place pit in a clear glass of water
Fill a clear glass with water and insert the pit with the toothpicks resting on the rim of the glass. Use a clear glass to watch the roots grow and to see when the water needs changing.
Set the glass 0n a sunny windowsill
Put the glass with the avocado on a quiet sunny windowsill and change the water at least once a week so bacteria, fungus and molds do not grow in it.
6Plant the baby avocado
After about two months, the taproot will grow out from the crack in the bottom of the pit. Keep it submerged in water at all times. When the plant is at least 6 inches tall, pot it in rich soil either in an 8 to 10 inch pot or in the garden in regions where temperatures do not drop below 45 degrees. The avocado plant needs lots of sunshine and regular watering.
Yellow leaves are a sign of too much watering. Spray the plant at the first sign of aphids with water mixed with a squirt of liquid dishwashing soap and one teaspoon of neem oil. Continue using until aphids are gone.
The plant may produce avocados in 3 to 5 years or more, or it may never produce any avocados without other avocado trees near it for pollination. It is fun to grow in any case and an excellent learning project for children.