Buttery and addictive, avocados (and their festive incarnation, guacamole) hold a sacred place in many of our hearts. But, news of the recent avocado shortage has us rethinking our Cinco De Mayo plans.
While avocados weren’t exactly an economical produce choice to begin with, California’s continuing drought will likely spike prices significantly. A new study from Arizona State University projected the maximum price increases for fruits and vegetables most affected by the Golden State's three-year drought: lettuce, broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, and (sigh) avocados. Consumers can expect a 28% price increase for the creamy green fruit, which works out to as much as $1.60 per pear. Though it may not sound like much, it could mean significant cutbacks in that summertime guac.
Nutrition-wise, most people choose avocados for their healthy fat content. The monounsaturated fat found in avocados has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health, support weight management, and promote higher levels of healthy cholesterol. While there’s nothing quite like the mighty avocado, there are ways to incorporate monounsaturated fat into our diets without forking over a ton of dough or starting an avocado farm.
Most nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fat, but they can also be pretty expensive (macadamias, for example, can run upwards of $9 per pound). Almonds, however, are actually on the lower end of the price spectrum. Plus, an ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts) has nine grams of monounsaturated fat — just shy of the 10 grams found in half an avocado. But, buyers beware: Some flavored, packaged nuts come with a hefty price tag. Your best plan is to stick to plain-old almonds from the bulk section of the grocery store, and you can always season them on your own.
If you’ve really got a hankering for guacamole, popping almonds doesn’t have quite the same effect — or match a margarita quite as well. Bear with us on this one, because we're offering up a “mockamole” recipe. Just mash up a cup of fresh or frozen peas, one tablespoon of olive oil, and all your favorite guac fixin's (cilantro, garlic, onion, pepper, salt — the works). This will yield a summertime dip that still packs some of the benefits of the authentic stuff. How? One tablespoon of olive oil has nearly the same amount of monounsaturated fat as half of an avocado; the peas add the same amount of fiber and four times the protein. If this all sounds entirely unappealing, you can always use an avocado for half the recipe and sub in peas and olive oil to cut down on cost.
Though the impending avocado price hike may not be earth-shattering news, its just another example of how rising food costs can (and do) affect the way we eat. No one is going to drop dead from a guac-less burrito, but it's a good idea to get those good fats where we can. Are you devastated by the
guacpocalypse avocado shortage, or do you think it’s no big deal? Let us know in the comments below. (Wall Street Journal)