Avocados and Old Friends

The other week I was waiting in line behind a lady buying underripe Hass avocados. ‘You know–hard, green and inedible–because that’s what they had available. She asked the cashier what to do with them.

I waited a minute for the cashier to advise. When it was obvious she had no idea, I piped in like only an introvert would. I mentioned I knew someone who suggested putting those avocados in a paper bag with sliced apple, then crumpling up the bag and leaving it for a few hours, or up to a day.**After that time has passed, the avocados should be black, softer, and edible, like they’re supposed to be. Naturally, you don’t want to leave them for days because in warmer climates mold will arrive before you know it.

I learned this avocado trick from a fellow foodie and former coworker who actually wrote a cooking techniques book almost ten years ago. He went to the Culinary Institute of America, so he knows his stuff. His book can be found here.

**In drier climates you could probably leave them longer, but I am in a humid climate. Leave food alone too long in the dark invites mold and bugs. It is the same reason I can’t have a bread box–mold will eat the bread before anyone else does.

Tip My Toque: Mrs. Dash

A new study published by the CDC indicates the average American gets about 1000 more milligrams of salt than the CDC recommends. Older persons and at-risk persons are getting 1800 more milligrams than they need. Excess salt is in most of the food at restaurants, and shelf-stable foods at the grocery store, and we don’t even know it’s there.

It got me thinking about Mrs. Dash and the forward-thinking Carol Bernick. Mrs. Dash Original Blend first went to market in 1981.

Carol Bernick, its creator, was an employee of Alberto-Culver. Bernick wanted to flavor her home cooking without salt, and was dissatisfied with what was offered in the spice aisle. So she mixed several spices together at home, tried it and was pleased. I am assuming her family was as well, because she provided the recipe to her company, and Alberto Culver began production. It’s been over 30 years now, and today, Mrs. Dash has a much bigger product line–11 spice blends, 3 grilling blends, and 6 bottled marinades.

The spice blends have the following distinctions in their packaging:

Original Blend (yellow cap), Garlic & Herb (aqua cap), Table Blend ( dark green cap), Extra Spicy (red cap), Onion & Herb (purple cap), Lemon Pepper (orange cap), Italian Medley (kelly green cap), Tomato Basil Garlic (dark red cap), Southwest Chipotle (rust brown cap), Fiesta Lime (lime green cap), Caribbean Citrus (blue cap). All the grilling blends have a black cap, so you have to read the label for steak, chicken, etc.

These days, Mrs. Dash is the most popular salt-free, sulfite-free and MSG-free spice blend on the market. And it is still somewhat of an anomaly in shelved foods; about 99% of other shelved or stored food products contain too much salt–for addictive flavor and preservation. This is why Lays always bet you couldn’t eat just one.

So Mrs. Dash, I tip my toque to you.

For more information about the CDC report, click here.