Florida state chef and culinary ambassador Justin Timineri is tired of watching people pass up Florida avocados in the grocery store.
“I see lots of people going up to pick up a Haas, and they don’t even look at the Florida avocado,” Timineri told The Gabber in a phone interview. “And of course I have to say something.”
Unlike most Florida shoppers, who completely ignore Florida avocados, Timineri seeks them out.
“So what do you tell people in the store?” I ask him.
“I tell them these were grown right here in Florida by our farmers,” says Timineri. “They are delicious, and they have a little less fat in them.”
Timineri likes to add a teaspoon of mayonnaise or plain yogurt to his Florida avocados when making guacamole.
“To me, that bridges the gap between what people kind of expect with a Haas and what they get with our Florida avocados,” says Timineri.
But guacamole isn’t the only way to use an avocado.
“There are lots of cool things you can do with an avocado,” Timineri says. “My favorites are the recipes where they stuff a half avocado with some really nice crab meat and other stuff.”
A Delish gallery boasts 70 different avocado recipes, including everything from breakfast to dessert: avocado pancakes, taco-stuffed avocados, avocado ice cream, avocado smoothies, chocolate avocado bread, avocado grilled cheese… the list goes on.
City Horticulturist Toffer Ross admits to being kind of a “one-trick pony” when it comes to avocados. She simply cuts her avocados in half, removes the seed, pours some tarragon vinegar in its place, and scoops it right out of the cup.
Jene of Jene Tropicals says she loves guacamole, but she loves to eat them fresh too, or on avocado toast with an egg.
“Once, at one of our tropical fruit tastings, [we tried] avocado icing,” Jene told The Gabber. “[It] was very green, but it was still pretty good.”
Chef Timineri and locally, Gulfport Food Forest Founder Crea Egan, are by far the most adventurous with their avocados.
“Of course we’ve got guacamole, we’ve got some really cool panko-crusted baked Florida avocado fingers, [and] broccoli and avocado soup,” Timineri tells The Gabber. “We’ve got avocado cupcakes on there [and] avocado smoothies. We try to give people a lot of fun ways to easily use avocado without getting too crazy in a recipe that nobody’s going to eat…”
“One of my favorite ones is the avocado remoulade and the avocado cream,” Timineri continues, “some sauces made with avocado. I think on my next shoot I’m going to want to do an avocado hummus. There’s no shortage of great things to do with avocado.”
Egan’s used her avocados in everything from salads and smoothies to a chocolate mousse-like pie she makes by blending avocado with dates, honey, and cocoa, which she then pours into a homemade ancient-grain-and-nut-seed crust.
“I have lots of recipes to share and we are working on a recipe book specific to the fruits grown in our community food forest,” Egan told The Gabber.
Now, who’s hungry?
Part Two: The Care and Feeding of Florida Avocados