The avocado is the fruit of the evergreen Persea americana (Persea americana) tree of the laurel (Lavraceae) family from tropical America. The avocado is also called the alligator pear, the alligator pear.
The avocado contains at least 11 vitamins and 14 minerals. It is high in vitamin E, the most important antioxidant. The buttery pulp of the avocado does not contain heavy fats (all its fats are monounsaturated, as in olive oil) and cholesterol. The flesh of a ripe fruit contains 30% of plant fats, which nourish and regenerate tissue cells. Avocados can help you forget about dry skin and return the shine to dull hair. It is useful to eat 1 avocado twice a week, in winter – three times a week (if there are no problems with excess weight).
Types and varieties
There are three varieties of avocado: Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian.
The Mexican avocado has thin-skinned fruit, and the leaves of the tree smell like anise when rubbed. It is a cold-tolerant crop that does well in the subtropics. Guatemalan avocados have large, thick-skinned fruits; these trees are more capricious and less cold-tolerant. The most delicate variety of avocado is the West Indian, cultivated mainly in the tropics.
All modern avocado varieties are derived from these three species. For example, the Mexicola and Puebla varieties cultivated by gardeners are related to Mexican ones, and the variety Fuerte is a hybrid of Mexican and Guatemalan avocados.
There are about 400 varieties of avocado, varying in shape (round, pear-shaped or oblong), size (from small, plum-sized to large, weighing up to a kilo) and taste. The skin color also varies, from light green to black to dark purple. In most cases, avocados either remain green as they ripen, or change from green to dark, sometimes even black at maturity.
Some of the most common varieties, often found on our store shelves as well, are:
Gwen (Gwen), with medium to large fruits of round or slightly oblong shape, dark green bumpy rind and yellow-green flesh that has a slight egg-like taste;
Zutano, an elongated pear-shaped avocado with a smooth, easily peeled green rind, the taste of the white or yellowish flesh is somewhat like an apple;
Reed, with round or oblong fruits, thick bumpy dark green skin and light yellow flesh, the taste – with a hint of pear and nut;
Fuerte, a pear-shaped fruit with a smooth, shiny green skin and a delicate, sweet, creamy flavor;
Pinkerton, elongated pear-shaped fruit with a green, rough skin that darkens with maturity, and yellowish flesh with a delicate, sweet taste;
Hass, the most common, the only oval fruit available year-round, with a thick, black rind at maturity and white or yellowish, buttery flesh with a nutty flavor;
Bacon, with oval juicy fruit covered with smooth thin dark green skin, the taste is poorly expressed;
Mexicola, a cold-resistant, fairly drought-resistant variety, giving the best yield in the conditions of the Caucasus. Fruits weigh up to 100 g, dark purple, almost black at maturity, ripe in late August-September;
puebla, also a cold-resistant plant, ripening in the Gagra area in November-December, has half-egg-shaped fruits with a dark-brown skin, weighing up to 200 g
Ettinger is shaped like a pear with an easily released large pit and soft, melt-in-your-mouth flesh. In Israel, where this avocado variety is exported to Europe, Ettinger is the first variety of the season: it ripens by early fall (Haas, Fuerte, Pinkerton and Reed ripen later in Israel).
How to Cook
To cut an avocado, cut it in a circle along the pit, separate the halves from each other, and remove the pit. Do not cut off the skin – it is easily separated from the flesh with a tablespoon. The thick skin can be used as a salad bowl. To prevent the flesh from turning black, sprinkle it with citrus juice – lime juice is best.
Avocados are nutritious and easy to digest. If you need a lot of energy for work or for climbing Kilimanjaro, for example, we recommend a popular and simple dish: cut the avocado (unpeeled) in two halves, remove the pit, pour sunflower, olive oil or clarified butter into the well, sprinkle pepper and salt and eat it with a spoon.
In Mexico, the homeland of the avocado, the most famous and popular avocado dish is the guacamole sauce. To make guacamole at home, peel 1 avocado, cut it in half and remove the pit. Now peel a small onion and half a bell bell pepper. Put it all in a blender, add a small chili, a tomato, a little salt, a couple of spoons of olive oil or refined sunflower oil, half or a quarter of a peeled lemon – and grind coarsely. The resulting sauce is served on corn tortillas as well as on rice and thin steaks.
In Miami, avocados are used to make ice cream. Avocados are mixed with frozen dairy and fruit. It also makes a wonderful cocktail – milk coffee plus a small amount of cognac or rum. There is a Féroce Martiniquais cocktail – with avocado, onions, garlic, parsley, chili peppers and boiled cod. Although this is more of a soup.
By the way, there are quite a few avocado soups in the Americas.
If avocado is added to hot dishes, then only at the very end, a couple of minutes before cooking. If it is left on the heat longer, the avocado will become bitter. Examples of hot dishes are avocado breaded in flour fried in olive oil; avocado risotto
In Europe, the greatest number of avocado varieties on store shelves is in late fall and early winter. Israeli avocados are invariably in the stores at this time. However, of course, it is not limited to Israel.
The avocado season from Israel begins in early fall and continues through the winter and spring. The California avocado season lasts all year, and the Florida avocado season runs from late fall to late spring. In South Africa, the avocado season begins in April and lasts several months. In South and Central America, the seasons vary from variety to variety. Ultimately, avocados are available year-round.
How to choose and store
The color of the fruit should be uniform, green, dark green, green-brown or almost black, but without spots and damage to the skin. The color of the flesh, on the other hand, is a good indicator of ripeness. Avocados come in several varieties, with different flesh, ranging from yellow to pale green.
Avocados are better to buy unripe at home, when they are ready, but overripe avocados have a rancid taste due to rotten fats. To make the avocados ripen at home, you should put the fruits in a paper bag or wrap them in paper towels, and then put them in a dark, cool place for 2-4 days. Apples or bananas can help speed up the ripening of the avocado. Put the avocado and bananas or apples in a paper bag, make a few holes in it, and put it away in a dark place.
The best avocados you can buy in stores are Israeli (Ettinger, Haas, Reid, Fuerte, Pinkerton varieties). Good avocados come from South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and Spain. Some connoisseurs consider small, round avocados with a lumpy, dark rind to be the tastiest. Opinions vary on this point, though.
Avocados darken rather quickly, in which case lemon juice will help you. If you only use half an avocado, the other half (with the avocado pit) can be stored for 1-2 days more in the fridge, sprinkled with lemon juice and wrapped in plastic wrap.
The avocado seed can be buried in a flower pot and you will have a beautiful evergreen tree with a thick trunk, long branches and very large leaves. For other purposes, the seed is unsuitable, unpalatable and even poisonous.