Avocado oil is one of the few edible oils that is not extracted from seeds. Instead, it is the extract pressed from the flesh of the avocado fruit. It’s commonly used as a cooking oil and an ingredient in foods. And, it’s noted for having the highest smoking point among the other oils and fats. Thus, it makes a healthier and more stable oil for frying. Cold-pressed Hass avocado oil is the most widely available variety in the market. It features an emerald green color, which is attributed to the high levels of chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments.
Nevertheless, the fruit was known by their Spanish name “aguacate.” It got its name from the Aztec word “ahuacatl” which means “testicle.” This is in reference to the fruit’s shape and the texture of its skin. Meanwhile, it is native to Southern Mexico and Central America. Perhaps, more in Mexico, as the earliest records show that avocados have been in existence in Coxcatlan since 10,000 B.C. Still, they were extremely valued by the Pre-Hispanic cultures.
European then introduced the fruit to the market. Soon enough, avocado trees have been imported and bred throughout the world. They were introduced to Spain in 1601, Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, Australia and South Africa in the late 19th century, and Israel in 1908. In the United States, the plant was introduced to Hawaii and Florida in 1833. By the year 1915, the new common name “avocado” was introduced.
Avocado Oil Trivia
- Avocado has been long used by the Aztecs as a sexual stimulant.
- Some parts of Mexico features avocado bones’ artifacts that date back to 12,000 years ago.
- Avocado oil is great for pregnant women and infants. It claims to promote the child’s early brain development and helps with eczema when applied topically.
- That being said, it can also be used as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for the skin, face, and hair. Avocado oil is one of the only two unrefined oils in the world, the other one is almond oil, and it enters way down into the scalp and skin’s dermis to nourish them from within. As a result, it gives the skin a smoother and plumper appearance free from wrinkles, dark circles, and crow’s feet. And, it reduces the causes of hair loss and dandruff while promoting hair growth at the same time.
- Avocado oil helps in healing minor wounds.
Avocado Oil Buying Guide
Just like olive oil, there are also many things to consider when buying avocado oil – that is, if you want to have the best ones. Although avocado oil doesn’t have official standard classifications yet, everything from the type of bottle to the color of the oil contributes to the overall taste and quality of the product. So, without further ado, here are some things to look out for when buying avocado oil.
- Check out how the product is packaged. Avocado oil should only come in glass bottles. Otherwise, PET or plastic bottles will diffuse the oxygen, giving the oil an unpleasant, rancid smell and taste.
- Check out the color of the container. Avocado oil should only come in dark containers as exposure to light will turn the oil rancid.
- Know that there is traditional and cold-pressed avocado oil. Though technically, the only difference between them is the temperature during the extraction process, cold-pressed oils tend to retain their essential nutrients. such as chlorophylls and carotenoids. As a result, cold-pressed ones have a more jade green color as opposed to golden, pale green.
- As always, avocado oils from farmers’ markets are better than the ones in stores. Not only that their products are made in small batches, but you’ll also get the chance to learn more about each variety. Plus, you may also get free samples along the way.
Avocado Oil Production & Farming in Texas
In Texas, the production of avocados is so small that it’s not listed in the USDA statistics. But, the only counties that are suitable for commercial production are located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Still, the crop represents a very small percentage of acreage.
Severe cold is the most limiting factor to avocado trees, and that’s the reason why Mexican varieties best suit the Texas climate, especially in the lower half of the state where the trees are grown in protected landscapes. You can still grow Guatemalan, West Indian, or other hybrids too; however, it can be rather risky to grow as they most likely will not survive outdoor freezes, especially along north of Lower Rio Grande Valley. While some claim that the trees can escape a harsh winter or two in this area, a subsequent freeze with different conditions can severely damage the trees.
Nevertheless, a coarse and well-drained soil best suits avocado trees. They can also perform well on soil with any pH level between acidic to alkaline. As a matter of fact, it is the salinity of soil and water that has to be considered more. Since salinity can injure avocados, it’s highly recommended to have both the soil and irrigation water tested prior to planting. If the salinity level is high, Mexican varieties may need to be grafted. Or better yet, opt for the West Indian variety instead.
Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:
Fortunately, most avocado oils in the market are pure. They do not contain additives and chemicals that are not good for health.
Avocados thrive in tropical and subtropical areas. Mexico remains to be the leading producer of the fruit, with over 2 million metric tons produced annually. It is then followed by the Dominican Republic with just 600 thousand metric tons and Peru with just a little over 500 thousand. The United States falls on the 8th place, having California, Florida, and Hawaii being the leading producers in the country.
As mentioned, high-quality avocado oils are commonly packaged in dark, glass containers. However, you can also find them in clear or colored plastic jars, PET, and spray bottles.
Enjoying Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is so versatile that it can easily be incorporated into your diet. It is commonly used as a cooking oil due to its high smoking point. Thus, you can drizzle it over vegetables prior to roasting, use it as a marinade for grilling meats, or just simply use it as an oil for stir-fries. On another note, avocado oil can also be consumed cold. You can add a teaspoon or two onto smoothies, drizzle over salads, cold soups, and hummus.
Avocado oil should be kept in a glass container, preferably a dark one. One of the benefits of naturally refined avocado oil is that it doesn’t easily turn rancid. That being said, you can either store an unopened bottle in the pantry, where it would last for 9 to 8 months, or in the fridge, where it would last for up to a year. Upon opening, the oil will have a shorter shelf life: 6 to 8 months in the pantry and 9 to 12 months in the fridge. Regardless, it’s best to keep away from sunlight, hot, and humid areas such as near the stove or the oven.
Make your own Avocado Oil:
Some store-bought avocado oils can be expensive. Thus, when the fruit is in season (June through February, depending on the variety), it’s best to make a few bottles so that you can enjoy them even in Winter. All you need is the fruit itself, a food processor or blender, pot, cheesecloth, and a container to store them.
- 12 avocados
- Wash the avocados and dry them with a towel. Place the avocado lengthwise, onto your palm, and run a knife around the pit to slice the fruit in half. Do the same for the remaining avocados. Then, scoop the flesh out and transfer them into a food processor or blender.
- Purée the avocados until they form into a smooth paste. Consequently, transfer the paste into a medium-sized pot.
- Cook the avocado paste, on medium heat, while stirring every 3-5 minutes. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, you’ll see the mixture separating, with the avocado oil rising on top.
- Continue stirring and cook it until the mixture turns into a dark green or brown color. When the water has fully evaporated, turn off the heat. Prepare a medium-size bowl lined with cheesecloth and pour the mixture.
- Gather all the corners of the cheesecloth so that you’re left with a sack of avocado. Strain the avocado by squeezing it. Avocado oil should start dropping into the bowl. Keep squeezing for a minute or two, or until no more oil is coming out.
- You can use the oil right away or you can transfer it into a container and store accordingly.
Avocado oil, compared to other cooking oils, is rich in healthy fats. As a matter of fact, almost 70% of avocado oil consists of heart-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. On top of that, it’s also high in omega-6 and omega-3. These fatty acids not only reduce cholesterol and improves heart health, but it’s also beneficial to the skin. Not to mention that it’s also an excellent source of beta carotene, as well as vitamins A, C, D, and E. Plus, it’s also high in lutein, an antioxidant that is beneficial to the eyes. When combined with soybean oil, it can also alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms and may prevent gum diseases.