It is no secret that avocadoes are a super fruit. Everyone seems to be crazy about them. This is for good reason. Not only are avocadoes great to eat with just about anything, but it also seems you can use every part of the avocado. Nothing goes to waste. People have found great ways to include avocadoes in many dishes.
However, you may have not expected that there is a lot you can do with avocado leaves as well. Cooking with Avocado leaves has become extremely popular. Several recipes are good for any food lover. Cooking with Avocado leaves is a great way to add a little extra flavor to your meals and make them better.
Preparing Avocado Leaves for Cooking
Before going into the very recipes of cooking with avocado leaves, it is important to know how to prepare them for cooking. You won’t typically find recipes that use fresh avocado leaves. Instead, most recipes require avocado leaves to be toasted or fresh.
What you do with them afterword really depends on the dish. You can add the ground, crumbled or whole. Some leaves have a stronger flavor than others, so keep that in mind as well. If you don’t want to toast your own avocado leaves, that’s okay too. Instead, you can make the choice of buying your avocado leaves already toasted.
On the other hand, toasting avocado leaves can be pretty easy. The easiest way is to toast them in a hot dry skillet and press them lightly with a spatula. Pass them over a live frame for 10 seconds. Contrary to common belief, toasting them this way will bring out their licorice flavor. This is because toasting heats up all the oils in the leaves, making the flavor stronger.
Recipes with Avocado Leaves
Now let’s look into the main recipes of cooking with avocado leaves. You’ll be surprised by all the delicious options you have.
Mexican Black Beans with Avocado Leaf
This is the main dish to focus on when it comes to cooking with avocado leaves. This Mexican meal is pretty popular because of the way the licorice-like flavor of the leaves complements the taste of the black beans. For this recipe, you will need:
- 500 grams of washed black beans
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 or 2 avocado leaves, fresh or dried, toasted
- Salt to taste
Begin this recipe by heating oil in a large pot. Firstly, add the onion and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat. After this add all the peppers in as well. It will take about 7 minutes for the peppers to soften up. At this point, you can add your garlic and cook for another minute. You want to add some cold water to your brans so they are covered by one inch before bringing this mixture to a boil.
Once the water comes to a boil, you can reduce the heat. Cover the mixture and cook until the beans are tender. This should take about two and a half hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking be sure to add toasted avocado leaves and salt to give it an extra taste. You can also consider serving your black beans with grated cheese, sour cream, salsa or avocado.
This recipe shows how great using avocado leaves can be. It is also a primary example of how you can use avocado leaves as a spice. Some extra good news is that you can use them as spices over other things as well. Consider sprinkling some grounded avocado leaves over your scrambled eggs in the morning, adding them to meats on a barbecue, or using a tablespoon for some soup to bring out the potential of avocado leaves as a spice.
Avocado Leaf Tea
Another great thing you can do is use avocado leaves for tea (you can check more here). In this case, using avocado leaves will give you a strong tasting and healthy beverage that goes great for cleansing the kidneys and the liver.
In this case, you do not have to use toasted avocado leaves. Just make sure to wash your leaves thoroughly as this will help with getting rid of any bacteria. Add two cups of water to a vessel and add some avocado leaves inside. After bringing it to a boil let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can add sugar, honey or an artificial sweetener after you are done. Add a strain to a mug or a cup and drink your tea warm.
This specific recipe is great if you are concerned with keeping healthy altogether as there are numerous health benefits of drinking avocado leaf tea. Next to cleansing, it is also great for stomach aches. Not only that, but the strong licorice taste is a favorite for many.
Choosing the Right Leaves and Toxicity
You should be very picky about your avocado leaves. This is because not all types of avocado trees are the same. You have to make sure that yours are the right ones before ingesting them. As a safety precaution, sniff the leaves that you do have. This is a safe way to measure the type of leaf you plan to cook with. Mexican avocado leaves always smell strong and a little bit like licorice.
You want to avoid any leaves that come from any type of avocado tree that is not Mexican. You will be able to recognize these leaves by the fact that they do not have any aroma at all. Do not let this fool you. Guatemalan avocado leaves are high in toxicity and have been known to kill small animals shortly after ingestion. You will not have to worry about this if you buy avocado leaves already toasted in the store. Be sure to immediately throw out any avocado leave that you think maybe a different type.
Benefits of Avocado Leaves
You may want to start cooking with avocado leaves for medical reasons as well. Not only do avocado leaves taste great as spices over most foods, but they also have many health properties. For centuries, avocado leaves have been used for folk medicine. In the Americas, avocado leaves have been used to treat intestinal parasites, cough medicine, and digestive disorders. Next to most digestive problems, avocado leaves can be used to rid the body of uric acid which leads to gout. Folk medicine is not the only place avocado leaves are making strides.
Many tests have used avocado leaf extract for treating multiple conditions such as epilepsy, high cholesterol, and liver obstructions. You can use these leaves for cosmetic benefits as well. Many people use avocado leaves by adding it to their faces, making their skin much smoother than usual. This is because avocado leaves have a high level of antioxidants.
It sometimes seems that the possibilities and uses of avocado leaves are endless. Whether you use it as a spice or want a good cup of tea, cooking with avocado leaves is a healthy alternative to many other ingredients that may be used in the same way.