It was bitter and you can’t spread it on toast
That pit in the middle of an avocado – the thing that ruins everything if it’s too big or makes your day if it’s small – is the latest miracle healthfood.
We hit peak avocado late last year. It had turned up in every recipe book going; Nigella dedicated a full five minutes of her new cooking show showing us how to do a smashed avo on toast; it was everywhere.
It is hard to believe that the avocado pit – rock hard, not obviously edible – could pick up the trend’s slack.
But if you believe the health gurus, we really should be eating it. Apparently, the pit makes up 70 per cent of the health benefits of an avocado. It’s got super fibres and antioxidants, it prevents tumour growth and stops you from getting wrinkles.
The problem is that, unlike the mushy green part, you can’t just lather it on a piece of rye with a squeeze of lime juice for lunch.
However, where there’s a 21st-century health food, there’s a way. Experts recommend you blend it in a smoothie using other ingredients with strong flavours – because it’s full of bitter tannins and therefore tastes just like the death and ill health they claim it cures.
I tried a seed in a smoothie with frozen raspberries and blueberries, unsweetened soy milk, regular avocado and a bit of honey to sweeten the bitter taste I was forewarned about.
So – first, you take your avocado, and cut in open. Nothing unusual here.
At this point I popped the stone straight in my blender – a 1000-watt Nutri Ninja if you were wondering – but I should probably point out that other brands are available. Some health sites recommend using half of the seed, but I went all in. I freaked because I didn’t want to damage the blades and chopped it up into pieces instead.
It takes a lot of effort and a sharp, heavy knife to break into the pit – not something you can quickly do in the morning or after a run, though you could grind or grate it into a powder beforehand and store it in a jar if you’re really serious about harvesting every single part of the avocado.
Then I blended the pit with the rest of the ingredients and it came out a creamy, quite appetising violet colour.
Opening it up, the smoothie looked and smelled OK – but it tasted bad. Like when you try an olive for the first time or bite into rotten fruit. Indeed, its overwhelming bitterness made it almost undrinkable: it is far away from the subtle flavour of linseed or the robust saltiness of pumpkin seed.
The seed’s consistency hadn’t altered the drink much, luckily, and there were no bits or unpleasant crunchy pieces in there, which is a bonus.
I added two teaspoons of honey, some more milk and blended again.
With all the added honey it tasted fine – just like an avocado and berry smoothie with a sweet edge, though presumably all the added glucose and fructose were undermining some of the benefits.
It left a bitter taste in my mouth for a few hours and was quite time-consuming. And like most supplements, you’d have to consume it over a long period of time in order to get any of the benefits. I’m not convinced it’s worth it.