Bet you did not know this before! There are at least 8 different types of – wait for it – avocados! And these come in to season at different times of the year. Most of the avocados you see in the US come from California, and the balance from Florida. Although, only 10% of the avocados you find in stores are grown here. The rest are imported from countries like Mexico, Chile, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
What you can find around the country
There are only three varieties of avocados that you can find outside of california in stores. They are Hass, Lamb Hass and Reed.
Upto 95% of the avocados found in California are of the Hass variety, as are most of the imported avocados. Mostly, when you buy an avocado it is of the Hass variety. They are oval in shape and has a thick skin that makes it quite convenient to peel. As it ripens, the color of the skin changes from green to purple. The flesh is pale green with a creamy texture and thick creamy and nutty flavour, with a medium to small seed. You can find this variety all year round, they are best between February and October.
Lamb Hass avocado
This is a spin-off of the hass variety but is bigger, and is available all over the country but is simply bundled and labelled under Hass. The easiest way to differenciate is, in addition to the larger size, to look at the stem. The stem of a Hass avocado will be slightly to the side while the lamb hass variety has it in dead center. This is at its best between June and October.
These are not as popular as the Hass varieties, but they have an excellent flavor. The demand for Reeds are on the rise with the increasing popularity for the product because of their flavor. These are round, and weigh between 8 – 18 ounces. The skin is thick, green and pebbly but it stays the same as it ripens, and the flesh is more watery than the hass variety. These are abundant from July to October.
“HERITAGE” AVOCADO VARIETIES
The other main varieties of avocado, Bacon, Fuertes, Gwen, Pinkerton, and Zutano, are called heritage varieties. They are grown as cross pollinators which help keep the hass avocado trees healthy. Since these are not commercially produced, the volume is very low and these can only be found in farmers markets and the like. All of these are thin-skinned, tough to peel and stay green as they ripen. The flesh is less dense, more water based and oily.
Back in the 1980s, this was the main avocado that was grown in Cal. The hass surpassed this in popularity simply because it was easier to ship. Although the flavor is still loved by many in California. They are pear-shaped, with a medium-sized seed and a smooth and thin skin. As it ripens, the color stays green. The size varies from 5-14 ounces and the flesh is pale green and creamy with a mild flavor. They can be found between November and February.
Again, the thin green skin of this variety has stood in the way of it becoming commercially available. Although it was popular in the early 2000s. They are large with a great flavor, and is long and pear shaped. The seed is medium and the slightly pebbly skin that is green in color deepens as it ripens. Weighing 8 – 18 ounces, you can find this from November to February.
This version is plump, oval in shape and is green with a pebbly thick skin that dulls in color as it ripens. The texture is similar to the Hass and its slightly nutty in flavor. Weighing from 6 – 15 ounces, you can only find these in farners markets in california, between February and June.
With a smooth green skin, that stays green as it ripens, this variety weighs from 6 – 12 ounces. Its oval in shape, with a large seed and a ligh flavor, and flesh that is yellow green. These can also be found in farmers markets between November to February.
This is pretty rare, with a very thin skin that is difficult to peel, and impossible to ship. Pear shaped, this weighs between 6-14 ounces with a shiny, thin , pale yellow skin that stays the same as it ripens. You can find these between September and November.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST AVOCADO AT THE STORE
Make sure that the avocado that you pick is free of bruises, not shriveled and is heavy for its size. To know if your fruit is ripe, cradle it in the palm and gently feel if it gives in your palm. Dont use your fingertips to squeeze as it may bruise the fruit.
HOW TO STORE AVOCADOS
You can just leave them on the counter until they are used. In order to speed up the ripening process, keep them together with other fruits. If what you have is ripe enough, you can store it for another 5 days by keeping it in the fridge. If the avocado is cut, plastic wrap is your solution. Wrap it tightly with the film flat against the exposed flesh, or apply lemon or lime over the exposed area to keep it from turning brown.
HOW TO PREPARE AVOCADOS
Avoid scooping to remove fruit from the skin, as you might end up loosing some of the nutritional value. Instead, slice it in half until you hit the pit, and run the knife through the rest of the fruit around the pit. Once you twist the two halves, the pit falls off and you can peel the skin out.
HOW TO EAT AVOCADOS
There are many things you can do with avocados, like guacamole, toast, as a topping and even a beverage. It works well as a substitute for butter and dairy because of the creamy consistency. Salad dressings, smoothies, and even a pulp that works as a moisturizer mask are some options you can play with.
WHAT IS THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF AVOCADOS?
Filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, folate and vitamin B5 , this is called a superior for a reason. The recommended serving is one-third of a fruit according to the FDA, and contains 95 calories. The nutrients are concentrated in the darker outer layer of the flesh, right next to the skin, so make sure to get them all. However, they have a high fat concentration so limit your intake to half a fruit a day.
Did you know that there are 8 different types of Avocados
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