“...the avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.”
—David Fairchild, American botanist, 1869-1954
Opening a perfectly ripe avocado is one of the small joys in life. Avocados, the savory berries of evergreen trees in the Laurel family, likely originated in MesoAmerica. Centuries of domestication produced dozens of varieties prized for their rich, buttery texture, their size or their oil content.
Like olive oil, the fats in avocados are predominantly monounsaturated, which are associated with cardiovascular health.
Avocados are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamin C and potassium. The buttery fruit is a top source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, and also provides lutein, an antioxidant that can keep eyes healthy.
Hass Avocados are a popular variety avocado in the United States. The slightly bumpy skin turns from green to purplish-black as it ripens. A slightly over-ripe avocado is still great for quacamole.
Almost all avocados grown in Mexico are Hass, the variety preferred for its high oil content and tough protective skin.
Don’t buy a green Hass avocado that doesn’t have the “button”—the tip of the stem—still attached. Sometimes the button falls off an avocado when it‘s ripe, but the remaining indentation should still be green. If the indention is black, the avocado may be rotten.
Hass avocados don’t begin to ripen until they are picked. A hard, green avocado will need about a week to ripen. If it’s green-black and slightly soft, it’ll ripen in a few days. One that’s black and soft is ready to eat. Ripen a hard avocado by leaving it at room temperature until its skin has turned from green to black and it yields to gentle pressure.
Americans consume some 50 million pounds of avocados on Super Bowl Sunday—enough guacamole to cover an entire football field to a depth of nearly 12 feet.
A single avocado tree can reach 80 feet and yield 100 to 400 fruits each year.
Good for the Environment: A mature avocado tree absorbs up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year—enough to offset 26,000 car miles. This makes avocados a more environmentally friendly source of fat than dairy, since a single cow produces the equivalent of about 2.75 tons of CO2 per year—so go for guacamole instead of sour cream on your taco!
Avocado blossoms are pollinated by honeybees, providing a bonus crop: reddish avocado honey.
Long-lived avocado trees can be productive for decades, creating a canopy and root system that maintains the soil and provides habitat for birds.