February Is Avocado And Banana Month

February is avocado and banana month and it’s a perfect time to indulge in these nutritious and delicious foods. You can enjoy avocados and bananas together or separately as both have many health benefits. As both foods are gentle on the stomach and easy to digest, they are often given as baby food. The California Avocado Commission has several free recipes utilizing avocados and bananas including this recipe for Creamy Banana-Cado Baby Food. Here are some more benefits, recipes and tips for using and enjoying avocados and bananas this month.

Avocado and banana month isn’t just a time for eating the fruits, but it is also a time for creating awareness regarding growing the fruits. Many people are familiar with taking an avocado pit, suspending it in a glass of water with toothpicks until roots form. February is a great time to start an avocado tree or even purchase a banana tree. Why not get the kids involved and have a mini-science project sprouting and growing an avocado pit? You can grow banana trees in pots until they are large enough for planting outside.

While growing avocados and bananas is an important aspect of the observance, nothing beats simply eating them. Knowing how to select and choose avocados and bananas is key to enjoying the best flavor these super fruits have to offer. When choosing avocados, the best way to determine the fruit’s ripeness is by squeezing it. If the avocado is too ripe it will feel mushy when squeezed and you’ll see indentation marks from your fingertips on the skin. If it is unripe, it may be extremely hard and firm to the touch. A perfect, ripe avocado will feel soft, but not mushy. Though you can squeeze it, the skin will not have indentation marks from the pressure.

Surprisingly, a ripe banana is not one that is solid yellow. In fact, solid yellow bananas contain a lot of starch making them difficult for many cooking recipes. A ripe banana has brown spots and is softer and sweeter than a green or yellow banana. When purchasing bananas, look for those that are ready to ripen as they will ripen after purchase. Still, when it comes to eating bananas, personal taste determines the type of banana selected. Some people prefer yellow bananas without a spot or blemish for eating raw while others choose those that are softer with spots.

Avocados provide many health benefits and every part of the fruit can be used. Avocado oil is extracted from the fruit and at one time, avocado pits were used for making ink. Avocado is commonly found in beauty products as it is healing for the skin. The fruit is full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. According to California Avocado, nutrients contained in avocados include fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and lutein. In addition to the vitamins and minerals received from eating avocado, avocado oil is highly regarded for its health benefits as the high fat content nourishes and replenishes skin.

As food allergies become more prominent, fruits and vegetables are in high demand as they are dairy free, gluten free and have a low association with allergies. Avocados and bananas easily fit into any diet and may be eaten raw, baked, cooked or added to numerous recipes. According to Dole, bananas contain high amounts of potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and fiber.

While there are many ways to add bananas and avocados to the diet one of the most popular ways to enjoy the health benefits of these fruits is through shakes and smoothies. Many people report experiencing health benefits, particularly for the digestive system when drinking avocado and banana smoothies. Check out these 10 smoothie recipes that use avocados and bananas from Prevention.

[Featured Image by Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock]